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Charleston, S.C.—based Geoff Hawes says the Lowcountry deals with a fair amount of anxiety throughout the hurricane season. As a result, he and his father developed a hurricane-resistant house frame made of aluminum, opposed to wood. Called Cat Five Houses, the patented metal system is engineered to withstand winds over 157 miles per hour and rated to an eight on the Richter scale for earthquake resistance.

Hawes said the difference between Cat Five Houses and “hurricane-resistant” houses on the market is that these can be customized to a homeowners own particular style. Only the frame is different, all other architecture aspects can be completely personalized. Once a home is fully assembled, nobody could see a difference.

The structure was invented by Hawes’ father, who comes from England where buildings are made from steel. Cat Five Houses are also an offshoot of Hawes’ company, Rapid Deployable Systems, Inc. which manufactures temperature and humidity controlled environmental enclosures used on Navy ships. They also make truss tables, platforms and roof systems and have done work for other companies including Boeing, Bayers and Intel.

So far Hawes has made three Cat Five home frames in the Lowcountry but he said his goal is to offer people a better solution than traditional wood frames. He's currently building the first Cat Five Tiny House in Summerville. The home located on Shamrock Drive will be for a relative but will also serve as a model design.

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