Weather is referred to as the short-term condition in the atmosphere that changes over time—temperature, humidity, precipitation, cold, etc. are the few conditions of the weather. The atmospheric conditions that influence the weather are mostly fluctuating, and so is the weather. It’s strange how the conditions of the weather affect us, our lifestyle and our psychology in so many ways. But today, we are here to show light on how it happens with the envelopes we choose to live in. As the name suggests, let’s learn about how extreme weather conditions affect the durability of the structure by looking at some of the factors listed below:

How Do Extreme Weather Conditions Affect the Durability of Buildings? - Sheet1
Changing Weather_goweatherforecast.com

Wind

How Do Extreme Weather Conditions Affect the Durability of Buildings? - Sheet2
wind affecting buildings_windcrane.com

Extreme wind/wind pressure can cause two conditions: Racking occurs when the high wind pressure does not hit the surfaces of the house squarely. The structures are framed such that they withstand the racking force, but extremely high winds have a high possibility of tearing shingles off the roof. It develops when the rapidly moving wind pressure creates an area of low pressure on the leeward side of the roof slope, walls, and inside the house. The home’s internal pressure can push the structural elements towards the outside. It should be taken care that the construction materials are installed with the utmost care and maintained with the utmost alertness and safety to avoid damaging the structure.

Rain

How Do Extreme Weather Conditions Affect the Durability of Buildings? - Sheet3
rain affecting the building_istockphoto.com

As appealing as having the most creative-looking structures in town may sound, the more vulnerable they are if the joints are not properly sealed. The joining of two surfaces is the most vulnerable portion to water penetration if not concealed properly and maintained. The rain can majorly damage any structure in two main areas: First, skylights, the installation of chimneys, and plumbing vents create penetrations in the roof, which get concealed with caulk, flashing, and roof cement. All sealing methods eventually expand, dry out, and get washed away. Hence, the inspection of the ceiling material must be conducted annually, repaired, and replaced to prevent water damage. The second is the foundation of the structure. The stability of the structure depends on the ability of the soil to absorb rain. When soil becomes saturated and can no longer absorb and drain water, it can lead to leaks around the basement and crawl spaces; in extreme cases, it can also cause the foundation to shift. Home builders construct homes so they can stand up to soil conditions in their particular region.

Snow

How Do Extreme Weather Conditions Affect the Durability of Buildings? - Sheet4
impact of snow on structures_designhaus.com

The snow weight is always considered during the design of a structure. Light snow weighs, on average, about 10–15 pounds per cubic foot. Heavyweight snow can weigh up to 40-50 pounds per cubic foot. The building codes in some areas of the country require as much as 400 pounds per square foot (equivalent to 6 feet of water level on the roof). The structures are designed to withstand the weight of the snow to eliminate cracking, sagging, and collapsing roofs.

The sun and heat

effect of sun and heat_keflatwork.com

The heat from the sun is another natural force that is widely considered when choosing the building materials that are best suited to a specific climate. The sun can cause the structure to dry fast and prematurely or even get damaged in some cases. The roofing materials can also wear out significantly faster in warmer areas than in moderate ones. It is, however, a great idea to install attic fans or ridge vents around the access doors to help release the hot air and avoid drying out of the wood in the doors. These devices can also help cool the structure and reduce the cost of cooling the structure. Another consideration that can help the house cool is the colour scheme. The air conditioners would also work harder in darker coloured spaces than in lighter coloured spaces as darker colours tend to absorb more heat than lighter colours. Cracks and voids form as a result of unequal rates of expansion in areas such as the desert, where both extreme heat and cold are experienced.In such scenarios, the materials for the structures are chosen according to how favourably they react to the extremes and deteriorate less quickly.

Drought

Drought can help to cause the soil, such as clay, to crack and shrink, and build stress on the foundation of the structure that can be costly to fix. Conversely, water can cause certain types of soil to expand and damage homes’ foundations. Structures in areas built on such conditions of the soil are designed to follow the stress such that the foundation remains stable. Drought also affects wells as it also lowers the water table. The water can become polluted with sediments and can become unfit for drinking. The structures that rely on underground water need to be tested for purity regularly.

The more there is the presence of the changing factors in the weather the more it’s going to affect the durability of the structure. We may not have so much control over the changing weather as much as we have in taking precautions and considering them in the designs.

Online sources

Allura USA. (n.d.). How Extreme Weather Conditions Effect Home Building. [online] Available at: https://allurausa.com/blog/how-extreme-weather-conditions-effect-home-building.

Author

Disha is an architecture graduate from Nagpur University, 2021. Being an avid traveler, she has always tried to connect the city’s art & culture with architecture. She is a keen learner & an extremely creative individual who always seeks opportunities to enhance knowledge & experience in the field of architecture.

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