(KPIX 5) — Devastating wildfires in California may end up changing the way we build homes in the Bay Area, and a startup construction company is betting on it.
From the outside, Eugene Yu’s new home is striking – a palatial estate nestled against a rolling hillside in Morgan. But the true uniqueness of the design is only apparent from the inside.
The home is built from floor to ceiling completely out of steel instead of wood. It is Yu’s dream home and a working prototype for his construction company which wants to fundamentally change the way houses are built in California.
“This can be a protected area, a refuge, because it takes longer to be affected by a fire,” said Yu, the president of Yuhu Builders Corporation.
Yu says using steel which is common in commercial construction can make homes stronger and less vulnerable to the threat of wildfires.
“With a sprinkler system and the fact that it’s made out of metal, you can’t really says it’s fireproof. But it’s pretty damn close,” said Morgan Hill Mayor Rich Constantine. Constantine is a former firefighter and says Californians need to re-think construction methods and materials in the face of the ever-present threat of wildfires.
“This home would be able to withstand a fire from the outside much better than a wood-framed house would be able to,” Constantine said.
Steel-framed homes have never become commonplace because they were typically more expensive to build. But Yu says he’s confident he can bring the price down to equal that of a wood home.