The American Institute of Architects Disaster Assistance Committee recommends the following actions for homeowners to consider and help prepare their residences in case of a natural disaster:
• Document your home before disaster strikes – take photos of the inside and outside of your property and share with your insurance company to have in their files
• Familiarize know the age of your home / what type of framing it has- or better yet the construction documents / how recently the roof has been repaired or replaced – this will help guide you on what design changes or updates should be made
• Prioritize making easy and inexpensive fixes and phase repairs, maintenance and retrofits so they are manageable; use wind-resistant nailing patterns to secure roof sheathing
• Communicate your building performance goals: make your desire for storm-resistant and resilient design elements known to your architect or contractor from the outset of a project and include site selection, program and building life cycle in your conversations. Make sure that you are comfortable with their expertise in this area before proceeding with work
• Designate a safe room within your home for certain hazards including tornadoes and earthquakes. Examples include: mud room, laundry room or even a powder room as space allows.
• Design to meet your needs. Building codes are a life safety standard that affords minimal protection of property only. Hazardous conditions may not be up to date in local maps and regulations to reflect current realities and risk. An architect can advise on additional measures to take.
AIA Disaster Assistance Committee members are available for interviews for additional details and design practice explanations upon request