Continuous Load Path vs. Tornado and Hurricane Force Winds

I was first introduced to the concept of Continuous Load Path (CLP) in the late 1990's when I was still in the building trades; predominately as a framing carpenter foreman in Phoenix, Arizona.  Local municipalities were adopting the practices and with good reason.  Between tornadoes (yes, even in the Sonoran Desert) and thunderstorms capable of producing micro-bursts and straight line winds in excess of 100 mph; especially during the summer monsoons; counties, cities and towns were taking action. 

When I began home inspecting on new construction here in Texas and knowing the history of higher incidences of tornadoes and the risk of hurricane force winds, I was surprised at the lack of requiring CLP building principles and use of the components & hardware in the local building industry.  As the map below illustrates, Texas is in a windier and higher risk area than Arizona.  

wind zone map.jpg

During the course of my verbal reports to my clients extolling the virtues of CLP, I often get a glazed over look in their eyes and with due reason.  Much of the concept sounds like Greek.  But when talking to representatives in the building industry, I get much the same look (not good - they should know better) or I'll get the brush off 'we're not required to do that' spiel.  I tend to differ.

Here is a great video that explains the concept with spectacular footage and benefits of the method of construction CLP 'for pennies on the dollar'.

And more great stuff here from the Simpson Strong-Tie company.

With the recent tornado and hurricane damage suffered by Texas residents and continued risk of these high velocity storms, I think it would behoove cities, counties and builders to consider implementing the principles and components into new construction.  If you're a buyer, consider making your home purchase dependent on these principles, or at least insist on the builder to install them.  We all want a better and safer home and we can do this by raising awareness in our own unique ways.

Have a great day!