We have formatted written photo essay reports for years. Understanding how and what your building is constructed is important to property owners who have high insurance premiums. Documenting what is built and how is subject to when the structure was initially built and when additions and modifications have been constructed. Types of roofing, window protection and roof structure to wall connections must be documented. Understanding how buildings are constructed dictates as to how the building will perform in high winds. Most single family homes have no specific engineering calculations. Only prescriptive code elements are used in the fabrication of one and two story homes. Design professionals are responsible for the structures design performances. One has to understand the difference between engineering and basic prescriptive code requirements.

Wind loads are based on ASCE-7-10.  Insurance forms don’t document what wind zone the structure is in. Understanding wind design pressure on the structure is paramount to the success of the structure in a high wind event. Lack of owner maintenance and corrosive exterior hardware are a detriment to structural load transfers for uplift and lateral stability. Older structures where not designed for uplift only dead loads. Wind can come from any direction. Design professionals that have a structural field of expertise can analyze existing structural components for wind load performance. (MWFRS) Main wind force resisting system is what ASCE-7 refers to as an important wind design consideration.

Strut connections and diaphragm load transfers can be re-engineered on existing buildings. Only calculations from an existing floor plan and other framing and wall section details can be added up to document tributary load transfers. Simple walk around cannot preserve engineering design loads.

Loads are arrived from the design drawing. What is the total load on the roof surface? What is the load on the outside walls? Both negative and positive loads on building zones must be analyzed. How are the loads transferred to the soil? Are the openings protected?

Insurance wind mitigation report forms don’t document any of this information. All exterior windows, doors, wall siding, soffits, roofing and garage doors must have Florida Building Code Product approval and must be permitted and inspected.  Owners should keep all permit and inspection documents for proof to insurance inspections. Sorry, Mr. Home owner we cannot pay, you have no proof that the work was done according to code.

The roof must stay on to keep the structure together. Block walls are not necessarily wind resistant unless reinforced.  Vertical reinforcement is required for load transfers from the roof to the foundation.

Existing masonry walls can be reinforced. Owners are urged to take a proactive stance to receive mandatory insurance requirements.

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