CEA’s first seminar as hosts went better than I could have hoped. Many thanks to Tony and Mikkel as well as all who turned up. Many thanks also to the TTIA and APETT as well as Mark Raymond, who is teaching at UWI, they supported us wholeheartedly and made sure that we had a great mixed audience of engineers and architects at all levels from students to presidents. The Hilton Conference Center was a perfect setting and their team was perfectly professional, helpful and patient.
Several good design solutions to strengthening homes and protecting home occupiers were discussed such as; compartmentalisation using strong internal doors, a safe room with RC walls and ceiling, and an emergency escape hatch in the safe room between ground and 1st floors in low lying areas prone to flooding.
Connection design was identified as a key factor to the robustness of structures; bolted connections perform far better than screwed and nailed connections with the same amount of metal.
Hip roofs were confirmed as being statistically the better performing roof type in hurricanes.
Subsequently we have been exploring “breakwinds” with a similar designs as breakwaters to protect key buildings such as shelters, hospitals, police and fire stations.
We are also studying the feasibility of using fittings on roofs to break the laminar flow and so reduce the forces applied.
Finally we are studying the use of breakwaters to protect the low lying areas of SXM.
Thank you to our Clients who supported us in the darkest of times and helped keep our business running as a result. A special thanks in this regard to Roger Gordon at Catalyst and our neighbour Raymond Vialenc who gave us electricity for the first 6 weeks.
If you have any queries, comments or are interested in helping finding solutions to making SXM’s stronger please contact me by email, please do not hesitate to contact us at your convenience.
We are looking forward to hosting the next seminar where many more solutions will be discussed as well as the findings of our studies, new wind speed data and the progress on the rebuilding of SXM.
St Maarten and St Martin and Irma (Tony Gibbs)