Affinity Designer | New Homes Designed To Withstand Cyclonic Weather


New Homes Designed To Withstand Cyclonic Weather
Roslyn Smith

‘Women in Building’ Award Winner QMBA 2016

It’s that time of year when we wonder whether our home is strong enough to withstand the cyclonic weather. Is your current home built to cope with the kind of extremities of weather that we experience in North Queensland and do you understand what the cyclone ratings mean? One of the main reasons we consider building a new home is that all approved new construction is designed to the latest Australian Building Standards. This way we know the structural elements in our new homes are designed to withstand cyclonic wind forces and have been engineer certified to do so.

After cyclone Althea in Townsville in 1971 and cyclone Tracey in Darwin 1974 the Australian Building Codes were revised and much work was done on testing for design wind speeds. As a result these stricter building codes were introduced in 1985.

Maybe I should make it a bit easier to understand what cyclone ratings mean. There are 5 categories for rating cyclones that range from category 1 (mild) to category 5 (extreme). For construction in cyclonic areas there are generally 3 ratings for housing that can range from 1 (41 metres per second) to 3 (60 metres per second). We should really be calling them by their correct description which is ‘design wind speed for housing construction subject to protection from the surrounding terrain’ as that would save a lot of confusion. I say generally because they can range higher if the engineer deems it is necessary to design to a higher wind speed.

Much of the cyclonic damage recently has been to older homes that were built before the changes, while most of the damage to newer homes these days is done by flying debris or fallen trees as a result of the strong winds. This is a general reminder for all home owners that you should be performing regular maintenance tasks in and around your home.

There are many homes that have had renovation work or additions that have not been designed or certified for cyclonic regions. These homes will continue to be damaged if they are not upgraded to the relevant current requirements. There are some owners who are aware of these requirements and still don’t upgrade their homes to current building standards, expecting insurance companies to carry the burden of these costs when claims are made.

There is a great comfort in the knowledge that building a new home has the structural elements designed to withstand those cyclonic forces. This doesn’t mean your new home has to look like a bunker but by incorporating good design elements with the practicality of suitable structural materials your home can be as individual as you like.

Having spent over 30 years designing and building homes in cyclonic North Queensland, from Townsville to Mossman and most places in between, I am very familiar with what is required so come in and talk to me about the advantages of building your new home.

Roslyn Smith
2016 QMBA ‘Women in Building’ Award Winner
Affinity Designer Homes & Value Homes (NQ)
Building Designer & Licensed Builder
Phone : 40518866
Mobile : 0439 855851
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