New Modular Housing Offers Storm Resistant Homes

An Australian company known as "Force 10" has developed a type of modular housing that is hurricane, cyclone, earthquake, and fire resistant. After building in 30 countries, it has a pretty good track record.

Simon Willis is Vice President of Business Relations for Force 10 USA. He says, "We've built probably world-wide, over 5,000 of these homes in the last few years, and not one has been lost to the elements at all."

A galvenized steel frame wrapped in hardy board, enables the home to withstand incredible wind speeds of up to 185 miles an hour. According to state representative Michael Janus, that's good news for coast residents looking to build back stronger, and faster.

"I'm pretty excited. Obviously, as you know if you look at the numbers, 70,000 homes were destroyed from Katrina. We still have 35,000 people living in FEMA trailers. In a good year, we build about 1500 homes in the gulf coast, so obviously it would take many, many years to get people back in their homes."

Janus does some private consulting work in Australia. That's how he first learned about Force 10 Homes. Now, he's partnering with others to bring the company to Biloxi.

"And as the construction goes on we encourage people to drive by and watch, because really in about three weeks this is going to go from what you see today, to a house that's roughed in," says Janus.

The finished product will be an example for coast residents, of the new affordable and durable modular housing.

A roughed in home would cost about 70 dollars a square foot. That wouldn't include plumbing or electrical. By the way, some of these homes are already built in Hawaii and the Virgin Islands. Those homeonwers get up to 50 percent in insurance reductions, because their homes are so strong. Also, FORCE 10 hopes to build a manufacturing plant right here in south Mississippi. It would be the first in the U.S.