KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Jim Sands said it's hard to believe construction of all-concrete homes -- including the roofs -- has not caught on in Florida, especially after the hurricanes of recent years.
All-concrete homes are fairly rare in the Sunshine State, despite being somewhat common in Puerto Rico and other places, according to Sands, who told Local 6 News partner Florida Today that he built about 2,000 of them in Puerto Rico in the 1960s and 1970s, and has since built some in Florida.
To prove his point, Sands, a homebuilder now based in Kissimmee, on Thursday poured the concrete roof of an all-concrete house his company, James A. Sands & Associates, is building in Orlando for a buyer.
The three-bedroom, two-bathroom house costs about $175,000, which Sands said is about the same price it would have cost to build the house with a wood frame. In addition, the all-concrete house has a regular A-frame roof, not a flat roof.
He said his all-concrete house can withstand the winds of the strongest hurricane -- and can handle tornadoes as well, capable of taking on 300-mph winds.
The Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program, a service that provides technical assistance to small businesses, and the Brevard County-based Technological Research and Development Authority, an agency that helps technology-based companies develop, confirmed that Sands' house can withstand winds up to 300 mph.
"That's gives me credibility," Sands said.
In this case, the Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program turned to Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., and Goodarz Ahmadi, an expert in the use of what's known as computational fluid dynamics or CFD.
"CFD is the use of very powerful computers to simulate the flow of liquids or gases through or around some object," said Ahmadi, who has used the technique to help NASA better understand the operation of the space shuttle main engine.
With the help of graduate students, Ahmadi said it was a relatively straightforward exercise to take one of Sands' home designs and model it for the computer, then subject it to a simulation of 300-mph winds and see what happens.
When all the numbers were crunched and the analys was complete, the engineers had shown that the weight and strength of an all-concrete home, including its roof, could more than stand up to the positive and negative pressures from a hurricane or tornado, he said.
"It was a very interesting project," Ahmadi said.
Link to story from Local6 Orlando