In Tornado Aftermath, Building Techniques Questioned

MAYFLOWER, AR -- One week after the tornadoes, we're hearing criticism of building practices that some believe added to the level of destruction across Central Arkansas.

Josh Foster rode out the tornado in a relatives storm shelter as it passed over his home in the River Plantation neighborhood in Mayflower.

Sunday, friends helped clear away the final pieces of debris leaving a bare slab.  Here, unlike many other areas in the path, there was actually something to clear.

"We still had a few walls standing," Foster said.

That may be credit to the way Foster, a contractor, built his home using anchor bolts secure the floor to the foundation.  National Weather Service surveyors say only 10 percent of slabs they've viewed after the tornado have bolts and screws with the other 90 percent using nails.

"There is simply no reason why we should have builders building homes(with nails to secure into the foundation) in 2014 given the decades of knowledge that we have that these connections do not work," said Dr. David Prevatt, a Civil and Coastal Engineer at the University of Florida. 

Dr. Prevatt has spent 10 years studying wind damage while visiting tornado aftermaths in three states.

"If we had anchors that could've provided some uplift resistance, we ought to have seen more of the walls remaining," he said.

Dr. Prevatt says other factors such as how the roof is secured to the walls are at play in how well a structure fares during a tornado.

Foster said he believes his family would have survived if they stayed home.

Sadly, for some in this tornado's path that was not the case.

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