Courtesy of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety
The roof of the building made of common materials showed significant damage from 73-mph gusts.

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety conducted the first side-by-side, high-speed-wind performance test of two full-scale, commercial-style buildings on July 17. The strip-mall-type structures were built at the IBHS storm simulation lab in Richburg, S.C., for the test, one using common construction practices and the other using wind-resistant ones that cost about 5% more. The stronger building was largely undamaged, except for a window broken by a 2 x 4 shot through it to simulate the impact of a broken branch. A window in the "common" building was shattered the same way "to make it a fair fight," says a spokesman. On the weaker building, roof flashing began to peel in a 73-mph gust, and a roll-up door blew in during a 115-mph gust. The walls survived a 136-mph gust, but after the window broke, the roof separated and a wall blew out in a gust of 115 mph.