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Canada’s insurers fund world-first research facility


London, ON – The Insurance Bureau of Canada is providing $500,000 to support research into structural home damage being conducted by the University of Western Ontario’s Faculty of Engineering.

The facility, now called the Insurance Research Lab for Better Homes (formerly the Three Little Pigs project), is a typical 1,900 sq ft, two-storey house enclosed within a corrugated steel shell. The shell enables studies of realistic damage to houses from wind, snow, rain and mould – all within a controlled environment. It is said to be the first facility of its kind in the world.

Located at the London International Airport, the facility will allow researchers to subject houses to the destructive elements of nature, including simulated winds of up to a category five hurricane – or 200 mph. Engineers will also be able to assess the structural integrity of houses and help develop cost-effective methods to retrofit existing homes and reduce human error during construction.