Hurricanes Are A Key Consideration
June marked the start of hurricane season that typically includes 12 tropical storms and 6 hurricanes. While Florida is most prone, these damaging and costly storms routinely affect 18 other states, which are listed below. Is your state included? Your building roof is susceptible to hurricane damage.
The information below is a list of costliest Atlantic hurricanes. The most expensive tropical cyclone on record in the Atlantic is held jointly by hurricanes Katrina and Harvey, both of which resulted in approximately $125 billion in property damage during the year they occurred. A majority of the costliest Atlantic hurricanes in recorded history have peaked as major hurricanes. However, weaker tropical storms can still cause widespread damage. Tropical storms Alberto in 1994, Allison in 2001, Lee in 2011 and Imelda in 2019 caused more than a billion dollars in damage. Wind damage encompasses a large portion of storm damage as well, evidenced by Andrew, Irma and Michael.
Hurricane Andrew Leads to Code Changes
Due to the destructive, wide-sweeping damage of Hurricane Andrew, Floridians took a hard look at why their buildings failed. In 1996, the Florida Building Codes Study Commission was created. During their 16-month study, the commission found a complex and confusing patchwork of codes and regulations that had been developed, amended, administered and enforced differently by more than 400 local jurisdictions and state agencies with building code responsibilities. In the case of Hurricane Andrew, the problem was not weakness in the codes themselves that contributed to the extensive storm damage. Rather, it was the inability to enforce and comply with the confusing system of multiple codes and administrative processes. It had become clear that Florida needed a single, statewide building code system.
Building Products Impact
Due to these improvements to the building codes, manufacturers that sell into Florida must obtain approval through the Florida Product Approval process or the Miami-Dade County Notice of Acceptance. To be certified, manufacturers must pass these High Velocity Hurricane Zones test protocols:
TAS 201-94 – Impact Test. During this test several 8-foot-long 2 by 4’s are shot from an air cannon to simulate large missile impact on strategic points on the product.
TAS 202-94 – (Static) Air Pressure & Water Penetration Test. This test is designed to test structural overload with both positive and negative pressure. The testing of the design is performed at +/- 50%, +/- 100% and finally +/- 150% of static air. Additionally, a stream of water is blasted at the product at 15% of the testing load. To pass, the product must withstand these static forces, with no failure, for 30 seconds.
TAS 203-94 – Cyclic Wind Pressure Loading Test. This is a pulsating series assessment designed to test wind pressure loading. During this test there are 671 – 1 to 3 second cycles at 50%, + 50% and 120% of the testing load.
Experts recommend specifying hurricane-tested roof hatches that are both Florida Product Approved and Miami-Dade Notice of Acceptance (NOA) products – not only in Florida, but in all hurricane-affected regions throughout the US.
Since 1948 Nystrom has been the go-to manufacturer of specialty building products offering a wide range of floor, roof, wall, ceiling and stair access products that create safer, more accessible buildings. Nystrom is also proud to offer hassle-free services like access to technical experts, REVIT tools for BIM, HPDs for LEED v4, 3-part specifications and AIA continuing education courses.
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