How can we improve our building codes to minimize damages to homes from hurricanes and other natural disasters while also keeping housing affordable? J. Daniel Dolan, professor of civil and environmental engineering, heads to the Gulf Coast next week to try to find out. Dolan is involved in writing and updating design and building codes in the U.S. With the Institute for Business and Home Safety, he will travel to Florida on Monday and travel through the Gulf Coast area to assess and quantify wind damage to homes that did not experience Katrina’s storm surge. The researchers have data on wind speeds in the area and will examine whether homes were built to building codes. Later they will do analysis to determine recommendations for improving building codes. Dolan has worked on projects funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, US Department of Agriculture, and National Science Foundation that are directed at reducing losses to low-rise construction during hurricanes and other high-wind events, or earthquakes. Such buildings under seven stories make up 85 percent of the structures in the U.S. Dolan works to model in real time the forces a low-rise structure experiences from hurricane-force winds or earthquakes, and tests full-scale components of buildings to determine effective methods for improving the performance of these buildings. For more information, contact Tina Hilding, communications coordinator, College of Engineering and Architecture, 509-335-5095.