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This study assesses the wind performance of various housing typologies representing informal construction practices in Puerto Rico to suggest modifications to enhance housing resilience in hurricanes. Based on fieldwork and interviews, the study defined four base housing typologies and possible variations in design and construction details. Each house was assessed using performance-based static wind analysis of potentially critical components. The results show that the initial governing failure mode in all base house typologies considered is roof panel loss due to tear-through at the fasteners, with subsequent governing failures being panel loss due to failures at the purlin-to-truss connections and failures of the truss-to-wall connections. In-plane wall failures and masonry uplift failures were both found to occur at much higher wind speeds than roof failures. To improve the hurricane performance, several feasible modifications are suggested, including installing hurricane straps at both the truss-to-wall and the purlin-to-truss connections, as well as improving the panel-fastener interface. In the construction of new roofs, this study found that using reduced spacing between roof members, hip roofs instead of gable roofs, and higher roof slopes leads to improved performance. These recommendations can make houses built through informal construction processes safer and more resilient to hurricanes as a form of climate adaptation.

Lochhead, M., Goldwyn, B., Venable, C., Liel, A. B., & Javernick-Will, A. (2022). Assessment of hurricane wind performance and potential design modifications for informally constructed housing in Puerto Rico. Natural Hazards, 1-25.