Cut Nails, Cut Corners, Cut Lives
By Betty Fokker on May 20, 2014
You know why I am a proponent of Big Gubment? Because I like regulations that save lives, even when that shit is inconvenient. Red tape sucks, but people dying in a tornado because of slip-shod housing construction (possible because there is not enough regulation to make the builders do the right thing) sucks way harder.
Remember that hellish tornado outbreak on April 27-28 of 2014? The one in which “348 people were killed as a result of the outbreak, which includes 324 tornado-related deaths across six states. In addition, 24 fatalities were not caused by tornadoes, but were confirmed to be as a result of other thunderstorm-related events such as straight-line winds, hail, flash flooding or lightning. In Alabama alone, 238 tornado related deaths were confirmed by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) and the state's Emergency Management Agency.
Well, some of those deaths came about because of “glaring weak links” in building construction. "A weak link is a discontinuity in the load path, which runs from the building surface through the structural system to the foundation. Inadequate nailing of wood roof decking, marginal anchoring of roof structure to top of wall, discontinuity in the connection between first and second floor, and use of cut nails instead of anchor bolts to attach sill plate to foundation are examples of load path discontinuities."
Apparently anchor bolts are more pricey than cut nails and you can save some money if the mean ol’ gubment don’t make you use them. What value are human lives compared to money? Not much, sayeth Mammon!
Golly, if there were only some more stringent government standards to be met! But that would be tyranny! The tyranny of keeping a community safe, it seems.
In sum, “Using cut nails to secure homes to the foundation is widely practiced and the minimum standard in most of the building codes … according to Dr. David Prevatt, Associate Professor of Civil and Coastal Engineering at the University of Florida. As stated by Dr. Prevatt … "Bottom-line - we either build them (our houses) stronger or communities must accept that certain number of homes randomly selected by nature's wrath, will be blown away and kill people in every moderately strong tornado for the foreseeable future."
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