Saturday, September 18, 2021
July 27, 2021

Could hurricane straps become commonplace to prevent wind damage?

‘It’s something that chief building officials all across Ontario have discussed at length previously,’ says home builders’ sssociation official

Would so-called hurricane strapping have prevented some roofs from blowing off houses during last Thursday’s tornado in south-end Barrie? It depends on who you ask.

Hurricane strapping connects and strengthens wood-framed roofs and houses, with the most common ones made of galvanized or stainless steel. They are designed to help protect structures from severe weather.

Paul Meredith, first vice-president of the Simcoe County Home Builders’ Association and a construction manager by profession, said there are two arguments.

“It’s something that chief building officials all across Ontario have discussed at length previously,” he said. “For the cost of the hurricane straps, yes. And the short answer is yes, you’d think it would make sense.

“However, would it cause the house to further collapse more? If the hurricane straps were on there, it could have caused a potential collapse, in which case people would be trapped or injured inside the home, so there’s an argument both ways.”

Meredith says hurricane straps are not mandated by the Ontario Building Code, but they are an option.

“The design engineer, who would be with the truss company, will specify how those trusses are to be installed and affixed,” he said. “If you’re building a house, you would request the truss package from an engineer, or a truss company whose engineer would specify how those roof trusses have to be installed and affixed.”

A truss is a pre-made wooden structure that integrates a triangular webbing to provide support for the roof above, while tying the outside walls of the house together.

Ontario’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing says there are a number of factors to consider.

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