For Canberrans orange is the new black for roofs, as Aussie home-grown innovation – Stormseal® – is fitted to key Canberra buildings protecting them from the elements following January’s hail storm which punched holes in buildings across the city. Some projects start this week and some are complete.
Stormseal is a recyclable, lightweight polymer film, heat shrunk to a damaged property and is hail and wind resistant and watertight. Unlike tarpaulins, which on average break loose and fly away up to six times, Stormseal can stay put over a year, resisting all weather until permanent repairs can be made.
The Australian National University (ANU) now has Stormseal fitted on a number of its buildings.
Other Canberra buildings being Stormsealed are Ian Potter House at The Australian Academy of Science, The National Film and Sound Archive’s 1930 heritage-listed Residence building, the Papua New Guinea High Commission building and Villaggio Sant’ Antonio Aged Care Facility.
Managing Director and Stormseal inventor, Matthew Lennox, said the unique patented polyethylene film will provide strong and lasting weather protection particularly as more bad weather is forecast.
“Accredited Installers have been busy helping secure these and other properties that have lost roofs and walls following Canberra’s hail storm, as well as in other parts of the country suffering storm damage,” he said.
“This is the first time that we have fitted Stormseal at such a scale in our nation’s capital and on such major buildings,” he said.
“It’s appropriate that these Canberra landmarks are reaping the benefits because it’s thanks to a $450k federal government commercialisation grant from the Department of Innovation in 2016 that we have been able commercialise Stormseal and help those affected by storm damage.
Stormseal recently won the Global Social Impact Award at the Australian Technologies Competition.
“Severe storms are frequent world-wide, damaging property, interrupting business, traumatising residents, stretching emergency resources and costing insurance companies billions. Our technology is helping stop further damage and reduce the trauma and costs for all concerned.
“In 2007 when hailstones as big as cricket balls hit Sydney they caused insured losses of A$486million and these new storm events will be just as costly. Stormseal can make a big difference in such an aftermath, especially when repairs take time due to widespread storm damage,” said Mr Lennox.
The idea for Stormseal came to Mr Lennox when he was overseeing repairs and reconstruction on behalf of several insurance companies following storm episodes and during continual wet and windy conditions where he saw the damages claims multiply fourfold due to failing tarpaulins.
“Seeing how ongoing bad weather can make problems event worse following a storm event, it sparked the idea to develop the shrinking resin in the Stormseal film which can wrap tightly to any roofline to resist wind, rain and hail until permanent repairs can be made.
Fact – Globally more damage occurs “after the storm”.
Look at the Sydney hail storm 2018, initial reports estimated the loss value at $150m, however the final cost was $1.3B. Likewise following Hurricane Michael in the US, with $3.5B as the initial estimate now claims total more than $8B.
“Unlike flapping, leaking tarps – which usually require multiple reattachments, using ropes and sandbags – Stormseal stays put, significantly reducing expenses for insurers and minimising stress on householders.
Other major benefits are that Stormseal weighs less than one-third as much and requires less than one-eighth of the storage space compared to tarpaulin. Also, heat curing changes the chemical structure of the Stormseal film, enhancing its strength.
“Insurers and builders who have seen the application of our versatile product know that it will cut their costs significantly, while keeping policyholders and properties safe. Stormseal is an ideal solution for rapid response and cost-effective resilience in the face of natural disasters,” said Mr Lennox.
Stormseal was first introduced to Australia on the ABC’s New Inventors program in 2009 so it is poignant to receive this recognition 10 years on.
For information about Stormseal and how builders can train to be a fitter, click here.