Development of the South Carolina Coast 1959-1989: Prelude to a Disaster

by Peter R. Sparks, Clemson Univ, Clemson, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hurricane Hugo One Year Later


The history of hurricanes on the South Carolina Coast is reviewed. It is shown that reasonable design wind and surge conditions could have been established before the rapid development of the coast in the last 30 years, but the state lacked an adequate legislative and technical framework to do so. Control of construction had been left in the hands of local jurisdictions which resulted in considerable variation in the quality of control, including no control at all. Shortcomings in the building code, difficulties in enforcement and the actions of the construction industry, lenders, insurers and owners led to the construction of buildings and other structures with inadequate hurricane resistance. These inadequacies were clearly demonstrated in Hurricane Hugo when many structures, and the electric power distribution system serving them, failed to meet reasonable performance standards.

Subject Headings: Building codes | Government buildings | Building design | Natural disasters | Standards and codes | Hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones | Construction management | Wind engineering | South Carolina | United States

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