SAFE AS HOUSES: Hugh and Glenys James are glad to finally have their home cyclone ready.
SAFE AS HOUSES: Hugh and Glenys James are glad to finally have their home cyclone ready. Allan Reinikka ROK0560719acyclon

Meet the home owners cyclone proofing their homes

GLENYS and Hugh James, retirees from Frenchville, put off getting their roof to cyclone standard not because they didn't feel it was necessary, but because of the huge cost.

They knew it was something that would eventually cost them money, either by having work done on their roof or by repair costs due to water damage from a cyclone they believed was inevitable.

"After (Cyclone) Marcia, it was pretty obvious that it needed doing,” Hugh said.

"It's just such a big expense that you keep on putting it off.”

It wasn't until the State Government's housing resilience program made it affordable did they consult a contractor to get the job done.

The program is now closed to applications but 130 local home owners jumped on the grants to get their homes cyclone-ready.

Adam Wehmeier, who co-owns Alline Roofing with his brother Clint, said while getting a roof done could be expensive, the cost pales in comparison to the water damage he's seen from cyclones during his time in the trade.

"The method we use ultimately strengthens the house and ensures if we do get severe storms or cyclones, minimal damage occurs,” he said.

"It keeps risk of weather damage, and sometimes insurance, down.”

The local contractor said during the course of the incentive program he had seen an increase in business, driven by those cashing in on the grants.

As the case of the Jameses suggests, Mr Wehmeier said a roof upgrade was something people were likely to put off but the program gave people the nudge they needed to get the job done.

"People simply can't afford it,” he said.

"It's a large expense and money is tight these days.”

Reflecting on his own experiences in the trade, Mr Wehmeier said he believed the cost difference between getting a roof cyclone-ready and doing repairs after a severe weather incident was "many, many thousands”.

Hugh and Glenys James.
Hugh and Glenys James. Allan Reinikka ROK0560719acyclon

"If they're not properly insured, I've seen jobs up around $30,000 or $40,000,” he said.

The work involved is an installation of metal strapping that goes around rafters and connects to the wall by screws.

The upgrade essentially reinforces the structural connection between the roof and the rest of the house.

New roof battens are installed to hold down roofing sheets.

"Older houses are constructed with nails but with this upgrade, everything is screwed down,” Mr Wehmeier said.

Minister for Housing Mick de Brenni visited the James home to take a look at the upgrades.

"Coming here today to Frenchville, is all about making sure that that the support we're delivering to locals like Glenys and Hugh is hitting the mark,” he said.

Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga was glad to see people taking advantage of the program and engaging local tradies while it lasted.

"In Rockhampton, home owners have said they would not have been able to afford the necessary upgrades without the support of the Queensland Government,” she said

Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke also welcomed the flow in to local businesses and lower insurance premiums.

"Across Rockhampton, 97 per cent of grant recipients hired local contractors to carry out works, with households subsequently being given an average cut of 9.3per cent on insurance costs because their properties are now better protected against cyclone damage,” he said.

"With cyclone season getting under way in November, it's great to know that so many Rockhampton households will be better protected against the elements.”

Houses in the area from Bundaberg to the Queensland/Northern Territory border within 50km of the coast were eligible for the program, which will undergo an evaluation to determine if the grants will be rolled out again.



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