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Saving For a Space Ship

Why Are Us Homes Not More Tornado Resistant ?

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Just watching the news about Us tornado disaster.

Surely shipping container housing at least (cheap & cheerful ) would be a start, before the more exotic designs are explored

Google image search for tornado resistant house

One discussion thread from 2010

To give a straight answer to your question, it is because a huge industry exists to cut and deliver lumber fairly cheaply. Builders have been trying everything they can think of to build a decent product at an affordable price. That is why you can get steel studs now. Steel studs were too expensive ten years ago. Whenever the builders try a new material, all the workers have to buy new tools.

You can't nail things to steel studs, you have to use screws or weld it. So they have to get power screwdrivers and welders and then figure out an efficient way to get the house built. And of course they don't want to do that unless there is going to be enough work to amortize the fancy tools.

Edited by Saving For a Space Ship

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Just watching the news about Us tornado disaster.

Surely shipping container housing at least (cheap & cheerful ) would be a start, before the more exotic designs are explored

Google image search for tornado resistant house

One discussion from 2010

Giving that America is huge. I wondered after seeing these tornado's why people don't just move and settle elsewhere in USA. Either by own actions or govt incentives.

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Giving that America is huge. I wondered after seeing these tornado's why people don't just move and settle elsewhere in USA. Either by own actions or govt incentives.

Some people will. But where to? East coast gets hurricanes. West coast gets earthquakes. West gets wildfires. Midwest gets tornadoes.

America is huge, and no area of it is immune from natural disasters - by and large, it's pick which one you want to risk, and fold it into all the other concerns about family history, connections, work, etc.

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A tornado resistant home would be unaffordable to the mainly poor white community that lives in in the 'alley', unless heavily subsidised.

Not many things are actually tornado resistant, and the glass will fail with all your belongings being sucked out.

8 Ways to Protect Your Home Against Tornadoes - How to Hurricane-Proof Your House - Popular Mechanics

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A tornado resistant home would be unaffordable to the mainly poor white community that lives in in the 'alley', unless heavily subsidised.

Not many things are actually tornado resistant, and the glass will fail with all your belongings being sucked out.

8 Ways to Protect Your Home Against Tornadoes - How to Hurricane-Proof Your House - Popular Mechanics

All over the med (Spain, Greece, Italy, North Africa) they use reinforced concrete even for single family houses so it can't be too expensive.

I remember reading once that planning laws in most parts of the US don't allow reinforced concrete for family houses, I'm not sure if that's true though, might be an Internet myth.

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In large parts of 'tornado alley' apparently the ground is too hard to build either deep foundations or to build good cellar type storm shelters.

How they get their water from bore holes, or have sceptic tanks, seems a bit contradictory though.

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All over the med (Spain, Greece, Italy, North Africa) they use reinforced concrete even for single family houses so it can't be too expensive.

I remember reading once that planning laws in most parts of the US don't allow reinforced concrete for family houses, I'm not sure if that's true though, might be an Internet myth.

Dunno, they use bricks or stones and parge for the ones I've seen, and the mortaring quality is generally crapola.

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I think it is precisely because of these events that they build these things cheap and semi disposable.

Possibly true. Also, it's a bit like why we aren't better prepared in this country for the odd bit of snowfall we get every couple of years - it's too infrequent for us to invest in proper capacity.

I'm amazed they don't have purpose-built shelters in these places though.

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Possibly true. Also, it's a bit like why we aren't better prepared in this country for the odd bit of snowfall we get every couple of years - it's too infrequent for us to invest in proper capacity.

I'm amazed they don't have purpose-built shelters in these places though.

They do, plenty of people have 'storm cellars'.

Why anybody chooses to live in the tornado ravaged mid west or hurricane battered south east is beyond me though.

Plenty of homes there are just 'caravans', or double-wide trailers as they call them. No foundation except for box cribbing or cement pylons on the ground.

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Would Shipping Container Houses be Safer In Tornadoes?

