On a Sunday morning in late August 2014, a 6.0 magnitude earthquake surprised Napa, California residents and caused structural damage to many homes and businesses in the area. One of the most powerful earthquakes in Napa’s history, local news outlet KQED reported $300 million in damage to homes and commercial properties.
Napa is right in our backyard, about 60 miles north of Pleasanton. Many Simpson Strong-Tie employees felt the quake, but fortunately no one was injured. If you’ve ever been in a large earthquake, you would probably agree that it’s a frightening and unsettling experience. And unlike other natural disasters, there’s no warning. Here is one woman’s story about the Napa earthquake:
Continue reading “Protecting Your Home from Earthquakes”
Modular construction — sometimes also known as prefabricated, prefab, prebuilt, manufactured, factory-built, or panelized construction — ain’t no stroll in the trailer park. Although double-wides and modular prefabs sometimes roll off the same factory floor, the similarities end there between mobile homes and true modular construction, which is gaining a foothold in markets as builders and developers look for higher-quality, more efficient construction processes.
Like component construction, modular building takes much of the labor off of the construction site and puts it on a factory floor, where assembly can be value-engineered to minimize waste and maximize speed and overall product quality. And while modular building includes trusses and panels, modular component facilities are much more than your run-of-the-mill truss plant.
Continue reading “Modular Building: a Faster, Higher-Quality Alternative to Stick-Built Construction”
There are a couple of turkeys that like to hang out around our home office in Pleasanton and, no, I’m not referring to any of my colleagues — we actually have a gang of wild turkeys that comes up from the creek behind the office. Almost every day, these colorful birds feel safe enough to stroll onto the office walkway pecking for food outside our office windows and doors. It’s surprising to me that these beautiful creatures could be so fearless (or is it simply naïve?), especially around Thanksgiving time. Their presence reminds me that being fearless is important, because nothing new would ever be discovered if we were too afraid to venture outside our comfort zones.
Continue reading “Turkeys and Gratitude”
If an earthquake were to strike at this very moment, are you confident your home is adequately constructed to withstand it? Depending on where you live, how your house is built—and the year in which it was originally constructed—an earthquake could have a devastating impact on your physical and financial health.
We’ve all witnessed the catastrophic impact that large earthquakes can have on society recently, and our hearts go out to those affected in Mexico who are picking up the pieces. Since October is Earthquake Preparedness Month and October 19 is the Great ShakeOut earthquake drill, we thought we’d share some steps homeowners and building owners can take to help minimize the risk of damage.
Continue reading “Protecting Homes Against Earthquakes With Seismic Retrofitting”
Whether you’re buying a new home or planning to stay in your current home for years to come, it’s important to make sure the building you live in is structurally sound. The following earthquake checklist will help you determine whether your house is properly connected and reinforced to withstand an earthquake.
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There’s been a lot of discussion recently about resilient buildings and resilient communities, including what it means to be resilient, why it’s important, whether it’s possible within budget constraints, and how it can be achieved. The 100 Resilient Cities Rockefeller Foundation initiativedefines “urban resilience” as “the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and systems within a city to survive, adapt and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.”
The discussions have noted that communities are made up of several components — such as buildings, infrastructure, water, power and communication — that all need to be considered when developing a plan for resilience. Even though community resilience is multifaceted, the resiliency of buildings is a crucial component because research shows that Americans spend 90% of their day inside buildings.
Continue reading “Creating Resilient Buildings and Communities”
You might not think you live in earthquake country, but at least 42 states are considered at moderate to very high risk earthquake zones. As you evaluate your home’s ability to withstand an earthquake and prepare for a seismic retrofit, knowing these simple steps will help ensure that your home is structurally sound and earthquake resistant.
Continue reading “5 Tips for Homeowners Living in Earthquake Zones”
Certain types of homes are more likely to need a seismic retrofit than others. If you answer yes to any of these questions, you should consider retrofitting your home.
Continue reading “Should I Seismic Retrofit My Home?”
In the digital era, we’ve observed technology grow ever “smarter,” as our devices, tools and appliances advance steadily toward greater connectivity, autonomy and responsiveness. Even homes are getting smarter, as lighting, temperature and security systems operate with increasing integration and diminishing oversight on our behalf.
Continue reading “A Well-Connected Home Is a Smart Home”
As we’ve seen with the hurricane seasons of that past decade or so, homes are not always built to be storm resistant. During the 2017 hurricane season, countless homes and buildings were severely damaged or destroyed, leaving thousands of families displaced. It will take years for communities to rebuild and recover from such devastation.
Fortunately, there are solutions that can help protect your home from a hurricane or high-wind event. Building your home to meet or exceed code requirements can have a significant impact on whether your home withstands the next big storm. Many parts of the country follow the International Building Code, which establishes design standards for new home construction. If properly enforced, these codes help strengthen homes and protect them from storm damage.
Continue reading “5 Steps to a Safer and More Storm-Resistant Home”