Faculty of EngineeringThe University of Western Ontario

The Three Little Pigs Research Project at
The Insurance Research Lab for Better Homes

Project Motivation

Around the world, tropical cyclones regularly provide vivid illustrations of the devastation that strong winds and rain can produce, in both developing and developed countries. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew hit south Florida, destroying 20,000 houses and causing US $30 billion in damage. If the storm had tracked 50 km further north, estimated damage would have exceeded US $100 billion. Canadian engineers are active in the US and other countries that experience extreme wind speeds (Japan, China, Caribbean) and our wind code provisions are influential in these countries. In Canada, severe windstorms tend to be more localized but still cause significant damage. In addition to rare events such as the Edmonton and Barrie tornadoes, or Hurricanes Hazel and Juan, there are also the severe east coast storms. The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) was created to minimize the effects of natural disasters by reducing vulnerability through mitigation efforts. This not only applies to the well-publicized rare events, but also to the myriad of less dramatic incidents in which houses and light frame buildings are damaged in preventable circumstances.

Wind damage to houses under construction in GTA
(Photo: M. Gilmor)