Strong-Ties for a Sure House

How we are working to resist the forces of storms and floods

Simpson Strong-Tie released its Flood-Resistant Construction Guide as a resource for installing the company's connector products in flood-prone regions. The Guide has proven to be a critical reference for the SURE HOUSE team as we work to design and build our flood-resilient, solar powered home.

As the 2015 hurricane season begins, we want to share how our sponsor, Simpson Strong-Tie, is working with Stevens Institute of Technology to help SURE HOUSE resist Jersey Shore storm and flood damage. For more than 55 years, Simpson Strong-Tie has focused on creating structural products that help people build safer and stronger homes and buildings. Considered a leader in structural systems research, testing and innovation, the company is one of the largest suppliers of structural building products in the world. They are also a key supporter of the SURE HOUSE team.

SURE HOUSE students reached out to Simpson Strong-Tie after hearing that the company was instrumental in helping repair Jersey Shore boardwalks in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. They were extremely responsive. Simpson Strong-Tie has supplied the SURE HOUSE with unique hardware appropriate to the shore, and has offered advice on designing for high-wind and storm events. Their stainless steel structural ties, hangers and fasteners are what enables the deck, floor and roof of our home to remain anchored during storms while also resisting the every-day, highly corrosive coastal atmosphere along the shore.

Outdoor Space

SURE HOUSE has 1,000 square feet of interior space matched by 1,000 square feet of beautiful exterior deck. Our deck framing, fasteners and anchoring are all designed to meet both California’s strict seismic regulations, as well as New Jersey’s challenging coastal environment.

Structural Plans

Our structural engineers have worked closely with Simpson Strong-Tie to best leverage their products to maximize the resiliency of SURE HOUSE.

Stainless Steel Strength

It’s critical to specify the correct materials when designing for the shore. The Simpson Strong-Tie Type 316 stainless-steel deck hangers and fasteners are incredibly resilient to the highly corrosive coastal environment and are compliant with the International Building Code® (IBC2012-2304.9.5) and the International Residential Code® (ICR2012-R317.3) for use on exterior treated lumber.

Modular Construction

Since the SURE HOUSE has to be disassembled and reassembled by the student team, the design of the home and surrounding deck has been done in a modular fashion. This allows multiple construction sequences to happen simultaneously, reducing our construction and assembly time significantly.

Wall to Floor Construction

When the SURE HOUSE gets installed on the Jersey shore with its final foundations (temporary construction footings shown here), the floor will be rigidly anchored to the ground. Simpson Strong-Tie steel strapping goes from the stud wall to the floor. When combined with structural sheathing, it creates a frame capable of resisting the uplift forces from wind and floods, as well as sideways pressure from flood waters or earthquake events.

Roof to Wall Anchoring

Our roof then gets anchored to the walls with Simpson Strong-Tie H8 hurricane ties at each joist, ensuring that everything stays intact even under intense wind pressures common during storms. When using I-Joist wood framing, wood blocking is installed along the side of the joist. The hurricane clips extend up and fasten through to the web, not just to the bottom cord, giving us an extremely high-strength connection. For more on high-wind construction with I-Joists, see Weyerhauser’s Technical Bulletin TB-125 for Uplift Connections. For more on the unique challenges of hurricane-resistant coastal design and construction, refer to FEMA's 4th edition of the Coastal Construction Manual for Residential Buildings.

Thanks!

Thanks to Simpson Strong-Tie for their support of the Stevens Institute of Technology SURE HOUSE project.Jeffrey Vock