Sign In, Renew, Sign Up

Search AIA

Search AIA Go

About The AIAPrograms & Initiatives

Page Tools

Reed Insight and Community

Advertisements

Checklist for Tornado/Hurricane Damaged Structure Inspection


After a structure has been damaged during any of the wind storms -- tornado, hurricane, or high winds -- look for the damage signs listed below and note any abnormal damage, different from the surrounding damage. Wear heavy shoes with high tops or boots, with thick soles and heavy socks; heavy pants; and a long-sleeved shirt or jacket. A hard hat is preferred.

Also bring:

* Flashlight
* The Damage Assessment Worksheet
* Drinking water/canteen, if required
* Pocket knife
* Ballpoint pen
* Ten-foot tape measure
* Cellular phone (if not available, use handheld CB radio and get local frequencies)
* Local telephone numbers

As you enter the structure, watch for low-hanging items and for holes in the floor. Large concentrations of fiberglass insulation may be present and pose a threat to the visitor. If electricity is connected, determine if the wires are "hot". Smell for natural gas leaks. DO NOT SMOKE ON THE SITE OR IN THE AREA. Do not rummage through the damaged structure, moving debris. Have the owner or owner's representative with you at all times.

WOOD FRAME STRUCTURE

EXTERIOR:

* Fence support broken at the ground or blown over
* Landscape damage, largest size broken limb, trunk to check against F scale
* Roof blown off or displaced (check wall-roof connection; sometimes it is not evident)
* Broken windows -- will indicate wind forces entering the building
* Brick blown off walls or in place
* Chimney and roof vent condition. May cause carbon monoxide poisoning if used in damaged condition
* Above-ground utility services -- connected or off

INTERIOR:

* Always look ahead and keep the exterior in sight
* Do not touch exposed electrical wires or lights
* Check wall-roof connections. Look for evidence of separation
* Check for diagonal fracture of wall surfaces, if rigid like gyp board
* Watch for spilled liquid in and near kitchens, bathrooms, and garages. Very dangerous!
* Look for loose structural items that might collapse. Always assume they will.
* Check stability of interior walls
* Check what happened to occupants if they were in the structure during the storm
* Check conditions of any basements, cellars, out buildings

OTHER TYPE STRUCTURES

All of the above, plus the following for the special structure:

Steel Frame or Load-Bearing Walls

* Bent frame
* Broken welds on beams and trusses and at connections
* Reverse-loaded steel beams and trusses
* Racking of the frame
* Wind bracing broken, bent
* Glass breakage
* In high-rise buildings, watch for frame twisting, offsets

Concrete Frame, Slab

* Gouges from columns and floor surfaces from impacts
* Cracks running parallel with reinforcing steel
* Splitting out of the rebars
* Column-slab juncture, condition. Watch for spalding of concrete
* Look for previous water damage and spalding

Note: Concrete structures are very good performers in wind storms. The veneers, glass, etc., not directly fastened to the concrete structure will usually be blown off.

Prepare report with owner or occupant. The person interviewed will be very talkative and want to tell you their story. Very important therapy for the person. Use your head!!

Turn in report to local office.

 

Footer Navigation

Copyright & Privacy

  • © The American Institute of Architects
  • Privacy