Concrete Adds Strength to Disaster-Resistant Home
A broad-based coalition of building, safety and affordable housing advocates and emergency organizations have joined forces in the Chicago area to build an affordable, disaster-resistant home featuring precast concrete walls and floors and other safety products.
The home is being built to demonstrate the construction options available to better safeguard homes from natural hazards.
The Portland Cement Association and the Precast-Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI), both members of the NAHB Concrete Home Building Council, joined the American Red Cross, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) and others for an April 2 groundbreaking for a “Fortified” single-family, handicap accessible home in Aurora, Ill.
Unlike traditional groundbreakings featuring officials with shovels, at this one, the concrete walls and floor were put in place. In addition, a series of “wind cannon” demonstrations were held to emphasize concrete’s ability to resist tornado-force winds.
The home is being built as part of the Safe Home Illinois initiative, which is jointly sponsored by the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago and IEMA. The group’s goal is to educate government officials, industry professionals and the general public about building products and techniques that can mitigate the damage caused by tornados and wind storms.
The home is being built in accordance with criteria specified by the IBHS’ "Fortified…for safer living®" program. IBHS is a national non-profit initiative of the insurance industry.
The inspection-based “Fortified” program offers participating builders a range of construction options designed to better safeguard homes from tornados, hail and freezing weather that plague Illinois and other Midwestern states.
The demonstration home also is being constructed in conjunction with The Joseph Corporation, a non-profit affordable housing organization, and the vocational trade programs of three high schools in suburban Chicago. Once completed, the home will be sold to a low-income family, who will receive financial and homeownership counseling from the Joseph Corporation.
The home features precast concrete wall panels and floors by Chicago-area manufacturer and PCI member DuKane Precast. Others contributing to the project include Simpson Strong-Tie, Symons, Grace, Andersen Windows, Allstate Insurance, PCI member Pre-Stress Engineering Corp., Owens Corning, the National Storm Shelter Association and PCA members LaFarge, St. Mary’s Cement and Buzzi Unicem.
News coverage of the groundbreaking appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon News and The Daily Herald and on the Chicago Fox News affiliate.
For more information on the Safe Home Illinois program, visit www.safehomeillinois.org
For more information on the IBHS “Fortified…for safer living” program, visit www.IBHS.org.
Attend the Concrete Technologies Tour on May 6-8
The latest advances in concrete construction, production, materials and design will be showcased at the 2007 Concrete Home Building Council Concrete Technologies Tour in Minneapolis on May 6-8.
The evemt will feature educational programs, networking and behind-the-scenes tours of six cement-based building materials and manufacturing facilities.
For more information and to register, visit www.nahb.org/concretetour.