Over the past few months, we’ve all seen shocking images on news broadcasts of homes devastated by hurricanes across the country. But for one South Carolina home builder, a change in materials has them feeling confidant in the face of hurricane season. Meet Ray and Geoff Hawes, the father-and-son team behind Cat Five Houses. The Cat Five difference? Their home frames don’t use wood beams; instead, they chose aluminum. From Charleston’s Post & Courier:
As the most dangerous months of the hurricane season arrive, Ray and Geoff Hawes of Mount Pleasant aren’t worrying much.
That’s because the father and son entrepreneurs may have the strongest homes in the Lowcountry.
Both were built with an aluminum skeleton bolted together and connected to a heavy concrete foundation.
Both also cost a lot of money, a reality they acknowledge means that their approach isn’t for everyone.
But for those interested in paying a premium for a sturdy structure, the Hawes’ business, known as Cat Five Houses of Charleston, certainly would be worth looking into.
The aluminum is lighter and more portable than steel, and the frames can be quickly assembled and taken apart. The frames also can be placed on wheels and moved. And there’s one other advantage, too, says Quince Cody of Cat Five Houses.
“Aluminum has memory, where steel does not,” he says.
In other words, an aluminum structure can bend, then pop back in place, much like a soda can.
Hawes says the company isn’t looking to design or build homes, but it is looking to give architects, builders and their clients another choice, one that might cost more but that will stand the test of time.
“ ‘Built to last’ is our slogan, that’s what we’re trying to promote,” he says. “It’s a good way forward, not for everybody but for those who want to live here long term, and they don’t want to worry about the contents of their house, or their house.”
With the automobile industry rapidly getting behind the strength and durability of aluminum, it’s no wonder the construction industry is taking a closer look. Yes, it does cost more to use an aluminum skeleton, but in hurricane-prone areas, that price may have a value well beyond a dollar amount.