IBHS Chooses Odell Associates to Design World Class Disaster Research Facility
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IBHS Chooses Odell Associates to Design World Class Disaster Research Facility


TAMPA, FL – January 14, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — The Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) announced that Odell Associates Inc., based in Charlotte, NC, has been chosen to lead the architectural/engineering design team for its world class disaster research facility.

The facility, being built in Chester County, SC, should be complete in 2010. The primary purpose of this $27 million multi-peril research center is to identify effective methods of minimizing risk and loss to homes, businesses, and communities resulting from natural disasters.

The research facility will have the ability to subject 1,800 sq. ft., 2-story homes and light commercial construction to a variety of hazards, including realistic Category 3 hurricanes, wind-blown fire (mimicking wildfire embers), and hailstorms. WP Moore is the structural engineering firm on the project.

“Our lab will be a unique, state-of-the-art operation, and the main building will essentially be a big machine, so we were looking for function as well as form,” said Julie Rochman, IBHS President and CEO. “Our team met with several firms, but it was a unanimous decision that Odell Associates had the right innovators and expertise to help make this dream a reality.”

Odell Project Manager Richard Shulby said, “We are excited about working with IBHS on a project which will have such a profound impact on our industry. We plan to bring about the marriage of science and design in a facility which will function as the client intends, while incorporating the flexibility toallow for change as needs arise.”

According to Project Architect Tommy Dew, “This facility is first and foremost about science and research. We expect the facility to represent this. Materials and form will be industrial in nature. Our goal is to create something simple and clean to emphasize what’s happening on the inside of this amazing one-of-a-kind facility. We also want the facility to engage the rural nature of the site, to take advantage of views, orientation and prevailing winds, and to be a good neighbor with a welcoming front porch mentality.”

A two-track research program will allow IBHS to address catastrophes, as well as more isolated, but expensive, maintenance-related issues like plumbing system failure and interior fires. The research findings will be used in aggressive consumer education and advocacy campaigns, and to supply vital data for developing public policies in areas such as building codes and land use.

IBHS has been a leader in using building science to develop real-world approaches to reduce the risks posed by natural disasters and other perils. Events in recent years, including tornadoes, hurricanes and wildfires, have given IBHS researchers opportunities for field work, during which they have learned much about how to better engineer structures against certain risks. There remain, however, knowledge gaps that can be filled only with testing in controlled environments, which the new research center will provide.

For more information visit the IBHS Web site http://www.disastersafety.org/.


IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, scientific and educational organization supported by the property insurance industry. The organization works to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other risks to residential and commercial property by conducting research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparation practices.


Wendy Rose (813) 675-1045
(813) 486-8365
wrose (at) ibhs (dot) org


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