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Security IT

Building the Ultimate Safe House 289

Hugh Pickens writes "Candace Jackson writes that an increasing number of home builders and buyers are looking for a new kind of security: homes equipped to handle everything from hurricanes, tornadoes and hybrid superstorms like this week's Sandy, to man-made threats ranging from home invasion to nuclear war. Fueling the rise of these often-fortresslike homes are new technologies and building materials—which builders say will ultimately be used on a more widespread basis in storm- and earthquake-threatened areas. For example, Alys Beach, a 158-acre luxury seaside community on Florida's Gulf Coast, has earned the designation of Fortified...for safer living® homes and is designed to withstand strong winds. The roofs have two coats of limestone and exterior walls have 8 inches of concrete, reinforced every 32 inches for 'bunkerlike' safety, according to marketing materials. Other builders are producing highly hurricane-proof residences that are circular in shape with 'radial engineering' wherein roof and floor trusses link back to the home's center like spokes on a wheel, helping to dissipate gale forces around the structure. Deltec, a North Carolina–based builder, says it has never lost a circular home to hurricanes in over 40 years of construction. But Doug Buck says some 'extreme' building techniques don't make financial sense. 'You get to a point of diminishing returns,' says Buck. 'You're going to spend so much that honestly, it would make more sense to let it blow down and rebuild it.''
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Building the Ultimate Safe House

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  • by Peter Simpson ( 112887 ) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @08:38AM (#41863779)
    The home may survive, but if it's beachfront, you may find the distance from your bunker to the waves is a lot less when you emerge after the hurricane.
  • Um... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Type44Q ( 1233630 ) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @08:47AM (#41863825)

    'You're going to spend so much that honestly, it would make more sense to let it blow down and rebuild it.''

    Naturally, a bean-counter and an actual occupant might have different thoughts about that... :p

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday November 03, 2012 @08:53AM (#41863855) Homepage Journal

    Ah yes, a well. Which is going to be contaminated in any serious flood.

    I have a well over 120 feet deep that goes through a clap cap (well, I rent a home with...) but it's still under surface influence.

    You will need a large water tank.

  • Brick (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Lode ( 1290856 ) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @09:08AM (#41863905)

    Using brick instead of wood may help some. Nothing high tech about that.

  • Re:Illegal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @09:17AM (#41863931) Journal

    Naturally, sponsored by a republican [tulsabeacon.com], the same kind that are against government regulation

  • Re:Illegal (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 03, 2012 @09:19AM (#41863937)

    You would really trust the government with a key to your house?

  • by FatLittleMonkey ( 1341387 ) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @09:41AM (#41864019)

    Or, how about moving to somewhere with a safer climate to begin with ?

    Geologically and climatologically safe places are almost always boring, empty and low-value.

    Fertile soil means flood-plains, which means floods. (Hell even deserts flood every few decades.) Too flat and you can add tornadoes. Forests and parks means fire risk, trees falling in storms, etc. Good views of the sea means storms, up to and including hurricanes, along with coastal erosion. Good views inland usually means hills and mountains, which means landslides, probably earthquakes. Rivers and valleys means floods, landslides, and wild-fire funnelling. Then you've got ice storms if you're too far north, blackouts from too many air-conditioners if you are too far south, resulting in heat-deaths. (Northern hemisphere).

    And, even if you pick well, you've only got a few decades of in-your-lifetime awareness of weather events to go on. A century or so if you make an effort to go into the records. That still leaves you fucked if you get a once-in-a-century (-or-three) event. Or if climate changes and makes your previously low risk site suddenly higher risk.

    And that's just nature. Then you've got people. Home invasion, riots, arson, government falling, invasion, zombies...

  • Brick houses? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by xaxa ( 988988 ) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @10:16AM (#41864197)

    Are there any European-style brick houses in New England (or anywhere else) with extreme weather? (More extreme than Europe.) Are they robust enough?

    Every house I've ever lived in has been built from two layers of brick, with either an air gap (older) or fibreglass (you call it mineral wool then?) or similar between, for insulation. I live in England, so we don't need shutters, but they're normal in some places -- generally for temperature control rather than protection. A tiled roof might not do very well in a hurricane. Some small changes (strong shutters, better-attached roof) and you're almost there...

    TV reports of a house fire in Europe generally show a house with soot marks above some windows, and possibly a burnt and partially collapsed roof. They have to burn for a *long* time for walls to collapse. Flood damage means replacing all the ground-floor carpets and making sure the space under the house is dry, to avoid damp/mould. Wind damage usually means replacing a missing roof tile, but we don't get wind like America.

    (For that matter, how are the big buildings in Manhattan? They're brick or concrete and presumably don't have shutters.)

  • Re:Illegal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @10:23AM (#41864227)

    Because when your house is on fire, you want the fire department to be able to enter as quickly as possible. Instead of finding the key to your house somewhere at the station, among hundreds of others, an axe works nicely as a universal door opener.

    When my house is made of steel and concrete, it's not on fire. Especially with sprinkler systems to drown carpet/drapes fires.

  • Re:Illegal (Score:0, Insightful)

    by shiftless ( 410350 ) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @02:27PM (#41866147) Homepage

    Realistically speaking though, what's the harm? So now a bad guy has the keys to your building... that same bad guy could have just thrown a brick through the window or kicked down a door and gotten in anyway.

    Not if your house is fortified, stupid ass. Try to keep up.

  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @03:18PM (#41866587) Homepage Journal

    Around here, most folks seem to prefer the separate buried shelters. They have to run in the rain and wind to get into it, but they prefer that to trusting an "interior room" or a basement.

    Tunnels that connect these to your basement are not all that hard to add. You can then quickly and safely head to it from the house. Of course you still want another way out in case your house does totally collapse, so you are not trapped in the shelter.

  • Re:Illegal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by khallow ( 566160 ) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @03:47PM (#41866859)
    And what sort of cover do these bad guys have while they're ineffectively dinging the front of this guy's house? A fortified home can be easily cracked by enough people with good tactics and decent equipment. Hanging out at the front of the killing zone and doing stupid stuff isn't going to do it.

    And that leads us to another point. Why crack a fortified home, when an unfortified one is available? A lot of the rationale behind this sort of thing is that it makes your home look a lot less vulnerable than the home next door. Unless the bad guys have a reason to break into this particular home, they'll be greatly encouraged to just go elsewhere.

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