debris, damage and building codes
Hurricanes cause flying debris, which can break through windows and doors and thereby allow pressure to quickly build up inside a building and cause severe structural damage. Impact-resistant windows and doors help maintain the integrity of the building envelope.
Code changes to protect buildings have included:
High design pressure (DP) ratings for windows and doors
Wind-borne debris protection in specific regions for all openings
A cyclical pressure test — simulation of negative and positive pressures of a hurricane
Energy-efficiency requirements as wind-borne debris codes move north
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE-7) can help you determine the proper wind speed delineation zones for a specific area, as adopted by the International Building Code.
Design loads represent wind load pressure for which a product is designed. Here’s a path for how a design load is determined:
determining design loads
Wind-relevant building codes are the:
International Building Code* (IBC) for commercial construction
International Residential Code* (IRC) for residential construction
Florida Building Code (FBC) for all construction
* Includes ASTM E1886 (missile impact and cyclic pressure loading) and ASTM E1996 (wind-borne debris)
In addition, various entities with wind-borne debris standards are the Texas Department of Insurance, Miami-Dade County, State of Florida, the Window & Door Manufacturers Association and the American Architectural Manufacturers Association.
Some Florida counties require full compliance to Miami-Dade County standards. A local code office can override a state standard. It’s important to note that an architect or engineer determines the right product performance and code approval for a project.
Product options for wind speed zones
Glazed-glass openings must be protected with impact-resistant panels or shutters or via an impact-resistant glazing system, which incorporates laminated glass for meeting wind-borne debris requirements.
For product approvals related to wind-related test standards, request a copy of the approval from the manufacturer.
High DP ratings and impact-resistant products may require specific installation (often more in-depth than standard product installation). The installation method used for the independent certification of a product is critical to a product’s overall performance.
For energy efficiency, install code-approved products with insulated Low E glass. Look for impact-resistant windows and doors with the ENERGY STAR® seal.
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