Understanding and Mitigating Hazards

Qld-cyclone-2009_1.jpg

Queensland cyclone 2009_1
Cyclone damage in Queensland, 2009

Project Status:

This project is developing the evidence base for risk mitigation by devising simple practical and economic upgrading options for existing houses. The outcomes will promote retrofit investment by home owners and provide a basis for incentives to encourage this action through insurance and government initiatives.

Typically, older Australian houses built prior to the mid-1980s do not offer the same level of performance and protection during severe wind as houses constructed to contemporary building standards. Given that these existing older houses will represent the bulk of the housing stock for many decades, practical structural upgrading solutions based on the latest research will make a significant improvement to housing performance during storms, and to the economic and social well-being of the community.

This project is developing the evidence base for risk mitigation by devising simple practical and economic upgrading options for existing houses. The outcomes will promote retrofit investment by home owners and provide a basis for incentives to encourage this action through insurance and government initiatives.

The primary objective is to develop cost-effective strategies for mitigating damage to housing from severe windstorms across Australia. Outputs from this project will target a range of end users, from policy development through to homeowners and builders on recommended actions to improve resilience of existing housing. The uptake of the research will reduce the cost of natural disasters in Australia.

The project has collected and analysed information from the impacts of tropical cyclones and thunderstorms, which will provide valuable input into the development of vulnerability modelling. It has published reports on recent events including the 2014 Brisbane thunderstorm, 2015 tropical cyclones Nathan, Marcia and Olwyn, and 2017’s Cyclone Debbie.

Storms outside of the tropics are also part of the study, with the team conducting surveys in Adelaide and Canberra. The geometry of houses in south east Australia is the least understood, and to address this the team undertook a desktop examination using aerial imagery and Google Street View of 467 houses in Canberra to determine the most common geometries from houses constructed in the 1960s.

The team has also collaborated with the insurance company Suncorp to analyse 25,000 insurance claims from cyclones Larry (2006) and Yasi (2011), with the purpose of gaining a better understanding of the drivers of cyclone damage.

The project will categorise residential structures into types based on building features that influence windstorm vulnerability using Geoscience Australia and Cyclone Testing Station survey data. From these a suite will be selected to represent those contributing most to windstorm risk.

The project has engaged heavily with key stakeholders and will continue to involve end-users and stakeholders (homeowners, builders, regulators, insurers) to assess amendments and provide feedback on practicality, cost-effectiveness and aesthetics of potential upgrading methods for a range of buildings. A webinar series has also been piloted, allowing home owners to understand the importance of making appropriate decisions at various stages of the building process, and providing information on various aspects of building to resist wind loads for builders, certifiers and designers to become aware of issues that have caused failures previously.

Vulnerability models will be developed for each retrofit strategy using survey data, the authors’ existing vulnerability models, and the NEXIS database of Australian housing characteristics. Case studies will be used to evaluate effectiveness of proposed retrofit solutions in risk reduction. Economic assessment using these case studies will be used to promote uptake of practical retrofit options.