I’ve been asked this question on my Facebook page, and it is a good question. I originally wrote about this last spring, and I’m rewriting the post today (October 22, 2011). The original post said no, but I’m going to change the answer to “yes and no” or let’s say – it depends.
A shipping container home could be constructed to resist a tornado, however there are a couple of issues that make it impractical:

1. Even in a part of the country that is hit by frequent tornadoes (like the middle of the US – called “Tornado Alley”), the chances of your house getting hit by a tornado are very slight. The really devastating one that hit Northern Georgia this past spring had a path that was about 100 meters wide – outside of that path the damage was minimal. So, constructing an entire house to be tornado resistant is not cost effective – you also would be living in a vault.

2. Tornado damage from my observation gets bad about 2 M above the ground. Given that, a basement in a house is a very effective shelter. If that is not reasonable, a small saferoom on the first floor would work – where you could take shelter quickly.

3. The force generated by a tornado is extreme, so protecting an entire house would be very difficult to do, and extremely expensive. You have high winds that generate a lot of force that is circular – hitting all sides of the house with pressure and shear, and you have debris flying at extreme speeds. You also have very little warning of an impending tornado, so things like storm shutters are generally useless. A survivable house would have very few windows, thick walls, and have to be tied heavily to its foundation. It would not be a place you would want to live in unless you were very paranoid. In such case, a prescription for Zoloft or Prozac would be cheaper and more effective.

My thought is due to slight chances of a tornado hitting your house coupled with the extreme forces that would hit it, a saferoom or below grade basement is best.

Edited by Saving For a Space Ship

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They do, plenty of people have 'storm cellars'.

Why anybody chooses to live in the tornado ravaged mid west or hurricane battered south east is beyond me though.

Plenty of homes there are just 'caravans', or double-wide trailers as they call them. No foundation except for box cribbing or cement pylons on the ground.

Probably something to do with most people in the US living in effective poverty, with most of the money in the hands of the top 0.001%?

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Just watching the news about Us tornado disaster.

Surely shipping container housing at least (cheap & cheerful ) would be a start, before the more exotic designs are explored

Google image search for tornado resistant house

One discussion thread from 2010

You've got a 0.01%* chance of your house being demolished by a tornado. Do you double your build cost to make it tornado proof? I don't think I'd bother.

* or something. It must still be pretty small anyway. These events when they happen are reported worldwide which suggests to me that it's a very rare occurrence.

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Depends on how the container is secured.

Do you want to risk being pulverised in a metal coffin, with all your furniture and goods tumbling with you?

I guess the cheapest way, giving the benefit of thermal mass insulation would be to cover the sides / roof with soil banks or rammed earth tyre walls

containers are designed to take up to 186 tonnes from above, but a lot less from sides, so some extra welding on sides would be advised to take soil pressure

Edited by Saving For a Space Ship

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All over the med (Spain, Greece, Italy, North Africa) they use reinforced concrete even for single family houses so it can't be too expensive.

I remember reading once that planning laws in most parts of the US don't allow reinforced concrete for family houses, I'm not sure if that's true though, might be an Internet myth.

Building a house now in Cyprus, and yeah by law you have to construct a reinforced concrete skeleton. it's expensive, and more or less doubles up the cost of the build.

Total build cost comes in between 950 - 1200 Euros per square metre. Not sure how that compares with USA/ UK

Edited by Tuberider

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You may not want to Tornado proof your home due to cost, but how much does it cost to bury a shipping container and put in steps going down to it ?

Also without increasing costs dramatically how about shaping homes or having them surrounded by embankments.

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You've got a 0.01%* chance of your house being demolished by a tornado. Do you double your build cost to make it tornado proof? I don't think I'd bother.

* or something. It must still be pretty small anyway. These events when they happen are reported worldwide which suggests to me that it's a very rare occurrence.

Looking at some of those pictures today though more like half that town was destroyed, so over say a 100 year occurrence maybe as high as 0.5%, something like 200+ people dead (edited: 24+, not sure why I thought 200, probably the wind speed)

Edited by motch

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Americans have a different attitude to their houses, basically: they're not designed to last as long as ours in the first place, and if they are destroyed in a natural disaster, it's cheaper to clear the site and build from scratch in most cases than it is to repair a damaged structure.

