Planning for safety and deterring dangers
One of the hallmark features of our design is how the house fights fires. It (pretty much all at once) calls the fire department, douses active fires with water, shuts off the gas supply to the house, shuts down fans and blocks air flow, unlocks the front deadbolt and alters a display at the front door to show a floor plan of the house with the location of every adult, child, infant or pet and of every hot spot.
No house is absolutely fireproof, but our plan calls for materials that resist catching fire.
Steel conduits carry all wiring, delaying any effect of heat on insulated power runs. That's not just about fires; it's also a way to prevent a nail or screw driven into the wall from making contact with a live wire.
The main living areas are all on one level, reducing opportunities for falls on stairways. The master shower has no kerb to step over or trip over.
The garage doors will not close and will open if any car is running in any of the three connected garage spaces.
The plumbing system has a separate connection between every end point (faucet, tap, tub, shower, toilet, washer, etc.) and a “home run” manifold with a valve for each line meaning no pipe joints inside the walls that can leak.
The electrical system has whole-house surge protection to help keep lightning or power line bursts from reaching people.
We also pay attention to factors that can lead a house to collapse.
The roofing and siding can survive high winds. And metal roofing has lightning safety advantages.
The foundation footings have built-in drains; the foundation wall is sheeted to wick water away and to keep water out as well as to deter termites, helping prevent those causes of collapse.
The engineered woods used in joists, trusses, flooring and roof board are lighter, stronger, extremely resistant to moisture and much less appetizing to termites, again reducing risks of injury from building collapse.
And the drinking water is thoroughly filtered to remove both unwanted minerals and unhealthy microorganisms as well as other contaminants.
These are examples of some of the safety-relevant choices we made in planning this build. We'll touch on more of the details as the story of our project house progresses.
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