Cyclone Testing Station
The Cyclone Testing Station (CTS) is the pre-eminent independent authority on the performance of buildings in severe wind events. CTS is located at James Cook University in Townsville and focuses primarily on the performance of houses and other low rise buildings in Australia and the surrounding region. Activities include investigations after wind events as well as research, testing and community education, aimed at ensuring that buildings designed to resist severe wind events are safe, economical and sustainable.
CTS wishes to thank its benefactors and sponsors for their ongoing support of its activities. Click here for a list of CTS Benefactors and Sponsors.
The Cyclone Testing Station sent a team led by Geoff Boughton to the region affected by Cyclone Olwyn to conduct a damage investigation, including a comparison to what was observed in the same region in Cyclone Vance 16 years ago. This investigation also followed up on reports of significant levels of water ingress. A report on this investigation is available on the "Publications" page.
A recent article "Weak links let down strong buildings" published in Engineers Australia April 2015, reports on the CTS damage investigation following Cyclone Marcia covering both old and new construction. It quotes CTS Director David Henderson saying “We have seen significant failures of building components and unacceptable consequences at wind speeds much less than the design wind speed”. Click here to read the full Engineers Australia article.
A CTS team deployed 6 SWIRLNet anemometers in and around Cooktown, in preparation for Cyclone Nathan which crossed the coast north of Cooktown early on 20th March 2015. All anemometers operated successfully during the event. Based on the wind speeds in the community and an initial assessment of damage, CTS did not conduct a more comprehensive damage investigation following Cyclone Nathan.
Recent CTS damage investigations have highlighted problems with flashing details on buildings, leading to water ingress and often significant internal damage. The house on the left has lost a flashing on the windward wall. The house on the right illustrates the internal damage that can result from a lost flashing.
Roof flashings appear to be a particular problem but issues have also been identified with poor flashing detail around doors and windows.The issues are not isolated to one state or local area, with flashing problems observed after Cyclone Marcia in Queensland and after Cyclone Olwyn in Western Australia.
The Cyclone Testing Station recommends that suppliers of flashing materials and suppliers of materials that require flashing ensure that proposed detailing has been fully documented and properly evaluated and that clear and detailed installation literature is readily available. It is also recommends that any documentation indicates whether the proposed flashing detail is adequate for cyclonic areas.
The Cyclone Testing Station further recommends that designers, specifiers, builders and certifiers pay particular attention to flashing detail, to ensure that what is otherwise quality construction is not compromised by poor flashing detail.