Cyclones are not that rare in Australia. The Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia, see the most in the country. The set building standards for cyclone prone regions were introduced only after 1895. Since there, there have been significantly fewer damages from this natural cause.
The cyclone prone territories in Australia encounter the Category C cyclones. This has a wind speed of up to 252 kilometres per house. Then there is the Category D of 317 kilometres per hours that hits the coastal areas of Western Australia.
Cyclones are often accompanied by heavy rainfall too. This causes flooding and storm surges resulting in large tidal movements in coastal regions. That is why every home needs to adhere to the rules and ensure that their houses are resistant to all elements that come with a cyclone.
How to Build a Cyclone Proof House
A cyclone proof house should be able to withstand the strength of water and wind right from its foundations. Here are a few things to consider
- Foundation and footing of the house should be strong enough and set to the recommended depth to avoid collapse.
- There should be measures taken to prevent moisture from entering a home like water- resilient exterior cladding and waterproof seals
- The doors have to be reinforced with barrel bolts
- The windows require shatterproof glasses along with shutters and mesh screens.
- Sloped roof angled on all four sides withstand strong winds better, All roofing materials have to be screwed down, as nails could quickly come off during cyclones.
- Guttering should be securely fastened to the house and roof
- Add vents in the ceiling and roof to reduce wind pressure in case the doors or windows are affected.
- Try removing trees with proximity to the house as they could fall on the roof and destroy the entire home.
Every regional council would have set up specific standards for the region depending on the strength of the cyclone to be expected. It is essential to follow them strictly to reduce the impact on the house. Without them, it not only poses a threat to the house but also to the safety of people inside. It is always better to expect higher winds and build homes strong enough. Regular maintenance is still necessary to make sure that the house is in shape for any unforeseen damage.
With damages, the maintenance costs could get extremely high, and if damages are in foundation or structure, it could drag its impacts for a long time.
Look out for Rust
Even if you have followed the standards, it is essential to check up on the house design features and reinforcements to make sure they are strong enough. Rush is one of the worst causes of damage from cyclones. If the roof coverings, bolts, fixing plates or any pat is showing signs of rust, they have to be treated immediately. Any material that is rusted is not strong enough to stand up to cyclonic winds, and the rain would fall right through the roof.
In the tropical climate of Australia, timber tends to expand and contract, It is a common phenomenon, but continuous expansion could lead to loose fixings making it more fragile. You have to ensure that the fixings are tight and add extra if required.
Timber Rot and Termite damage
Without proper treatment, any timber can rot. If used in structural frames or even in the decks, it could cause severe damage to the house. Termite infestation is another thing that affects the strength of the timber. Check regularly for both these damages and replace the affected timber.
How to Protect an Older House
Older houses might not be built precisely to the current standards of cyclone prone houses. So it is even more critical to take precautions to minimise the damage. The part of the house most affected would be the roof. A combination of high winds and torrential rain could prove to be extremely catastrophic and even partial damage to the roof could make the situation dangerous.
You might need to hire one of the master builders Brisbane has who are experienced with such aspects. They can check for the parts that need upgrade or reinforcement and bring it to the current standards. The following sections might require urgent inspection.
- Roof sheets and connections
- Roof frames, trusses and sheaths
- Roof to wall connections
- Floor to foundation connections
Other points to keep in mind
- The roof gables are the most vulnerable part of the house. Wider gables have lesser strength to withstand strong winds and are one of the first parts that would need reinforcement in forms of extra bracing and anchoring.
- Doors and windows are the next most affected parts. You would have to replace older windows with shatterproof glasses and fix barrel bolts on doors.
- The wider garage doors can also sustain damage and if attached to the house, extend the damage to the house too.
- Separate smaller structures like patio roofs, gazebos and carports could easily be lifted off and carried to other properties causing further damage. Even solar panels, flashings, satellite dishes, antennas all pose the same threat. Ensure that these are also adequately reinforced.
- Any leakage caused by cyclones also has to be attended quickly. The water could damage walls, floors and spoil the interior completely.
The first thing to do is to check with the local authorities in which zone you fall under and take the necessary steps to ensure that your home is safe. It would also be wise to hire one of the local builders Brisbane, to do regular checkings of the house to evaluate its condition. Cyclone proofing might cost you money, but that expense would be far less than the cost to cover damages if a cyclone hits.
If you are building a new home also, such matters have to be inspected regularly. The rules might also change frequently depending on the predictions, and the older your home gets, the system might also be outdated. Make it a point to check with the council about the latest ways to cyclone proof your house.
Start with finding the right licensed builder for the job. Contact TrustCo to reach out to the best in Brisbane.