The official 2020 hurricane season begins in just two days. NOAA forecasts a 60% likelihood of an above-average season. As reported in the Washington Post earlier this month, the 2020 season has a “70% chance of 13 to 19 named storms, six to 10 of which will become hurricanes. Three to six of those could become major hurricanes of Category 3 intensity or higher, and there is a chance that the season will become ‘extremely active’.” In the Caribbean, this reality must be coupled with earthquakes, like the ones Puerto Rico has endured for most of 2020.
There is only one building material that can fully resist both hurricanes and earthquakes: STEEL! (Full disclosure: I do not own any steel-related stocks, except an investment in HabiTek, LLC). In April 2017, The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) published “The Impact of Material Selection on the Resilience of Buildings,” which discusses why steel far exceeds wood and concrete in strength. It is a must read for anyone involved in rebuilding. Also review the benefits of the HabiTek system to learn how we apply the natural strength of steel.
Unfortunately, very little steel is used in the Caribbean region as a building material. This is in contrast to most other parts of the world, even most other developing countries. Ironically, the Caribbean has a greater need for steel than anywhere else in the world because of the threat of hurricanes and earthquakes.
I propose that this be changed. Given a supporting environment (business-wise and with enthusiastic partners: architects, engineers, builders, craftspeople, and those already familiar with steel), HabiTek is proposing that a HABITEK FULFILLMENT CENTER be established in Puerto Rico. With a local partner who would license our technology, this could become the start of a vibrant new industry in Puerto Rico, and expand on the steel fabrication capability already in place. This local entity could even export steel framing components to other islands devastated by the recent rash of major hurricanes: Irma, Maria and Dorian.
Establishing a HabiTek Fulfillment Center would be a challenge, but quite doable. Even an estimated budget estimated around $2m is quite reasonable compared to the billions lost in Puerto Rico alone from natural disasters. Investing in permanent “transformational” houses that can withstand major hurricanes and earthquakes, would be a very smart thing to do and would provide many benefits beyond long-term cost savings.
I will expand and elaborate on implementation strategies for a HabiTek Fulfillment Center in future blog posts.