Canada’s insurers are investing in a long-term,
science-based research program that identifies best practices for the design
and construction of new homes. Through the ICLR, insurers have provided support
to dozens of academic researchers who are working to identify best practices.
This research deals with damage from wind, snow, ice, earthquakes, mould and
Our largest investment has been to support the Three Little Pigs Project at The
University of Western Ontario. Coupled with the Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel,
Western University has established a world-class research team and facility
capable of testing full-scale wood framed houses under extreme duress.
Canadian insurers provided seed money to the Three Little Pigs Project, which
the research team levied to construct an $8 million state-of-the-art research
facility. Dr. Mike Bartlett and his research team are able to first test scale
model homes in the wind tunnel, and then replicate extreme weather events on
full-scale homes. These research facilities are unique in the world today.
We expect that the research team will identify aspects of over engineering in
current home construction practices, thus highlighting areas where savings are
possible without compromising safety. At the same time, we expect that they
will identify additional design and structural elements that go beyond the
current building code to significantly enhance safety at minimal cost. This
loss prevention research program will provide a science-based foundation for
the construction of disaster resilient homes.
Canadian insurers will use this research to shape the details of our
Designed...for safer living program. This information will be shared with
Canadian government agencies that are developing policies to deal with climate
change, as the Designed… for safer living program represents an adaptive
strategy to deal with the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather
events. These findings will also be shared with the U.S. insurance industry, so
the information will also influence their safer living program with American
We also anticipate that home builders, the manufactured home industry, and
manufacturers will want to be active participants in the Three Little Pigs
Project research program. Cost effective improvements in disaster resilience
should be jointly determined and founded on science-based research.
The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction
Toronto Office 20 Richmond Street East, Suite 210, Toronto, Ontario M5C 2R9 Tel: (416) 364-8677 Fax: (416) 364-5889
London Office Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory Western University 1151 Richmond Street, London, Canada N6A 5B9 Tel: (519) 661-3234 Fax: (519) 661-4273