New research by James Cook University’s Cyclone Testing Station has identified a simple and easy to install mitigation initiative could prevent major damage to homes caused by wind-driven water ingress.
The new report commissioned in partnership by Suncorp and IAG, analysed strata and house property claims from Tropical Cyclones Marcia and Debbie to investigate potential mitigation measures to make homes in North Queensland more resilient.
The report revealed 70 per cent of strata property claims examined included damage caused by water ingress, despite the majority of properties withstanding severe structural damage.
David Henderson from the Cyclone Testing Station said the insights are beneficial for everyone living in cyclone-prone areas.
“Wind-driven rain is likely to enter through weep holes or gaps around window seals or doors, under missing or damaged flashings and gutters, or through eaves – features relevant to all properties,” Mr Henderson said.
“The water damage was largely caused to plasterboard wall linings and ceilings, floor coverings, electricity wiring, cabinetry and personal items - damage ranged from two to 60 per cent of total claim costs.
“Of the residents who reported minimal or no water damage via windows, was inbuilt seals blocking weep holes, a useful learning for residents and the building sector.”
A Wind Driven Rain Simulator (WDRS) was used to mimic real life wind-driven rain conditions to determine the most cost-effective measures for home owners to reduce water ingress.
“After testing several solutions, we found a cheap and easy way for homeowners to fend off water coming in through windows and sliding doors - a strip of plastic sheet taped on the inside of the window. The plastic sheet increased the height of the window sill, caught the water and allowed it to drain via the weep holes,” Mr Henderson said.
Suncorp CEO Insurance, Gary Dransfield said the rain cyclones bring can be extreme and damaging to home and communities.