Honolulu (KHON2) – Homes and buildings in hurricane-prone regions need effective protection to withstand the destructive force of these natural disasters. We spoke to Lance Luke and Jonny Santo Tomas, of Structural Systems, to understand the prevention methods and retrofit solutions available.

The primary focus of hurricane protection is ensuring a solid foundation and secure walls. In concrete slab construction, this involves anchoring the house walls to the foundation using anchor bolts. Hurricane clips or straps, metal connectors, are then used to secure the house walls to the roof rafters. This strategy creates a continuous load path, ensuring the structure remains intact during heavy winds, as required by current building codes.

Jonny  emphasized the importance of maintaining these anchor bolts to prevent rusting, which can weaken the connection. Rust-related failures are often found in garages or crawlspaces, making regular inspections and repairs crucial.

For older homes that lack hurricane ties, Lance Luke suggests retrofit methods to enhance protection. Retrofitting involves adding hurricane ties after construction, but it must be done by experienced contractors to ensure the connections are solid and structural components are adequately secured. Simply installing ties without proper connections is akin to decoration and provides a false sense of security.

To shed light on the impact of inadequate hurricane protection, the experts discussed a recent incident in Maui where roofs were torn off during a fire. According to Lance Luke, Lahaina, an older town with many wooden structures, faced greater vulnerability due to the age of buildings. The lack of proper hurricane protection, coupled with heavy winds and the destruction caused by the fire, likely contributed to the roofs being blown off.

For more information, visit Structural Systems ssihawaii.com