Facility will test effects of storms on homes

Construction is getting started on a new South Carolina facility insurers hope will do for home building what a similar testing facility in Virginia has done for car safety.

The Institute for Business and Home Safety is breaking ground Wednesday on its new research center in Chester County.

The lab will be big enough to hold a full house. Organizers say the $27 million facility will allow scientists to see exactly what winds from a Category 3 hurricane, hail and wind-blown fire do to home construction.

Researchers also will be able to let houses sit in the elements to see how aging affects their ability to withstand different weather conditions.

Insurance officials and local lawmakers are expected to attend the ceremony.