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Taken from another source: Is it time for Americans to build smarter homes?

I liked this and thought that I would ask it here.

"In the wake of all the recent disasters: floods, tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, and hurricanes; I think it may be time for America to rethink the way it builds.

The luxury of insurance and disaster assistance has given us a certain complacency towards the way we build. We build houses of sticks, concerning ourselves more with energy efficiency, appearance, and initial cost than with the quality and soundness of construction. When the wind or the tide inevitably knocks down our stick houses, we build them back the same. That is what insurance is for, we are told."

However, we know in the wake of the current flooding and all the tornado damage that insurance costs are going to rise, so what do you think?


Asked by m-avi at 12:46 PM on May. 5, 2011 in Politics & Current Events

Level 49 (333,910 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (16)
  • I DO NOT live in an area where any of that shit has EVER happened.

    No such thing. The fault lines across North America sit in such a way that there is no place guaranteed quake free. Some just haven't felt one in a very long time. As for tornadoes...those have also happened in every state. The only thing you can claim to be beyond the reach of is hurricanes and volcanoes, but even then, there are repercussions of volcanoes and hurricanes that don't reach you personally, in the form of storm cells (tornadoes) and plate shifting (earthquakes). Thinking you are safe from those things is nothing more than a false sense of security.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 2:05 PM on May. 5, 2011

  • There is no way to build a home that is indestructible.  No matter what you use natural disasters will cause even the greatest of materials to fail.


    Answer by amazinggrace83 at 12:51 PM on May. 5, 2011

  • As someone who works in the residential construction field, I say you can offer the products to consumers to build smarter homes~ but in the end they will choose what is the most cost effective for their lifestyle, needs, and projected timeframe to live in said house. Clients I have had who use 'smarter' materials and design options are clients who intend on being in their home for greater than 8 years. Clients who are building for the "now"? They aren't concerned with 'smarter' products (on average).. I would be curious to see what other design/build professionals are seeing in their respective areas..

    Answer by grlygrlz2 at 12:58 PM on May. 5, 2011

  • I don't know how much it will effect insurance costs, because things happen somewhere every year and I am sure that is already factored in to our costs. I think I have had the same insurance for 7 or 8 years and it hasn't gone up more than a couple dollars in that time.

    As far as the quality of the homes...I can definitely say that I think things are getting more and more cheaply made. I prefer 1950s homes and brick homes because many are built SO solidly and with more character that I feel safe and "at home" rather than like I am sitting in an apartment like I feel in some of the newer homes.

    Answer by Mom-2-3-Girlz at 12:53 PM on May. 5, 2011

  • yes, it's past time, but the them emphasis SHOULD be on clean building materials and on energy efficiency. there are a lot of passive, non-recurring cost measures that can be taken when a home is built to make it a lot less wasteful.

    Answer by autodidact at 1:41 PM on May. 5, 2011

  • the homes in my area are built in preparation. over on the air force base, the homes are built on stilts because it is right next to the ocean so this helps during flooding as we live in a hurricane zone. tornadoes are not common here but most of the homes are built of concrete anyway. there is no way to build a house that can be ready for every natural disaster. maybe steel would be the only indestructible material but that's not possible lol

    Answer by tnm786 at 12:54 PM on May. 5, 2011

  • If a government were to mandate (via local laws) "smarter" housing materials, then they have just increased the constructions costs and have just impacted the economy... Less people can afford to build homes, thus impacting construction related jobs.

    Answer by grlygrlz2 at 1:02 PM on May. 5, 2011

  • When I lived in West Texas, 90% of the homes were made of brick. The water table was too high for most to have basements. It always reminded me of the 3 Little Pigs. LOL

    Answer by anng.atlanta at 1:15 PM on May. 5, 2011

  • To be fair we DO have a lot of building codes to alleviate this. California codes are strict for earthquake readiness for example.

    Answer by Dkhilly at 1:35 PM on May. 5, 2011

  • I think if people can afford to, they do it. My husband and I are building a home right now. We live in S. FL so in preparation for hurricanes we are putting in high impact windows. There really isn't much else we can do.

    Answer by Syphon at 3:21 PM on May. 5, 2011