Getting your home ready for cyclone season


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Getting your home ready for cyclone season

Getting your home ready for cyclone season

If you live in an area that is prone to tropical cyclones, it's important to ensure your home can withstand extreme cyclonic weather. Here are a few tips on how you can get your house ready for the cyclone season.

In Australia, we often experience extreme weather events that can threaten our families and homes. While you can't control the weather, you can control the design and condition of your home, reducing the likelihood of irreparable damage to your property during a cyclone.

You can reduce the likelihood of damage to your property by being prepared and making improvements to your home where necessary.

Although new houses constructed in cyclone prone regions are built in accordance with standards for the design and construction of houses to withstand cyclonesi, there is more you can do to prepare your home for the cyclone season.

It's never too late to prepare

Emergency Management Queensland, the agency tasked by the Queensland government with managing the State Emergency Service (SES), has created a 'Prepared Home Checklist' that provides a great starting point for homeowners preparing for cyclone seasonii. While this comprehensive checklist includes tasks that can be carried out closer to cyclone season, such as cleaning out gutters to allow water to drain away, there are a few maintenance and design issues that may take you much longer to address.

Get your home into shape

Over time, the condition of a house gradually deteriorates by exposure to the elements. Continual maintenance is important to ensure you are aware of any deterioration caused by exposure to wind, sun and rain. Checks of your property should be conducted well in advance of cyclone season. Look for signs of material deterioration throughout the property - check roof coverings and metal battens for rust, timber frames for rotting and termites, and all fixings for any potential loosenessiii. Replace any metal object that shows sign of rusting and tighten up any loose fixings. Installing and maintaining a termite barrier can help prevent termite infestation and the weakening of your house's structure.

You can have your roof inspected by a qualified building professional so they can advise you as to whether you have appropriate roof-to-wall connections in place to avoid roof upliftingiii. They may advise you to upgrade your roofing to meet current building standards. While this may require an investment, it could potentially save thousands of dollars of damage when a cyclone hits.

Lastly, check that your windows and doors, including garage doors, are impact resistant and sufficient to withstand high wind speeds. To avoid damage to your garage doors, consider having a metal bracing system professionally installed behind all garage doors before cyclone season beginsiv.

Check that your windows and doors, including garage doors, are impact resistant and sufficient to withstand high wind speeds.

Learning from experience

The recent devastation of major cyclones in Australia has seen a number of innovative approaches to cyclone proofing brought to our shores from across the globe.

Traditionally, Australian homeowners have chosen to protect their windows and doors from cyclonic weather by installing expensive metal roller shutter systems or makeshift shutters made from plywoodv. Alternative and cheaper products derived from solutions used in wild weather prone regions of the US, such as resin-coated fabric window protection are now available in parts of Australiavi.

Tilt and turn style windows, which are common across Europe, are also now being marketed in Australia as cyclone resistant due to their ability to prevent water intrusionvii. The multi-point locking system of the tilt and turn window ensures that the window stays firmly locked into its frame when closed, with some designs available in Australia certified to withstand winds of up to 300km/hrviii - that's more than the average wind speed of a category 5 cycloneix.

Although there's no guarantee that your home will survive a cyclone without any damage, ongoing maintenance and adequate preparation is the best way to mitigate the risk of significant damage.


iMiller, W, 'How building codes save homes from cyclones, and how they don't, Brisbane Times, viewed 3 June 2014,
http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/how-building-codes-save-homes-from-cyclones-and-how-they-dont-20140415-36ock.html

iiQueensland Government, 'Prepare your home', viewed 3 June 2014,
http://www.emergency.qld.gov.au/emq/css/preparehome.asp

iiiQueensland & Western Australian Government, 'Cyclones… Is your house ready?', viewed 3 June 2014,
http://www.hpw.qld.gov.au/sitecollectiondocuments/newsflash-406-homeowners-guide.pdf

ivBita, N, 'Garage doors fail tempest test', The Australian, viewed 3 June 2014,
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/archive/in-depth/garage-doors-fail-tempest-test/story-fn7rj0ye-1226003990489

vCyclone Protection Australia, 'About Us', viewed 3 June 2014,
http://www.cycloneprotectionaustralia.com.au/about-us.html

viCyclone Protection Australia, 'Home', viewed 3 June 2014,
http://www.cycloneprotectionaustralia.com.au/

viiTitane Windows and Doors, 'Tilt and Turn UPVC double glazed windows', viewed 3 June 2014,
http://www.titaneupvcdoubleglazing.com.au/upvc-double-glazed-windows/tilt-and-turn-upvc-double-glazed-windows/

viiiSustainable Building Resources, 'Tilt Turn Window and Door Systems', viewed 3 June 2014,
http://www.sustainablebuildingresources.com.au/Windows%20info%20new.pdf

ixBureau of Meteorology, 'Tropical cyclone intensity and impacts', viewed 3 June 2014,
http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/about/intensity.shtml