Environmental loads, such as wind, have a critical impact on the structural design and assessment of buildings and infrastructures. Climate change and extreme climatic events are threats to the reliability and safety of the built environment. “This has led to a growing demand to investigate the resilience of our structures under extreme climate conditions,” says Dr. Kamyab Zandi M.Sc., Ph.D., Docent, Senior Associate, Civil/Structural & Building Science. Over the last decade, many structures have been damaged and failed due to extreme weather conditions, such as British Columbia’s flood of floods in November 2021, and the intense windstorm Southern Ontario and Quebec experienced on May 21, 2022.
The wind speed that recently swept across Southern Ontario and Quebec reportedly reached more than 130 kilometres an hour. Even though structures are designed to resist such impacts, regular inspection and maintenance of structural components minimizes the risk of exacerbating existing issues. Rakan Jaber, M.Eng., Associate, Civil/Structural & Building Science, outlines some of the measures that can be taken to mitigate the risk of such extreme weather events:
- Regular inspections of your building can help to identify any loose or missing building material on walls and roofs. Wind pressure increases with height, so structural elements at higher levels must be carefully inspected in order to sustain wind loads. A building must also resist both compression and tension, so structural elements must be well secured.
- If your building is located in an area known to have severe and frequent storms, install storm shutters or other semi-permanent wind protection.
- Watch for dead trees or brittle tree branches in the vicinity of your building. Cut down dead trees and trim risky tree branches that may break off during a storm.
- Store vehicles and yard items in a garage space.
- Keep an eye on storm alerts /forecasts and prepare a disaster/emergency kit as necessary.
When a major CAT loss does occur, our team understands that a timely response is critical. The 30 Forensic Engineering Civil/Structural team is comprised of highly-skilled and diverse experts with extensive technical expertise and hands-on experience in the commercial, residential and industrial sectors. Our multidisciplinary team is able to immediately support remediation efforts through the assessment of structural integrity, structural analysis, building science, code and standards assessments, and professional consultation.
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