IBHS research centre tests wind and fire

As we’ve said before, ‘testing’ (or its absence) is a major underlying theme of Made By Monkeys, and test-related posts certainly prove popular. In this vein, I’ve only just come across the large-scale Research centre, of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS).

Opened in October 2010, it is an applied research and training facility – built on 90-acres in Chester County, South Carolina – and it provides some spectactular large-scale test opportunities.

“This facility will significantly advance building science by enabling researchers to more fully and accurately evaluate various residential and commercial construction materials and systems,” states the IBHS.

In the past, apparently, researchers had to rely on computer simulations or exploration of zones of damage. The new centre will now enable the insurers to video and analyse the effects of wind or fire on pre-built structures.

This facility is a tangible, very public demonstration of the property insurance industry’s deep commitment to reducing and preventing losses that disrupt the lives of millions of home and business owners each year. IBHS’ scientific research will influence residential and commercial structural design and construction for decades to come. Resulting savings on natural disaster-related losses – which totaled more than $26 billion across the U.S. in 2009 alone, and are expected to double every decade – will “pay for” the lab many times over.

After wind comes fire. View a wildfire test carried out at the centre:

Highlights of the IBHS Research centre Ember Test Demonstration, March 2011 from IBHS on Vimeo.

You can read more about the research centre on the Wall Street Journal.

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