The U.S. federal government has paid out over $220 billion in home insurance claims resulting from wildfires, hurricanes, and other natural disasters in the last two years. That’s more than the previous 20 years combined. That’s not a statistical anomaly. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports the number of billion-dollar disasters is “clearly trending upward.” That’s why the American homebuilding industry must make building more resilient houses a top priority.

A concept home that will be unveiled in Las Vegas during CES 2020 will provide U.S. companies with a model of how to build a house that has proven to be significantly stronger and more resilient in the face of Mother Nature’s wrath compared to the traditional American stick frame structure.

I’ve been following the construction of the BUILDER Chōwa Concept Home project led by Sekisui House, its U.S. subsidiary Woodside Homes, and BUILDER Online. A few weeks ago, I wrote a high-level look at how it incorporates a number of proprietary building, engineering, design and development techniques, and systems that Sekisui House has developed at its Comprehensive Housing R&D Institute in Japan.

Now, I want to focus on how American builders can leverage one of these innovations – the SHAWOOD framing system – to build homes that are more resistant, durable and able to withstand extreme weather conditions that experts predict will become more common nationwide.

You can’t help but do a double-take when you first look at this picture of the BUILDER Chōwa Concept Home’s frame going up. Even at a glance, you see how much different it is compared to what American builders are accustomed to using.

Timber-framing with CLT.

Timber-framing with CLT.

The structural timbers, which are all sustainably sourced, are milled and glued under pressure into laminated posts and beams. They are much stronger and more capable of spanning wide spaces compared to the materials and methods American builders have been using for the last 50 years.

Sekisui House SHAWOOD's signature metal-joint construction system

Sekisui House SHAWOOD’s signature metal-joint construction system

The system features what Sekisui House calls a “Metal Joint” construction system that is designed to lock together to create a structure of extreme rigidity and strength.

No matter the size or design of a specific project, builders can achieve levels of precision, durability, quality and resilience that traditional methods and systems cannot match.

This BUILDER Chōwa Concept Home is the first home built in the U.S. using the SHAWOOD system. But builders around the world are very familiar with the technology. Sekisui House unveiled the first SHAWOOD home in 1995, and has since built hundreds of thousands of homes worldwide.

Sekisui House’s structures have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to withstand some of history’s worst natural disasters. For example, a total of nearly 220,000 are located in the areas affected by the three of the most devastating earthquakes in Japan’s recorded history: the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995, the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, and the Kumamoto Earthquake in 2016. Not a single Sekisui House was even partially destroyed.

If you plan to make attend CES 2020 or the NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Las Vegas next month, I recommend you make the short drive from the Las Vegas Strip to the Howard Hughes Corp.’s master planned community of Summerlin to see the BUILDER Chōwa Concept Home for yourself.

I will continue to provide regular updates and photos here on BUILDER Online. Next up will be an examination of the business benefits U.S. home builders can realize by following the model the concept home provides.

If you’re not going to be in Vegas, follow this link to register to be notified when the virtual tour of the exterior and interior goes live