Gulf Shores, Ala.-based Defender Technologies, LLC has introduced a patented building system that can withstand winds as high as 200 mph, minimizing damage from hurricanes and tornados. PermaStrong utilizes pre-fabricated fiber cement wall forms, rebar and a concrete fill assembly, providing superior structural strength, faster construction, and reduced labor costs.
PermaStrong wall forms are assembled off-site and then transported to the project site, where they are positioned and locked in place with rebar. Once in position, the wall forms are then filled with a concrete or grout mix. The wall section remains with the dried concrete for the life of the building, unlike other wall forms that need to be removed from the concrete after it dries.
“We believe PermaStrong is a superior alternative to traditional building structures that have either been damaged extensively and failed to withstand the tremendous destruction caused by Hurricanes Sandy, Harvey and Irma,” says Paul Cheek, spokesperson and consultant for Defender Technologies. “We not only see this system being used in the construction of new buildings, but also the rebuilding of homes, schools, commercial space and office buildings. We also anticipate that use of the PermaStrong building system in residential and commercial construction will lower insurance premiums for property owners.”
The manufacturer also notes that PermaStrong structures are resistant to fire, water and earthquakes, and can also withstand impacts when subjected to light ballistics.
WOOD VERSUS CONCRETE FRAME INSURANCE
A National Ready Mixed Concrete Association-commissioned study proves how builder’s risk (construction phase) and commercial property (occupancy phase) insurance rates, measured across a wide range of regions, trend lower for multifamily dwellings built of concrete versus wood.
In “Survey of Insurance Costs for Multifamily Buildings Constructed with Wood frames and Concrete,” Boston College’s Dr. Pieter VanderWerf and Nicholas Haidari obtained builder’s risk and commercial property insurance premium quotes for a reference building of combustible (wood-frame) and noncombustible (concrete) construction, located in Edgewater, N.J.; Towson, Md., Orlando, Fla., Dallas or Los Angeles. While the extent of savings for a concrete building varied widely for builder’s risk insurance quotes, it was within the range of 22-72 percent for all regions; for commercial property coverage, quoted savings were within the 14-65 percent range.
“This study validates what has long been the assumption when it comes to the hidden costs of certain types of buildings,” says Kevin Lawlor, a spokesperson for the NRMCA-led Build with Strength coalition of fire service professionals, engineers, architects, and industry experts committed to stronger building codes. “At a time when multifamily residential building fires are a seemingly common occurrence, concrete’s durability in the face of such threats has resulted in a marked difference in terms of insurance costs.
“Concrete buildings cost less to insure because they’re not going to combust, and they’re less prone to degradation over the lifespan of the structure,” he adds. “It’s only logical insurance rates would reflect that durability.”
Throughout 2017, Build with Strength members have tracked fires in multifamily complexes constructed from wood, including properties in Lakewood and Maplewood, N.J.; Dorchester, Haverhill, Lowell, Waltham and Weymouth, Mass; Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C.; Warner Robins, Ga.; Midvale, Utah; East Hollywood, Emeryville and Oakland, Calif.; Waterbury, Conn.; St. Petersburg, Fla.; Arlington, Va.; and, College Park, Md.