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Home Owners Rebuilding after CA Wildfires

Thursday, May 10, 2018

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Home owners in California’s wine country, where fires ripped through acres of land and homes last fall, are now starting to rebuild.

CBS San Francisco took a look at the building materials that residents are turning to: Insulated Concrete Forms.

The ICF systems are made from hollow blocks of fire-resistant foam and fitted with rebar. They’re then filled with concrete and covered in siding.

Some companies in California are going so far as to not only build a home’s walls with the material, but also roofs. And some say that they’re making money off the term “fireproof,” which they can’t legally claim.

“I’m encouraging people to call it highly fire-resistant, which it is,” said David Horobin, a partner at Estudio Verde Architects, a firm based in Napa. “If for some reason the house were to burn from the inside, there would be problems.”

Horobin noted that, even if the entire building is constructed out of ICF, other finishes or features, such as windows, could provide a way for fire to get in, and it also won’t help if a fire starts from inside the home.

Builders are also touting a savings in insurance costs, though a spokesperson from the Insurance Information Institute disputed that claim as well, saying home owners “might get a discount.”

Residents Rebuilding

Home owners deciding to rebuild in the first place, though, was something officials were afraid wouldn’t happen.

In total, 300 square miles of wildland and neighborhoods is said to have been ravaged by fire. At least 3,500 buildings were destroyed.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported in November that, according to residents and community leaders, it’s the residential building that’s going to be the hardest, as companies fear people will give up on wanting to live in that area, and will not rebuild.

“We have to do whatever we can to help people stay here, not leave,” said Willie Tamayo, vice president of La Tortilla Factory in Santa Rosa, who lost his home.

Former CEO of the International Code Council and former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency James Lee Witt was brought in by nonprofit Rebuild North Bay to lead the recovery efforts.

   

Tagged categories: concrete; Fire; Fireproofing; Good Technical Practice; North America; Residential Construction

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