Hurricane Andrew

photo via noaa

Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 storm, hit the South Florida area 22 years ago this month. It caused 65 fatalities and $26 billion dollars in damage by the time it was downgraded. A maximum wind gust of 177 mph was recorded in Perrine. Florida City, Kendall and Homestead, all south of Miami, were the hardest hit areas.

 

Often times, when a catastrophe hits, government and industry take a look at what can be improved upon to decrease loss of life and dollars. Hurricane Andrew was no different. Not only did the building codes need to be reformed but the enforcement of them also needed to be improved.


photo via the Palm Beach Post

 
In 2002 the State of Florida adopted the Florida Building Code which required buildings being constructed to withstand hurricane force winds and have shutters or impact-resistant glass to protect openings. Manufacturers in the door industry tested their products as complete units which included a door frame, door and door hardware. Wind and water infiltration were the most critical points of testing with regard to doors and hardware. It wasn’t just Florida either; all coastal states have adopted some form of hurricane wind load codes.


by Science Nation

 

In the years ensuing component testing was established and independent hardware manufacturers, like Hager Co., began testing. The certification requirements are stringent and the components must bear a certification mark or label with the approved agency stating the product complies with the Code.

By allowing component testing architects and building owners had a greater offering to select from when determining what hardware could be specified on a building’s exterior doors.

With the release of the Florida Building Code 2010 edition there were significant changes to the wind loads. A new strength design-lever wind speed map was issued along with the changes to the wind-borne debris region. Also introduced was an Exposure Category D for water surfaces in Hurricane-Prone Regions.

Many of our products meet the requirements for FBC including our Grade 1 cylindrical and mortise locksets along with our Grade 2 cylindrical locks.

So far 2014 has been a quiet year for hurricanes, we hope that continues!