Veteran Architect and QTECT Founder Dr. Nir Buras Offers Tips On Building to Withstand Natural Disasters

With 30 Years Experience and an Online Design Marketplace Launching Soon, the Noted Architect Gives Insight on Building to Diminish Structural Damage During Natural Disasters

When building a home or commercial property, owners- wrapped up in the excitement of a new chapter, typically ponder the best of days to come: the pitter patter of little feet, the clink and rustle of cash and coin at the register, cookouts in the yard, or the grand opening. Rarely is a building thought of in terms of its central purpose: as sanctuary- as potentially life-saving shelter the integrity of which determines the safety of all who take refuge within as well as the security of the owner's wealth- both actual and sentimental. Dr. Nir Buras, architect and founder of QTECT (, an upcoming architectural and interior design online marketplace, drew from his 30 years of architectural experience to offer design tips for mitigating natural disaster damage and harm. For many, news that a tornado hit Oklahoma City and- in mere seconds- left nothing but destruction of property and lives in its wake prompted renewed emphasis on protecting property and people when disaster strikes. According to Dr. Buras, cost-efficient renovations can go a long way towards mitigating some of the potential losses from natural disasters.

Here are Dr. Buras' tips for mitigating hazards long before natural disaster strikes:

For Flood: Elevate Electrical Appliances and Power Sources

To reduce flood damage to utilities, Nir recommends placing the main breaker/fuse box and utility meter in a location well-above anticipated flood levels, adding that flood levels vary by the elevation of the building itself. "And don't underestimate the power of minor flooding. All valuables, especially electrical appliances, should be at least 3 inches above the floor", Nir asserts.

For Earthquakes: Bolt Large Objects Down: Keep Heavy Objects Low.

According to Nir, people are often surprised to learn that anchor bolts only cost a few dollars, but can help keep a building attached to its foundation in case of an Earthquake. "'Bolt it down. Keep it low. Those are the rules of thumb for mitigating earthquake damage". says Nir. Unfortunately, that goes for furniture as well, a regrettable fact for those who like to rearrange their furniture For shelves, heaviest shelved objects should be placed on lower shelves to reduce toppling; and wall mounts to prevent sliding or toppling hazards are the L shaped fixtures that typically come with IKEA furniture and DIY shelves. They're available at any hardware store. Plus, to quote Nir "None of these safety precautions have to disrupt the aesthetic appeal of the home". Fortunately, water heaters aren't valued for their beauty, so even the style conscious won't hesitate to also strap that down to a nearby wall with plumber's tape. The bands of perforated steel- when used to secure the water heater, prevents it from falling, breaking the gas line, and starting a fire.

For Hurricanes and Tornadoes: Install Hurricane Straps and Storm Shutters

"In cases of a direct or an especially severe hit, the home may not be salvaged", Buras acknowledges. Still, hurricane straps secure the roof to the walls and foundation, reducing the likelihood of losing it in strong winds. Likewise, well-maintained storm shutters protect windows from shattering in strong winds and flying debris.

For Wildfires: Use Flame-Retardant Shingles and Tiles on the Roof

For homes and businesses residing in wooded, low-humidity areas prone to wildfires, "it's a good idea to avoid wood or standard shingles which can alight when flying embers land on it", explains Nir, who also warns against leaving dead wood to litter the lawn and allowing shrubs to hug and climb the exterior of the home. Wildfires also spread to homes because of nearby plants catching fire near the home.

Which combination of renovations a homeowner or business owner chooses is highly personal and based upon the typical threats of the region. Furthermore, the measures have a limited effectiveness in protecting people and property so their implementation is not substitute for a sufficient insurance, an evacuation plan, or retreat to a safe-room or storm shelter. "Home and business owners should always incorporate safety and hazard mitigation into their architectural and interior design", Nir Buras concludes.

Dr. Nir Buras founded QTECT in 2012 and will launch it's crowdsourcing design marketplace in the coming weeks, but anyone can sign up at for a chance to win free custom design right now. Connect with QTECT on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for design tips and inspiration. Social media links at

Media Contact:
Dr. Nir Buras (CEO)
[email protected]

QTECT is a DC based online marketplace which is launching to help residential and commercial property owners and professionals solicit and compare architectural and interior designs risk-free and with unmatched automation, transparency, and interactivity using its proprietary platform (patent pending). Buyers enter project specifications and launch a national contest in which 9-15 designers compete. Buyers review designs as they develop, offer feedback as needed, and select their top 3D designs for use on their project. All designers are compensated. Buyer satisfaction is guaranteed or their money back. QTECT was founded in 2012 and will launch in the coming weeks. Learn more at

If you are a journalist or blogger and would like to schedule an interview, please contact 202.652.0323 or [email protected].


Tags: Home Improvement, severe weather, tornado


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