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Lethbridge College graduates recognized for hurricane-resistant roof project

After seeing homes battered and residents’ lives torn apart, two Lethbridge college students looked at the best method of strengthening roofs for their capstone project last year. After seeing homes battered and residents’ lives torn apart, two Lethbridge college students looked at the best method of strengthening roofs for their capstone project last year.
LETHBRIDGE, Alta. -

Southern Alberta winds are renowned for their strength, speed and destruction.

After seeing homes battered and residents’ lives torn apart, two Lethbridge college students looked at the best method of strengthening roofs for their capstone project last year.

"We built multiple samples of traditional nailing with 3-8D nails, hurricane ties and structural threaded screws," said John Burt, one of the capstone award finalists.

They tested the three methods in the college's universal testing machine and found one worked much better than the others.

"The structural threaded screw outperformed the hurricane ties and the traditional nailing," Burt said.

"So we outperformed the traditional nailing by 54 per cent and we outperformed the hurricane tie connection by nine per cent."

This style of structure support is not only useful in southern Alberta, but also places like Nova Scotia, where Hurricane Fiona recently ravaged parts of the province.

"The potential to increase the structural integrity of a structure in hurricane-prone areas would definitely be a benefit," Burt said.

Burt and his partner on the project, Shay Wirll, have been chosen as one of eight finalists for the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET) capstone project of the year.

"What struck me about it is that it is so innovative and that it is so clearly tied to a local perceived need," said Barry Cavanaugh, ASET CEO.

"That's the whole point of the capstone awards."

Cavanaugh says he was very impressed by the far-reaching implications the project could have.

"This means an awful lot more than the simple construction solution that it represents," Cavanaugh said.

"Although, I think it's probably revolutionary in that respect."

Whether they win the award or not, Burt says they're proud.

"Being a finalist gives you a sense of pride and a little bit of accomplishment. You’re not only being recognized by your instructors but also by an organization like ASET, so it is an honour."

The winner will be revealed later this year.

Meanwhile, more information is available at ASET’s website

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