Richburg, SC (WLTX) - Researchers have blown down a perfectly good house to demonstrate how a few thousand dollars can help make sure high winds do not do the same thing.
Tuesday's test at the $40 million Institute for Business and Home Safety in Chester County went exactly as planned. The center is halfway between Columbia and Charlotte, N.C.
Two 1,300-square-foot houses stood side by side as 105 giant fans created wind gusts of 110 mph, about the same as a Category 3 hurricane. The houses were the same design, similar to that used in the central U.S., but with a few key differences.
"There big difference was the better built house had straps connecting roof to the upper floor, the upper floor to lower floor all the way to the foundation," said Julie Rochman, president of the Institute for Business and Home Safety.
Nails were used instead of staples in the better built home. Also, they learned doors that swing out instead of in are much safer.
"We can watch our cameras in the test chamber with very real conditions and learn how things come apart," Rochman said. "That way we know best practices in building techniques and modifications."
The idea is to learn which construction materials and methods hold up best to minimize damage from natural disasters, especially hurricanes and tornados.
The facility was funded by property and casualty insurers.