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TOUGH NEW STANDARD CAN REDUCE WIND DAMAGE TO MOBILE HOMES

 WASHINGTON, June 30 /PRNewswire/ -- To better protect mobile homes and their occupants from devastating hurricanes, the federal government should adopt a tough wind standard developed by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
 "We can expect to see less property damage from future storms if this action is taken," Dr. Edward O. Pfrang, executive director of ASCE, said in testimony before a U.S. House subcommittee.
 ASCE, the oldest national civil engineering organization in the United States, represents more than 110,000 civil engineers.
 In the wake of widespread damage by Hurricane Andrew, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has proposed toughening design standards for mobile homes (also known as manufactured homes) in hurricane-prone areas.
 HUD is considering five standards, including ASCE 7-88.
 "The single most important step the federal government can take to improve the quality and safety of manufactured housing at a reasonable cost is for HUD to adopt ASCE 7-88," Pfrang told the House Subcommittee on Technology, Environment and Aviation.
 Owners and their families "should have a sense of safety and security about their home. The current (standard) is inadequate to give people that feeling of safety," Pfrang charged.
 A recent federal study called ASCE 7-88 the "consensus national standard," Pfrang pointed out.
 "ASCE 7-88 is based on sound scientific research; it encompasses the diverse hazards in wind zones throughout the US.; and scientists widely consider it the accepted national standard for high-wind zones," Pfrang said.
 The ASCE standard also gives mobile home makers flexibility when building new homes. "Manufactured home builders are free to innovate and apply new materials as long as they meet the performance standard," Pfrang said.
 "ASCE strongly supports HUD adoption of ASCE 7-88 as a solid step toward bridging the quality gap between manufactured and site-built homes," Pfrang said.
 Pfrang also called for strong congressional backing of programs to reduce future wind catastrophes, including:
 -- Systematic wind engineering research;
 -- Better adoption and enforcement of rigorous wind standards for new buildings;
 -- Federal support of local efforts to implement existing wind engineering knowledge;
 -- Passage of the Wind Engineering Research Program Act (H.R. 1107) to coordinate and finance federal efforts to reduce future wind damage.
 "A private-sector program to develop stronger construction materials also has great potential," Pfrang said.
 The Washington-based Civil Engineering Research Foundation is spearheading an effort to create and adopt new high-performance materials to strengthen the nation's public works infrastructure.
 "Many of these materials -- such as light and durable advanced composites -- could apply to mobile homes," Pfrang said.
 To best achieve higher standards of wind protection, however, HUD should adopt ASCE 7-88.
 "This design standard will vastly improve the performance of manufactured homes in severe wind storms," Pfrang said.
 -0- 6/30/93
 /CONTACT: James Quiggle, manager, public relations, American Society of Civil Engineers, 202-789-2200/


CO: American Society of Civil Engineers ST: District of Columbia IN: CST SU:

DC-KD -- DC024 -- 7216 06/30/93 13:46 EDT
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Date:Jun 30, 1993
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