City Adopts New Building Codes, First in the Nation

MOORE, Okla (March 17, 2014). – Homeowners in Moore will have a better chance against the fury of Mother Nature thanks to the City’s adoption of new residential building codes. The Moore City Council voted unanimously Monday night to adopt the new codes based on research and proven engineering technology proposed by civil engineers Chris Ramseyer and Lisa Holliday. The new building codes mark the City of Moore as the first city in the nation to adopt building codes that focus on the tornadic impact on homes.

“We have seen from this tornado, progressive construction techniques that can survive strong winds,” said Mayor Glenn Lewis. “We can learn from this devastating event to build stronger homes and neighborhoods across the United States – and it starts in Moore.”

Moore’s new residential building codes include requiring roof sheathing, hurricane clips or framing anchors, continuous plywood bracing and wind-resistant garage doors. The homes would be built to withstand winds up to 135 miles per hour rather than the accepted standard building requirements of 90 miles per hour.

“I applaud the City of Moore for taking proactive, yet thoughtful steps to protect its citizens should another major tornado hit our area. These steps demonstrate how a community can rebuild stronger through advanced construction techniques with minimal cost impact on the homeowners,” said Melissa Hunt, Moore Planning Commissioner and Executive Director of the American Institute of Architects, Central Oklahoma Chapter. “As a citizen of Moore, I am extremely pleased that our city leaders saw this as an important step in the rebuilding process and I hope other cities will follow Moore’s lead.”

The City is basing its new building requirements on research and damage evaluation by Ramseyer and Holliday who were part of the National Science Foundation Rapid Response team that evaluated residential structural damage after the tornado.

“A home is deconstructed by a tornado, starting with the breaching of the garage door,” Ramseyer explained. “The uplift generated by the wind causes the roof to collapse until the pressure pulls the building apart. These new residential building codes could possibly prevent that in the future.”

Ramseyer has been working with local builders and contractors for nearly a decade to devise improved housing structures. His assessment immediately following the tornado proved the new building techniques worked.

“We have photos that show two houses with EF2 damage 69 feet away from a house where the slab was swept clean. Both houses were built with the same construction techniques,” said Ramseyer. “This points out that we should be able to narrow the damage zone for an EF-5 tornado significantly, allowing more people to survive and consequently less overall destruction.”

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