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Thursday, January 08, 2009

IKE damage: For Want of a Nail...or Two

For want of a nail, all was lost...Proverb

Yesterday I attended the House Select Committee Hearing on Hurricane IKE held in Galveston. One of the public speakers made a fascinating point. He asked that the standards for asphalt shingles be changed so that they are nailed with six instead of four nails.

The lack of two nails led to the roof damage caused by IKE. He said that roofs in Beaumont after RITA that had been replaced with shingles held by four nails were torn off again by IKE. Roofers are putting on 500 new roofs a day in Houston, and after the next big storm they will be doing it again. The warranty on the shingles (using four nails) is only 60 mph! Why? Because they will fail at 70 mph according to this witness, who is an engineer.

This is but one of the many suggestions for code improvements that the legislature is looking at. Rep. Turner and the committee spent the entire day listening to testimony - without even breaking for lunch.

Another issue raised by Rep. Eiland himself was the adjuster problem. He said that he is having to deal with 7 adjusters! There is one for flood, another for wind, a third for car damage and more adjusters for a second piece of property he owns. Like many residents, he wants it changed so people are dealing with one adjuster (or a lot fewer)!

From my perspective we also need to address windows. Galveston requires impact or hurricane glass but that is very expensive for those further inland. Yet Houston high rise buildings had windows blown out starting at thirty feet or higher, where the wind speeds were higher. This could have been avoided by using our hurricane window film with a special DOW attachment to the frame. One bank on the west side lost its computer when a glass door blew in. The computer loss wasn't so bad as the fact they also lost all the data on it. Our window film would have protected both people inside and the property that was destroyed by window failure.

Much work remains to be done to address code changes. While we don't necessarily need to go as far as Miami-Dade (designed for 150 mph winds - Houston is in the 110 mph zone), we will need to make improvements - so that we don't suffer massive losses because of the lack of two nails, or hurricane security window film...

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