Residential Insurance Plans
When Hurricanes Irma and María hit Puerto Rico in September 2017, about half of the single-family residences were of informal construction. It is estimated that 47% of the homes on the island were built without the use of formal plans, and were not designed by professionals. Most did not meet the minimum parameters of the Building Code and, therefore, did not have the proper construction and use permits. After the passage of these atmospheric events, more than half a million structures on our island were severely affected, some were completely destroyed. The economic and emotional impact on a large part of our citizens was, and continues to be, immense.
In the MITIGATION ASSESSMENT TEAM REPORT Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico, Building Performance Observations, Recommendations, and Technical Guidance, FEMA P-2020 / October 2018 , FEMA submitted as an important finding that structures formally built with Puerto Rico standards resisted the hurricane strikes without major structural damage. The recommendation of FEMA and the Government of Puerto Rico was to redouble efforts to legalize the structures to be rebuilt by enforcing the building codes.
Given the economic reality of Puerto Rico, the Permit Management Office of the Department of Economic Development and Commerce, in collaboration with FEMA, undertook the task of developing prescriptive design plans, that is, safe model plans in compliance with the codes. of construction. Under this project, base plans are made available to families who qualify to support the construction of affordable housing without the citizen having to pay the cost of construction plans.
The project consists of four models of modular homes of social interest to choose from. The modules are available in models of one or two floors in concrete, wood, and in combination of materials. They are modular designs to which (in a planned way and with the assistance of a professional) modules with more rooms can be added. The main module is a 20'x 24 'house with two bedrooms, living / dining room, kitchen, bathroom and balcony. The options of modules to add are two (2) of 10'x24 'each. If a family uses the plans with all the modules, the house would have up to 5 bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Each house is designed according to the new Puerto Rico Building Code 2018 (PR Codes 2018). Although its conceptualization arises after the hurricanes of 2017, the structures meet all the requirements for seismic movements. The structural design uses winds of 190 mph as a base and the maximum seismic accelerations according to current codes.
An important aspect is that it is the first time that the concept of "Safe Room-Safe Room" is included according to the parameters of FEMA P-361 where the family can spend an emergency safely in their own home. This room has its structure and foundation independent from the rest of the house and withstands base wind loads of 250 mph.
The architectural design is modern, minimalist, and incorporates elements of our culture and context through the balcony, the distribution of spaces, lighting and natural ventilation. Each house includes connections for cistern, solar heater and useful equipment. All terrestrial models are designed to meet the physically handicapped according to the requirements of the "American with Disabilities Act"
Each family must complete the construction plan design process under the guidance of a licensed engineer or architect. You must take these secure blueprints to an engineering or architectural office to locate the home on your site and meet the final design requirements prior to applying for building permits. Once certified, it will be submitted to the OGPE to complete the corresponding permits through the Single Business Portal (SBP) digital platform . For more information, you can contact the Permits Management Office.
The Safe Plans project was a collaboration of an interdisciplinary group coordinated by the Office of Permit Management. They participated in this project
- Permits Management Office (OGPE)
- FEMA and STARII (Stantec & Atkins North America, ADV Architects and architect Astrid Díaz as part of the STARR II team).
- Puerto Rico Building Code Committee
- College of Engineers and Surveyors of Puerto Rico
- College of Architects and Landscape Architects of Puerto Rico
- Department of Civil Engineering and Surveying, University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez