Moore City Council takes historic step in bolstering homes

Moore, Oklahoma is now the first city in the nation to adopt a building code that addresses a range of tornado effects on homes.
by Jane Glenn Cannon Published: March 17, 2014
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In an historic move, Moore City Council members Monday night unanimously approved new, stringent residential building standards to strengthen homes against tornadoes.

The council OK’ed 14 proposed changes in the residential building code, including requiring hurricane clips or framing anchors, continuous plywood bracing and windresistant garage doors, and fortifying homes to withstand winds up to 135 miles per hour.

With the changes, Moore becomes the first U.S. city to adopt a building code that addresses a range of tornado effects on homes.

Moore has been devastated by deadly EF5 tornadoes not once, but twice. The city still is recovering from the May 20 tornado, but still fresh in the memory of many is the devastation from the May 3, 1999, tornado.

Houses built according to the proposed code still would not hold up to a direct hit from an EF5 tornado, such as the one that caused major damage May 20. But the improvements would protect a home and its residents in a lesser storm, and possibly even those on the fringes of an EF5, Mayor Glenn Lewis said.

“We have seen from this tornado, progressive construction techniques that can survive strong winds. We can learn from this devastating event to build stronger homes and neighborhoods across the United States — and it starts in Moore,” Lewis said.

The changes approved Monday night go well above the national standards set by the National Association of Home Builders.

The council hopes the standards will serve as a model for other cities, particularly those vulnerable to tornadoes.

Recommendations

A more stringent building code also can help the city’s image if home builders are able to promote “safer” homes, homebuilder Marvin Haworth said.

Haworth was a member of a committee tasked with developing the recommendations. Also on the committee were city councilors, representatives of the Moore Home Builders Association, residents, and civil engineers Chris Ramseyer and Lisa Holliday.


by Jane Glenn Cannon
Senior Reporter
A native of Oklahoma, Jane Glenn Cannon is an award-winning reporter who has covered everything from crime, courts and government to entertainment and features. She wrote a popular personal column for many years. She is a former associate writer...
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