To Withstand Hurricanes a Home Goes Gold

Julie H. Case

When Team Rubicon hands the keys to a home on Houston’s Tampa Street back to the owner next Friday, they’ll be turning over gold. The house, which Team Rubicon rebuilt following damage from Hurricane Harvey, is the first home in Texas to earn a Fortified Hurricane Gold certification.

Developed by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), Fortified is a set of construction standards and methods designed to help homeowners build or renovate homes to strengthen them against natural hazards like hurricanes, high winds, hail, and severe thunderstorms. Fortified, as a methodology, does not significantly change the construction materials used in home builds, but largely adjusts build methods. The result is a home more resilient to natural disasters, and likely to experience significantly less damage if it is impacted. Team Rubicon adopted the Fortified methodology for the first time this summer. The home on Tampa Street is the organization’s first U.S. retrofit to employ the standards.

For Team Rubicon, the certification is proof-of-concept; evidence that it takes only a little more time, cost, and energy to build a more resilient home. For Jesse Thompson and family, it means that the next time Houston faces hurricane-strength winds, they can expect to keep a roof over their heads.

The Tampa Street home will be the 74th rebuild or retrofit completed in Houston by Team Rubicon since the program began in 2018. By year’s end, Team Rubicon expects to have returned 100 Texas families to their homes.

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