Volume 2   Issue 2               Summer 2001

c o d e  /  c o n c e r n s

Florida Codes to Mandate Test Criteria
by Pete Billing

As of October 1, 2001, exterior doors and windows used in Florida buildings will be required to match stringent new test criteria designed to protect against the high winds associated with that state’s frequent bouts with hurricanes. In essence, manufacturers face four different code requirements dependent on the location within the state.

Miami-Dade and Broward Counties

The most stringent requirements cover the two counties located at the very southern tip of the state—Miami-Dade and Broward. Desig-nated as high-velocity hurricane zones, doors and windows will be expected to withstand the effects of wind speeds upwards of 140 miles per hour (mph). Miami-Dade County calls for design wind speeds of 146 mph in a 3-second gust. Broward requirements are somewhat less stringent calling for design wind speeds of 140 mph with a 3-second gust. Some have been surprised at the final figures in the code. If Miami-Dade used ASCE Standard 7-98 as its basis, as had been expected, design speeds would range from 125 to 150 mph and the range in Broward would fall between 120 mph and 145 mph.

“Miami-Dade County calls for design wind speeds 
of 146 miles-per-hour (mph) in a 3-second gust. 
Broward requirements are somewhat less stringent 
at 140 mph with a 3-second gust.”

In those counties, windows and doors will be required to pass mandated impact tests. The impact test requirement is independent of glazing use. A separate section, 2411, lists specific criteria for windows, doors, glass and glazing. These cite a variety of standards, including those for Flat Glass Type I and II, tempered glass, safety glazing, wired glass and heat-strengthened and ceramic-coated spandrel glass.

The section also contains a provision requiring operative window and door assemblies to be tested in accordance with ANSI/AAMA 101 and the forced entry provision of AAMA 1302.5 and 1303.5. The section on Miami-Dade and Broward counties also requires test loads for inward and outward pressures to be one-and-a-half times those normally mandated. Windows in this most vulnerable area also must meet tough impact test standards.

Remaining Florida Counties

Other parts of the state require windows and doors conforming to a lesser standard. For example, in buildings located more than a mile from the coast (which of course represents the majority of the state), doors and windows will be required only to meet design wind speeds under 120 mph. Exterior windows and doors used in this part of Florida need only exhibit compliance with ANSI/ AAMA/NWWDA 101/IS.2-97. Both WDMA and AAMA are identified specifically as being able to supply labels that demonstrate compliance with these requirements.

Within a mile of the coast, the code requirements stiffen. Where wind speeds of less than 120 mph are expected, all windows and exterior glazed doors will be required to comply with ANSI/AAMA/NWWDA 101/I.S.2 for the appropriate wind pressures. Additionally, buildings designed as enclosed structures within a mile of the coast will also have to provide protection from windborne debris. This will require that they either be impact-resistant themselves or that they be protected by impact-resistant coverings, known as hurricane shutters.

Wind Speed Designations

The code designates multiple levels of testing based on design wind speed. 

Non-glazed exterior doors must be listed and tested for the design wind pressure for a period of time, in seconds. The time period test must include a 10-second period at a load equal to one-and-a-half times the design pressure. Non-glazed exterior doors do not have to be tested for impact resistance.

For wind speeds exceeding 120 mph, all windows and glazed exterior doors must meet the requirements in the joint ANSI/ AAMA/NWWDA standard 101/ I.S.2 for the appropriate wind pressures. Enclosed building designs must meet requirements for wind-blown debris. They, too, must either employ impact-resistant glass or be protected by hurricane shutters. The Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) standard also dictates impact testing for those areas it covers, as does ASTM in those areas in which it is cited in the codes. The SBCCI standard is more stringent than the requirements of ASTM. The ASTM standard, however, ups the ante for essential facilities. It also calls for tougher standards in winds exceeding 130 mph. 

It was expected that the Florida Building Code, which is based on both the 1997 Standard Building Code and the Miami-Dade South Florida Building Codes, would be made available sometime in the second quarter of the year. The first copies of the code will come either from the Florida Department of Community Affairs or will be distributed through the SBCCI.

As changes in codes affect the window and door industry, the Window & Door Manufacturers Association will update its website accordingly at www.wdma.com.

Pete Billing serves as a code consultant for the Window and Door Manufacturers Association.

© Copyright 2001 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.