Built to last

Having suffered severe loss of property and possessions at the hands of Hurricane Ivan, the September 2004 Cat 4/5 hurricane that wreaked havoc on Grand Cayman, Lindsay Scott, owner of LAS Development decided that he did not ever want to go through such an experience again and was therefore galvanised into building a home for himself and his family that would be as resistant to the forces of nature as a building could possibly be. Business Editor Lindsey Turnbull documents the evolution of his South Sound home.

Lindsay Scott’s new home in South Sound will be a safe haven for himself, his family and his friends, should severe forces of nature, be they hurricanes or earthquakes, threaten the Island.
“I’m constructing this home for peace of mind,” he says. “Since Hurricane Ivan it was a fast learning curve for all of us. Thankfully, in the years that have gone by technology and building materials have improved considerably thus ensuring we can now produce homes that are as about as secure as you can make.”
Scott says he spent a considerable amount of time researching the best possible products and materials for his home construction project and is delighted to be able to bring these to Cayman.
“Although a number of products and materials are new to Cayman they have been around for some time elsewhere in the world. It is fantastic that we are now able to access these here because each improvement together adds up to equaling a safe and secure home that is also cost effective in terms of running costs,” he explains.
A key first move in the planning stage was to ensure that the property was elevated on pillars.
“You just have to look at how other oceanfront properties around the world are constructed,” he confirms. “Building up high makes sense when it comes to protecting properties from storm surge, which was a huge problem with Ivan.”
Scott believes that his home will be well protected from flooding, having the first floor located at 16 feet above sea level.

Starting with the basics
Next Scott looked at the materials used in actually constructing hurricane proof homes in the States. As well as being an incredibly strong material for constructing homes, insulated concrete forms are used in cold locations such as Canada to insulate homes from the weather and conversely do just as good a job as keeping homes cool in tropical locations, he informs.
He says: “The late Frank Banks and I looked at bringing this type of material to Cayman when we first began designing his home in South Sound (the first home in Cayman to be fully solar powered). We were amazed at the strength of the material and used it to build his home.” 
Scott has also ensured that the steel used to reinforce the concrete is of a superior quality, which even allows for the building to sway should an earthquake hit.

No detail overlooked
Having strongly built walls is all well and good, but a building is only as strong as its windows, doors and roof, so Scott says he took equal care in choosing the right materials for the job.
“I really did not want to have to worry about hurricane shutters,” he explains. They always need proper maintenance and as I’m three storeys up starting at 16 feet about sea level it would be a pain to get them installed every time a hurricane was nearing.”
He therefore decided to install Tiltco hurricane proof windows from Windoworld.  These windows provide hurricane protection and also allow you to see outside your home during the storm.  They also, as the name suggests, allow you to tilt the windows to allow a breeze in.
“They are incredibly strong and able to withstand winds of 165 mph. They are bolted directly into the solid concrete wall openings around each window opening, so they are not moving anywhere soon!” he confirms. 
Roof damage was a major contributor to the severity of the damage suffered by home owners after Hurricane Ivan. Scott has therefore been extra cautious, with a hurricane strap embedded in every rafter of his new home. The straps were also embedded into the concrete of the walls while the concrete was wet, rather than the traditional method of drilling holes into the concrete once it is set. Each strap is wrapped up and around the rafters for added security.
“We’ve even used more clips to secure the straps than is currently required,” he adds.

Scott believes that the strength of any roof is in the quality of the plywood used in its construction.
“Half inch plywood is generally used for such purposes; however we’ve been extra careful and used three quarter inch, to be on the safe side,” he states.

Next month read about the many features in Scott’s new home that will create a home that’s built to last.