Archive for the ‘Renovation’ Category

Huff and Puff and blow your house down   Leave a comment

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Huff and Puff and blow your house down

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Just 100 mph winds snaps this roof off a standard code house in this test chamber.  DKA is designing a new fortified home along the Jersey Shore using inexpensive techniques that exceed the new building codes.   These techniques were used on the house on the right and building envelope stays intact under test.   Click on the picture to watch a video of the test.

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Simple design changes which add only 1% to the cost of materials for a new home or office can make all the difference in the world during a storm.    Some of the changes will be code required, but some of the changes must be requested by the Architect during the design process; these include high-wind rated shingles, high-wind rated siding, exterior doors that don’t blow in under high winds, 5/8” thick roof sheathing, and ring shank nails which have better holding power.  The insurance industry is the largest consumer of roof shingles and following these practices can reduce losses and claims.  If you lose your roof during a storm, it doesn’t much matter whether the rest of the structure remains, the contents and structure will be ruined anyway.

Stephen Malyszka of Dennis Kowal Architects completed a seven hour training day on redesigning safely for Hurricanes, Flooding, and Seismic activity.  Hurricane Sandy which affected 11 states and will be known as the second largest weather event to ever affect the United States has caused everyone to focus on better design practices when rebuilding.    Stephen is currently designing a home in Belmar, New Jersey, just two blocks from the coastline and at the center of the land fall during Hurricane Sandy.   Belmar lost all but 20 reusable feet of its boardwalk and had significant damage to many of its homes due to wind and storm surge damage.  Houses must be designed to resist lateral movement of storm surges that try to push a house off its foundation, braced against the toppling wind pressure and tied from roof to foundation with a continuous load path structure.     Foundations and pilings must be protected from scouring during riverine or coastal flooding and decks and porches often require and independent structures allowing them to break away cleanly from the main structure.

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The tattered boardwalk in Belmar showing the destructive power of the storm against an engineer’s best design efforts. Belmar flooded from both the ocean side and bay side.
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Welcome to Belmar and a pile of debris that once constituted a lot of houses. DKA is practicing fortified house design to prevent the kind of damage seen after Hurricane Sandy.
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Dennis Kowal Architect believes that beautiful homes are also safe homes.  No one expects a disaster. Too often short cuts during construction compromise a structure.  DKA provides construction administration to monitor construction and enforce quality.

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Stephen Malyszka of Dennis Kowal Architects attends an in-depth training on reinforced house design.

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Dennis Kowal Architects improves the way we build!

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Hurricane Sandy buries the Wicked Witch of the North(easter)   Leave a comment

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Hurricane Sandy buries the Wicked Witch of the North(easter)

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Just like in the Oz movie, Hurricane Sandy lifted this 80’ long barn roof in one piece and dropped it in a field. 

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DENNIS KOWAL ARCHITECTS was busy during Hurricane Sandy running to projects in ravaged Belmar, New Jersey, flooded  Hoboken New Jersey, and right in their own back yard in Central New Jersey.   A 16’ x 84’ long roof assembly lifted directly off a barn at Duke Farms.  In almost a surgical fashion, Hurricane Sandy grabbed one half of the gabled upper roof assembly and detached it with very little damage to the remaining structure.

In Hurricanes, buildings either implode or explode from the high wind pressure.  It is not uncommon to find after a storm that two adjacent buildings have been destroyed by two different methods.  One building implodes and all materials remain in a heap and another building explodes and parts of it are found everywhere.  The reason is simple.   If flying debris breaks a window or a loose exterior detaches, then the high pressure wind is able to get inside the structure, and under the right conditions, burst the structure open.  This is what happened to the maternity barn at Duke Farms.    The weakest link let go and that happened to be the wood framed roof.  The exterior walls of the barn were concrete block.

Gusts can also cause a building to implode when forces exceed the design capacity of the structure.  Sometimes, improper construction can be the culprit.  This is why every project we design includes a nailing schedule specifying how many nails, what size and what spacing.    These things matter when  there is a storm.  Also, windows come in a hurricane grade which resist breakage when heavy objects are hurled at them at terrific speeds.  These simple steps can sometimes save a building.

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The upper roof of this 7,000 sf barn weighing several tons was lifted by Sandy as one piece and then dropped a short distance away.    Note that the hay pile remained intact.

Facility Manager, Joseph Wyatt LEED AP, assembled a quick response team for the storm damage at Duke Farms.  The roof assembly broke in half upon landing.

 A clean separation between framing halves of this barn can be seen at the ridge pole.  It will be possible to rebuild the barn using many of the original components.

The sequence of events:   Fragments of in-blown glass were only evident in a small location seen below in this photo taken  from where the clerestory windows were once in position.   As soon as the envelope was breached, wind pressure filled the structure with such force as to cause some part to explode.  The roof popped up in one piece and the steady windy blew it clear of the rest of the structure. The remaining windows all blew out like the roof.

The blown off roof immediately reduced the wind pressure and no further damage occurred.

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DENNIS KOWAL ARCHITECTS assists owners with storm damage and navigate the difficult insurance claim process.   Dennis Kowal, AIA LEED AP, has disaster assessment training with the American Institute of Architects and is on the Board of the American Red Cross.

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DENNIS KOWAL ARCHITECTS provides expert structural assessments when the unexpected happens.

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Unrelated advertisement below;  Please leave a comment about this blog in the comment box below the advertisement or click on more stories from the category list at the upper left top of this blog.

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Posted November 7, 2012 by Dennis Kowal Architects in Renovation

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