Let's say you're building a 1,500 square foot house plus garage on a
sufficiently sized lot from scratch in New Orleans after the water has
been drained. You want to build so that the house would suffer zero
damage should it endure a hurricane of similar size as Katrina.
You would have to build to survive the wind, the flood water, the
wind-caused waves in the water (In Katrina-NOLA, the wind had subsided
before water came in; this may not be the case in the future), and the
impacts of debris.
You need to anticipate looters and unwanted government interference.
The house would have independent utilities, communication, and supplies.
And the house would need a secure means of transportation for escape if
How should this house be built and what should it have?
So let's do a FULL recap of this house. I am going to save this for future use
Let's fill in the blanks and develope this and have it stand the test of
back-and-forth until we ALL agree on the resultant.
Let's also be realistic, but don't limit yourself. Let's be practical but
without any sacrifice on anything for the sake of safety & security most
FUTURE BUILDING SITE: N.O.
FOUNDATION SYSTEM: ?
FLOOR SYSTEM: ?
WALL SYSTEM: ?
ROOF SYSTEM: ?
DOORS & WINDOWS: ?
MOISTURE & THERMAL PROTECTION: ?
FORCE PROTECTION: ?
MECHANICAL SYSTEMS: ?
ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS: ?
This should be a good discussion.
My suggestions are
1. A moat made up of Weber grill burners. Anyone trys to get accross,
you instantly BBQ there ass.
2. Rifle tower, lots of amunition. (5 bullets for each member of
3. two of each animal to restart population. (preferably opposite
4. Tele-porter to escape. If you go with a tunnel, it would be
flooded. If you go jet pack, the guy across in his castle will snipe
you from his rifle tower. (Check e-bay for a cheap teleporter.)
5. Seperate ecosystem/ oxygen supply - As ecoli and other diseases
break out, you don't want to be breathing this stuff.
I like the three little pigs idea.
Make sure you don't talk to the first two.
Tilt up concrete walls with rebar from slab foundation...
foundation anchored with 24" diameter deep piles at each
Flat metal storm roof under the mostly decorative pitched
roof. The storm roof would be poured concrete at 10'.. actual
ceiling in the house would be at 8' or 9'.
Glass would be tempered 1/2" glass. Steel shutters outside.
Doors would be heavy metal, tight sealing that swing out, not
Generator would be propane powered (because it stores well and
doesnt cloggup the generator carb while sitting idle)...Id
have two smaller gen sets..rather than one large one. one
very small honda silent generator.
Sump in the middle of the slab, slope slab to drain 1/8" per
ft. fit a small little giant sump pump in the sump, powered
by the small generator.
Optionally: Put all this on stilts with fold down stairs.
What not to have. Bay windows facing the storm surge. or
sliding doors if you are at ground level..for views and nice
living have wide decks, enclosed with AC or open.. around the
house those will be sacrificed in a storm. Dont build 20'
below sea level. or lower than you are willing to have
pilings to compensate.
Escape: keep an aluminum boat in the garage and a motorcycle
with 150 mile range on a tank of gas.
Costs: You can make the secure core as small as want. Many
people could have paddled out on 4" thick sheets of styrofoam
available at home depot. Anyone could keep a sheet of that
In New Orleans, where being below sea level and inland from the Gulf of
Mexico provides a lot of protection, this would be overkill, because the
big danger was and is flooding from broken or overtopped levees, not direct
storm surge. A building that can withstand high winds isn't the real
challenge: it's the massive force of MOVING water that is the killer. The
biggest problem with flooding (other than surviving it) is the major mold
and mildew problem that will persist for months or years afterward if the
materials are at all water absorbent.
And on the coast, directly exposed to the full force of combined storm surge
and waves, it wouldn't be nearly enough, unless it really were just a small
storm shelter within a larger building, and even then there are never
guarantees. Storm surge combined with large waves can shatter even a heavy
concrete foundation if it is undercut, and the undercut is why the pilings
are there. So you would need a lot more pilings than just the four
corners, unless it were a small (e.g. one room) shelter.
The "hurricane proof house" near Pensacola is an effort to design just such
a home, but it is far from "hurricane proof". "Hurricane resistant" is a
much better description. See
http://www.domeofahome.com/news_detail.asp?ID ) for some discussion of how
much repair the $800,000 "hurricane proof" house needed after being near
the most destructive part of Ivan. The "before" images are at
http://www.domeofahome.com/gallery/ and some design info at
Keep in mind that the stairs and the concrete slab that were designed to
break away become battering rams when they wash up against someone else's
"hurricane proof" home.
Yeah, it's a neat house and a great design, but far from hurricane proof.
If it would have been on the beach in Biloxi with the 30+ foot storm surge
that came with Katrina, the main living area would have been gone. I saw
this guy (the house owner and a film crew) on TV riding out Ivan. No way in
Hell I would've tried it. I went to Waveland, MS, or what is left of
Waveland, last week. Neither words nor the talking heads on the news
channels can describe the utter devastation. It looks like the whole town
was put through a tub grinder and spit out all over the place. I'll try to
post some pictures later in the week.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.