News Releases

Ontario's First Safer Living Home Completed

Feb 19, 2007
10:00am

    Sudbury Home Designed to Weather More Intense Storms

    SUDBURY, ON, Feb. 19 /CNW/ - Confronting the challenges of increasingly
destructive weather-related catastrophes will require new ways of doing
things. And that's exactly what the Designed...for safer living program is all
about. Today the program celebrated a milestone as Ontario's first safer
living home, designed to withstand winds of 200 km/hour, was completed in
Sudbury.
    The program is a partnership between the Institute for Catastrophic Loss
Reduction (ICLR) and the Canadian insurance industry. The construction of the
home to "better than building code" standards, which involved special building
material and methods from the foundation to the roof, was funded by The
Co-operators.
    "The cost of damage from natural disasters has doubled every five to
seven years since the 1960s, and more and more people are living in vulnerable
areas. This is an alarming trend that is not sustainable and must be
confronted," said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators and
member of the ICLR board of directors. "As an insurer, we see first-hand the
devastation wrought by natural disasters. It is incumbent upon us to do all we
can to promote safer living, and we hope this will encourage all stakeholders
to embrace safer standards."
    The house, which was insured by The Co-operators, had to be rebuilt from
the ground up after a fire destroyed the home. The new house was designed to
withstand the most hazardous weather conditions in the area - wind storms and
extreme winter weather. Special construction features include:

    -  Impact-resistant windows rated for high wind pressures;
    -  5/8" thick steel rods that anchor the floors together, including
       between the first floor to the foundation;
    -  Steel "hurricane clips" and bracing to secure the trusses to the
       framing, and braced gable ends to withstand high winds;
    -  Special shingles designed to meet 170 km/h standards, installed using
       additional nails and cement;
    -  Ice and water shield over the entire roof;
    -  Water-resistant sealing around windows and doors; and

    Many of the special features were imported from the United States, where
a similar program was developed several years ago by ICLR's sister
organization, the Institute for Business and Home Safety.
    "Canadians have a tradition of building strong homes, yet we have the
knowledge to build homes that are even more resilient to extreme weather
events that are increasing in frequency and severity," said ICLR executive
director, Paul Kovacs. "We need to harness that knowledge to build safer homes
for future generations of Canadians. This home will stand as a model as we
work to build more resilient homes and communities right across the country."
    In the months and years to come, additional safer living homes will be
rebuilt in various regions of Canada. The homes will be designed to be
resilient to the weather perils in that area, which may include earthquakes,
prairie wildfire, tornadoes and hail storms.

    About the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction:
    Established in 1998 by Canada's property and casualty insurers, ICLR is
an independent, not-for-profit research institute based in Toronto and at the
University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. ICLR is a centre of
excellence for disaster loss prevention research and education. ICLR's
research staff is internationally recognized for pioneering work in a number
of fields including wind and seismic engineering, atmospheric sciences, water
resources engineering and economics. Multi-disciplined research is a
foundation for ICLR's work to build communities more resilient to disasters.
Ongoing ICLR funding is provided by the insurance community, The University of
Western Ontario and a number of other partners.

    About The Co-operators:
    Based in Guelph, Ontario, Co-operators General Insurance Company is the
leading Canadian-owned multi-product insurance company. The company is part of
The Co-operators, a national group of companies owned by 34 Canadian
co-operatives and like-minded organizations, that offers insurance as well as
investment products and property development. An Imagine Caring Company, The
Co-operators is well known for its philanthropy and community involvement.

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information: Leonard Sharman, The Co-operators,
1-877-795-7272, ext. 2707, cell: (519) 820-4133; Glenn McGillivray, ICLR,
(416) 277-5827

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