PhD researcher Korah Parackal talks about his research at a cyclone awareness day in Townsville.
20 November, 2017
Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC researchers have been briefing community members and emergency services on cyclones and the latest engineering research underway.
Post fire field work
17 November, 2017
New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.
AJEM cover October 2017
8 November, 2017
Many peer-reviewed papers from the AFAC17 powered by INTERSCHUTZ Research Forum have been published in a special edition of the Australian Journal of Emergency Management.
Hurricane Harvey damage. Photo: Daniel Smith
19 October, 2017
Research continues after a severe Atlantic hurricane season, with Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC researcher Dr Daniel Smith from the Cyclone Testing Station part of an international team investigating the impacts of Hurricane Harvey on Texas.
Storm surge damage at Ponte Vedra Florida from Hurricane Irma. Photo by Daniel Smith, Cyclone Testing Station.
20 September, 2017
Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC researcher Dr Daniel Smith is part of an international team assessing the impacts from Hurricane Irma in Florida.
Photo: NSW State Emergency Service
31 August, 2017
CRC research is investigating the impacts of Cyclone Debbie and helping to inform mitigation and resilience to severe wind
Damage to a house at Airlie Beach following Cyclone Debbie. Photo: Cyclone Testing Station
19 April, 2017
The damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Debbie in Queensland’s Whitsunday region has been investigated by a team of CRC researchers.
Mitchell Humphreys, David Henderson, Thomas Kloetzke, Korah Parackal and Daniel Smith.
29 March, 2017
In recent days I’ve been part of a deployment team for Severe Cyclone Debbie on the Whitsunday Coast.
Cyclone Testing Station group
7 December, 2016
CRC researchers from James Cook University and the University of Queensland met recently to discuss pre-tropical cyclone actions and undertake cyclone deployment strategy testing.
AJEM October 2016 cover
26 October, 2016
Many peer-reviewed papers from the AFAC16 powered by INTERSCHUTZ Research Forum have been published in a special edition of the Australian Journal of Emergency Management.
13 October, 2016
New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.
16 August, 2016
New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.
Roof damage - severe winds in Qld
20 July, 2016
The Cyclone Testing Station webinar series for homeowners and builders provides essential information on upgrading roofs.
17 May, 2016
A series of videos, now available, highlight some of the benefits of CRC research and the problems that the science is trying to solve.
Earthquake and wind engineering testing in Adelaide.
25 January, 2016
Earthquake and cyclone engineering combined last week in Adelaide to gather data on the construction of 1960s housing, all in the name of CRC science.
Many buildings built before the mid-1980s are vulnerable to severe wind, with Cyclone Larry wreaking havoc on Innisfail in Queensland in 2006.
24 April, 2015
How can we ensure our houses can withstand the rigours of severe winds? New research by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC is investigating the most practical ways of retrofitting older homes to withstand severe wind, and has its origins in Cyclone Tracy’s aftermath.
The cover of the Fire Australia Autumn 2015 issue
24 April, 2015
The Autumn 2015 edition of Fire Australia is out now, featuring detailed profiles of the research underway on coupled fire-atmosphere modelling and how to best upgrade older houses to withstand the rigours of extreme wind.
A SWIRLNet anemometer for measuring wind speed during Cyclone Nathan. Photo by CTS.
15 April, 2015
With a number of cyclones occurring in February and March, researchers from the Improving resilience of existing houses to severe wind events project at the Cyclone Testing Station at James Cook University have been hard at work in the field.
Queensland cyclone 2009_1
11 December, 2014
Researchers in the Improving the resilience of existing housing to severe wind events project are seeking the assistance of the construction industry to help them gather valuable data.
Year Type Citation
2017 Report Kloetzke, T. et al. Severe wind hazard preliminary assessment: Tropical Cyclone Debbie, Whitsunday Coast, Queensland, Australia. (James Cook University, 2017). at <https://www.jcu.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/422951/TC-Debbie-Rapid-Assessment-Report_v8.pdf>
2017 Report Boughton, G. N. et al. Tropical Cyclone Debbie: damage to buildings in the Whitsunday Region. Technical report (James Cook University, Cyclone Testing Station) (James Cook University, 2017). at <https://www.jcu.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/461178/TC-Debbie-report.pdf>
2017 Report Henderson, D. et al. Improving the resilience of housing to severe wind events: annual project report 2016-17. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
2016 Conference Paper Rumsewicz, M. Research proceedings from the 2016 Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC conference. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC annual conference 2016 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2016 Conference Paper Harwood, J., Smith, D. J. & Henderson, D. Building community cyclone resilience through academic and community partnership. AFAC16 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2016 Journal Article Satheeskumar, N., Henderson, D. J., Ginger, J. D. & Wang, C. H. Wind uplift strength capacity variation in roof-to-wall connections of timber-framed houses. Journal of Architectural Engineering 22, (2016).
2016 Journal Article Leitch, C. J., Ginger, J. D. & Holmes, J. D. Wind loads on solar panels mounted parallel to pitched roofs, and acting on the underlying roof. Wind and Structures 22, 307-328 (2016).
2016 Journal Article Smith, D., McShane, C., Swinbourne, A. & Henderson, D. Towards effective mitigation strategies for severe wind events. The Australian Journal of Emergency Management 31, (2016).
2016 Report Smith, D. et al. Improving the resilience of existing housing to severe wind events: Annual project report 2015-2016. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2015 Conference Paper Rumsewicz, M. Research proceedings from the 2015 Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC conference. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC annual conference 2015 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2015).
2015 Conference Paper Henderson, D. & Ginger, J. D. Improving the Resilience of Existing Housing to Severe Wind Events Conference Paper 2014. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC Wellington Conference 2014 (2015).
2015 Journal Article Smith, D., Henderson, D. & Terza, L. M. Modelling cyclone loss mitigation using claims analysis. (2015).
2015 Journal Article Smith, D., Roueche, D., Thompson, A. P. & Prevatt, D. O. A vulnerability assessment tool for residential structures and extreme wind events. (2015).
2015 Report Henderson, D. Improving the Resilience of Existing Housing to Severe Wind Events Annual Report 2014. (2015).
2015 Report Smith, D., Henderson, D. J., Ginger, J. D. & Wehner, M. Improving the resilience of existing housing to severe wind events: Annual project report 2014-2015. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2015).
2014 Journal Article Smith, D., Masters, F. J. & Gurley, K. R. An historical perspective on the wind resistance of clay and concrete roofing tiles. RCI Interface 32, 22-35 (2014).
Improving the resilience of existing housing to severe wind events
25 Aug 2014

Typically, older houses do not offer the same level of performance and protection during windstorms as houses constructed to contemporary building standards. 

Key Topics:
Improving the Resilience of Existing Housing to Severe Wind Events
18 Aug 2015

Many of us live in homes with vulnerabilities that contribute to community wind risk. This project aims to investigate windstorm risk mitigation by: (A) Developing vulnerability models for structural strength of housing from field and laboratory observations, and (B) Evaluating potential upgrading and retrofitting solutions for residential structures.

Download:
Daniel Smith Conference Poster 2016
12 Aug 2016

Many of us live in homes with vulnerabilities that contribute to community wind risk.

Key Topics:
Mitchell Humphreys Conference Poster 2016
12 Aug 2016

Internal pressures can contribute to a large portion of the net wind load on a building.

Key Topics:
Improving the resilience of existing housing to severe wind events
29 Jun 2017

This project aims to investigate windstorm risk mitigation by: (a) developing vulnerability models for structural strength of housing from field and laboratory observations and (b) evaluating potential upgrading and retrofitting solutions for residential structures.

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