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Wind Bracing

The City of Smithville implemented specific wind bracing inspections in 2009 in response to several local examples of building damage due to "straight line" wind storms.  The wind bracing requirements already existed in our codes, but there was not a specific inspection that verified these requirements were being met in all aspects.  Many of the features of wind bracing are covered during normal construction and are not visible when the rough-in inspection occurs.  While there were significant cost concerns, specifically, whether or not these building inspections and the wind bracing requirements were even going to be effective.  Even though the engineering on the various bracing methods was conducted, checked, and re-checked nationally, there were no specific testing facilities to test methods and materials for wind bracing.  In 2009, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety constructed a testing facility for the specific purpose of testing wind and other environmental forces on building construction. 

As a result of the March, 2017 tornado that struck our city, we have some real world information to add.  The tornado struck three subdivisions in our city.  The most significant damage (and the location of all of the total losses) impacted the oldest of these subdivisions.  The particular subdivision was completed prior to the City's adoption of the more stringent wind bracing requirements in the 2006 Building Codes.  The other two subdivisions were either under the 2006 code, or the more stringent 2012 code.  Nearly all of the damage in those subdivisions related to shingle damage and not houses being lifted off their foundations.  While we recognize that there are some minor cost increases associated with the type of construction we require, the repair bills are significantly less for those homes.