Hurricane Katrina took place a dozen years ago, but, for most, the vivid memories of devastation will never go away. More than one million homes were damaged in the storm, including 134,000 in New Orleans alone.
It’s impossible to dampen the massive devastation storms such as Katrina dole out, but there are things people can do to minimize damage. One such thing is to make use of modular homes.
Here is a look at what modular homes are and how they can improve safety during a hurricane.
Safer Homes for Decades
There is tangible evidence that modular homes are the best option when it comes to preventing damage from hurricanes. In the early ’90s, Hurricane Andrew accounted for more than $26 billion in damage, but modular housing developments, in general, had minimal structural damage.
Safety is a major advantage of modular homes, but there are others as well. They offer plenty of design flexibility, and they can be built in about a third of the time needed to construct a site-built home.
Other advantages include increased energy efficiency and lower air infiltration, which helps manage heat loss in the home.
Impact of Hurricane Sandy
In 2012, Hurricane Sandy left its mark on the East Coast of the U.S., to the tune of $19 billion in damage in New York City alone.
As homes were inspected for damage, modular homes held up significantly better than site-built homes. This led FEMA to continue its praise of modular homes due to their propensity for sound workmanship. In fact, the agency replaced destroyed homes with modular homes as a part of the rebuilding process.
Further, modular homes are inspected during every step of the manufacturing process, in addition to the usual state and local inspections. For site-built homes, there is only one inspection once the home is completed — and it doesn’t even need to be performed by a licensed inspector in some states.
According to FEMA’s analysis, the “inherently rigid system” of modular homes lead to much safer structures.
Safer During Floods
The sturdiness of modular homes helps them hold up against the rain, wind and hail that can come with super storms such as a hurricane. They also provide better safety in flooding situations, which can be useful throughout the U.S.
For example, heavy and persistent rainfall earlier this year in California led to roughly $1 billion in damage. Since the main level of modular homes can be elevated to avoid floodwaters, some of this damage could have been avoided had modular homes been more widespread.
The main draw of modular homes remains their durability. They tend to feature anywhere between 20 and 30 percent more wood than a site-built home, which naturally increases how much damage it can withstand from wind and other storm elements.
In the end, the question isn’t whether modular homes are safe in storms. The real question is how much safer are they than site-built homes?
This can be hard to quantify, but research from the likes of FEMA, which follows some of this country’s largest storms, consistently show modular homes held up much better than their site-built counterparts. For those living in areas that are annually threatened by hurricanes, living in a modular home seems like a no-brainer.
One often-overlooked benefit of modular homes is their ability to stand up to flooding, which can occur no matter where in the country you live. Flooding is one of those things many people don’t think about until it’s too late. Living in a modular home can give you peace of mind, in that, should a flooding situation occur, your damage will be minimal compared to many site-built homes.