My fiancee's family live about 10 miles from the San Andreas Fault in California, where almost all the houses are wood frame and cladding. Local building codes in most areas actually ban the construction of brick houses, the rationale being that in an earthquake, timber sections will fall over in one piece, usually after people have had a chance to get out of their way, whereas bricks flying around is something you seriously do not want. Ditto bush fires: if one goes through a brick house, it'll gut the interior and destroy the roof structure anyway, after which it's as cheap if not cheaper to build a new wooden house from scratch as it is to repair a brick or concrete structure.

So what they'll probably do in Oklahoma is simply to bulldoze the wreckage out of the way and rebuild from a brown field.

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Probably something to do with most people in the US living in effective poverty, with most of the money in the hands of the top 0.001%?

The average house in Oklahoma is probably far nicer than the average house in the UK, so I'm not sure what that says about the wealth distribution in Britain. The state has it's problems, but there are some really nice houses there (and they're cheap too).

This entire thread seems really ill-informed. You can have the most solid stone-built house that you can imagine, and you're still going to die if a tornado like that hits it directly. Many of the houses that were destroyed were built out of brick, probably with pretty high build quality, but that's meaningless when a truck comes flying out of the air and lands on your house at 100 mph.

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The average house in Oklahoma is probably far nicer than the average house in the UK, so I'm not sure what that says about the wealth distribution in Britain. The state has it's problems, but there are some really nice houses there (and they're cheap too).

This entire thread seems really ill-informed. You can have the most solid stone-built house that you can imagine, and you're still going to die if a tornado like that hits it directly. Many of the houses that were destroyed were built out of brick, probably with pretty high build quality, but that's meaningless when a truck comes flying out of the air and lands on your house at 100 mph.

I don't think many Brits appreciate the awesome power of a big tornado at F4 and above, we made a fuss about a 100mph wind that blew a lot of trees down in 1987.

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http://transitionmissouri.ning.com/forum/topics/great-rebuilding-project-in-joplin?commentId=2552446%3AComment%3A27564

There is an earthship building project starting up in Joplin, Missouri. Greentown Joplin, a new non-profit dedicated to encouraging sustainability in the re-build of Joplin after being devastated by tornados, is working with Earthship Biotecture company of Taos, New Mexico, on the project. Earthship Biotecture (www.earthship.com) has been developing designs for totally “off-grid” houses for over 30 years, including passive solar thermal, alternative energy electric, rainwater catchment and water recycling, as well as food production.

The standard earthship design has been modified for the Joplin project to make it tornado resistant. The demonstration building will be used as a bed & breakfast, to give people the opportunity to experience living in an earthship, and hopefully inspire many people to build green.

http://www.earthship.com/disaster-relief

Video of tornado resistant design build cgi

Edited by Saving For a Space Ship

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The average house in Oklahoma is probably far nicer than the average house in the UK,

You are confusing appearance with substance. That said I don't think UK houses are particularly well built, look at German detached single family houses, those are usually built to far higher standards than UK or US houses.

You are right, brick or stone wouldn't help with a 200mph tornado either but I'm quite sure reinforced concrete would cope with it easily, after all you never see any concrete building crumbing from tornadoes and concrete buildings exist in the US too (not familiy homes but rather larger commercial buildings).

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You are confusing appearance with substance. That said I don't think UK houses are particularly well built, look at German detached single family houses, those are usually built to far higher standards than UK or US houses.

You are right, brick or stone wouldn't help with a 200mph tornado either but I'm quite sure reinforced concrete would cope with it easily, after all you never see any concrete building crumbing from tornadoes and concrete buildings exist in the US too (not familiy homes but rather larger commercial buildings).

OK so you and your family survive in the cellar.

You emerge to find the reinforced concrete structure of your house intact, but the entire contents of the house have been sucked out of the windows/doors, trashed and spread all over the local landscape, , plus everything has been exposed to the very heavy rain that accompanies most tornadoes. How is this a major advance on emerging to find the house reduced to rubble or splinters? I guess you can claim you still have a house, but.....

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  • 244 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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