One of the most common questions during preparations for the cyclone season: "Is MY house safe in a Cyclone?"
Generally speaking houses and units built since Cyclone Tracy in cyclonic areas of the Northern Territory are designed to withstand a mid range category 4 cyclone.
Category 4 cyclones have wind speeds between (225 - 280km/hr). Buildings that comply with the Building Code of Australia are generally referred to as being “built to code”.
Excluding consideration of the impact of wind borne debris, a building designed and built to code, should be able to withstand the wind loads from a low level Category 4 cyclone with minimal structural damage. However, at ultimate design wind loads, as would be applicable to a mid range Category 4 cyclone, the building (or at least some elements of the building) would be expected to be at design capacity and it is likely that significant structural damage and/or structural failure may occur.
Over time buildings that were originally built to code may deteriorate unless they are appropriately maintained.
The following link to the Department of Lands and Planning guideline has been prepared to assist you in ensuring your house or unit is safe.
In 2010 staff from the Cyclone Testing Station of James Cook University in Townsville compiled a presentation for building certifiers and engineers. If you would like to see the presentation click here .