Cameron Parish Residents and LSU AgCenter Agents Share Construction Knowledge

Cynthia C. Richard, Attaway, Denise, Moore, David  |  9/14/2007 8:45:08 PM

CAMERON – Cameron Parish residents shared their knowledge of building safer, stronger and smarter with others during a Cameron Parish Tour of Homes hosted by the LSU AgCenter.

The tour, held Sept. 23, included three homes that have been built to meet hurricane resistance requirements of the new residential building code, which took effect in March 2006 for coastal parishes, and statewide Jan. 1, 2007.

One home on the tour – owned by Bryon “Goose” and Carla Richard – is an elevated structure that replaces the original ground-level house.

The house sits on ten-by-ten wood pilings 8 feet above the ground. The pilings are wrapped with brick veneer to match the overall contemporary look of the house. The veneer is used for decorative purposes only and does not provide any support.

“This is inherited property,” Bryon Richard said. “We’ve lived here all of our lives. We couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. We never had any doubt we wouldn’t rebuild. We just had to figure out how.”

Another home on the tour, owned by Margaret Jones, is an elevated two-story structure utilizing cement-fiber siding, composite deck boards, stair treads, vinyl porch railings and energy-saving features. The Jones house is built on 36 wood pilings. The 20-foot pilings were driven into the ground 10 feet and are surrounded by a collar of concrete 24 inches in diameter to a depth of 5 feet. The pilings are connected to the concrete collar and slab with a reinforcing bar.

Like the Richards, Jones lived in a ground-level home before Hurricane Rita. Jones said she too couldn’t think of living anywhere else.

“I decided that even if I had to build an elevated structure to come back, I’d do it,” she said. “My new house is elevated, and I love it.”

A third house – owned by Karen and Thompson “Thomp” McCall – is supported by concrete pilings tied together by a grade beam. The pilings are topped with an integrated slab.

In the McCall house, two water heaters operating in zones provide energy savings. The windows are made of UV-resistant glass, which minimizes heat transmitted by sunlight.

Thanks to the elevated design of their home, the McCall family enjoys lower flood insurance premiums and increased homeowner’s coverage for about the same premium cost.

Hurricanes are common occurrences in South Louisiana. Because of this, LSU AgCenter agents are helping people living in this area of the state learn how to build homes that will stand up to the high winds and floods that often accompany hurricanes.

Cynthia Richard, the LSU AgCenter agent who organized the home tour, said she and other agents want to show the public they can live in coastal regions as long as they build safer, stronger and smarter.
 
“The LSU AgCenter has information that can help consumers can learn about proper elevation techniques for building in flood-hazard areas," Richard said. "They can attend events such as the Tour of Homes, logon to our website, or visit an LSU AgCenter parish office to get this information."


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