Trying to Reason with  
Hurricane Season  
25 Years after Andrew, Have Code  
Changes Made a Difference?  
by T r e y B a r r i n e a u , E l l e n R o g e r s a n d J o r d a n S c o t t  
The aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Florida revealed  
that new building codes put into place after Hurricane  
Andrew in 1992 preserved many structures. However,  
many older buildings, like these homes, suffered  
significant damage.  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | October 2017  
or 25 years,Hurricane Andrew was the storm by which  
all others have been judged. At the time, it was the  
most destructive United States hurricane of record as  
it blasted its way across South Florida on August 24,  
feet above the ground—while a 177-mph gust was  
992. It had a peak gust of 164 mph—measured 130  
measured at a private home. The hurricane caused $26.5 bil-  
lion in damage in the United States, only $1 billion of which  
occurred in Louisiana. The rest was in South Florida, where  
the vast majority of damage was caused by the winds.  
And then,in September of this year,we met Irma—a storm  
that was about double the size of Andrew, tearing its way up  
Florida and into Georgia. The insurance industry is still as-  
sessing Irma’s final damage toll in Florida, though it’s certain  
to be in the billions and billions.  
She was preceded by Harvey, who did $180 billion worth of  
damage in the Houston area. And Irma and Harvey together  
will not equal the damage that Maria brought to the Carib-  
bean, particularly Puerto Rico, beginning September 22nd.  
But whatever the total, it could be less than what was ini-  
tially estimated—and the credit and thanks for that could  
very well go to Andrew. The 1992 storm spurred a revolution  
in building codes for coastal regions in the U.S., which led to  
major modifications in how fenestration products are manu-  
factured and forced businesses to take emergency planning  
much more seriously.  
Tighten the Codes,  
Then Tighten Them More  
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Ad-  
ministration,Andrew destroyed 25,524 homes in South Flor-  
ida and damaged 101,241 others. Many structures had their  
roofs blown completely off, an effect directly linked to doors  
or windows that were damaged after being struck by wind-  
borne debris.  
A broken door or window on the wall facing hurricane-force  
winds greatly increases the risk of this happening because it  
causes a dramatic change in pressure inside the home, ac-  
cording to the Florida Division of Emergency Management.  
Because of this, construction researchers determined that  
it’s important to prevent windows from shattering and doors  
from flying open, leading to advances in glass and hardware  
In the aftermath of Andrew, South Florida Building Code  
SFBC) officials adopted the first mandatory glazing impact  
standards in the United States.They were based on Australian  
standards that were developed after a devastating cyclone hit  
that country in 1974.  
Today, impact-resistant windows are manufactured by  
dozens of companies and are sold from Texas to Maine, but  
the top market remains Florida. According to the American  
Architectural Manufacturers Association’s 2015/2016 Study  
of the U.S. Market for Windows, Doors and Skylights, that state  
represents 68 percent of the total U.S. market for residential  
impact windows.  
continued on page 54  
October 2017 | USGlass, Metal & Glazing  
TcornytiinnugedtofroRmepaasgoen53with Hurricane Season  
Hurricane Irma  
Leaves its Mark  
Irma hit Florida on September 10  
and plowed up the state’s west coast.  
Its high winds pushed a devastat-  
ing storm surge into many low-lying  
areas and knocked out power for mil-  
lions. The storm then continued into  
Georgia, where it weakened but still  
caused widespread damage and elec-  
tricity outages. It also affected travel  
for many people heading to the Glass  
Build America show in Atlanta, which Mote Marine Laboratory’s Elizabeth Moore International Center for Coral  
was held September 12-14 (see related Reef Research & Restoration in Summerland Key, which was in the path  
article on page 32).  
of storm surge from Hurricane Irma, remained secure with minimal or no  
Along the Florida Keys, many com- impact. However, the storm surge, combined with winds, impacted the exterior  
panies are still struggling to resume infrastructure, including outside coral raceway systems.  
normal operations.  
The Keys are coming back.My shop to comment, saying they were too busy such as impact-resistant windows kept  
was fine, but a couple of others didn’t “working to get their business up and it from being worse than it could have  
have it as good,” says Scott Nelson, running after being hit by a Category 4 been (see bottom sidebar on page 56).  
owner of J&S Glass & Mirror in Key hurricane.”  
Largo, Fla. “The storm was a bad, bad  
While it will probably take months Journal reported that damage in Flor-  
thing, but we’re trying to help people to determine the degree to which the ida from Hurricane Irma appeared  
come back from it.”  
building codes implemented after Hur- to be relatively minor considering  
On September 16, the Wall Street  
At another shop, All Keys Glass in ricane Andrew helped prevent damage, the high winds that accompanied the  
Marathon, Fla., employees had no time early assessments indicate that products storm.  
The feedback we’re hearing is pos-  
itive,” Rusty Payton, chief executive of  
the Florida Home Builders Association,  
told the newspaper.“We’re all interested  
and there will be a deep dive.It appears  
that it (the new code) did its job.”  
New homes in Florida are designed  
with cinder block masonry construc-  
tion, stronger roofs, and impact-resis-  
tant doors and windows.  
“Impact-resistant windows and  
doors are a quickly expanding seg-  
ment of the overall market, with sales  
expected to climb 7.5 percent annually  
over the next five years,” says Freedo-  
nia Group analyst Carolyn Zulandt.  
According to Freedonia, at-risk areas  
might be getting a wake-up call be-  
cause of the recent storm activity, and  
that’s expected to boost investment in  
stronger fenestration products. Law-  
makers in coastal states that have been  
slow to adopt stronger building codes  
could re-evaluate standards for doors  
and windows.  
Business Continuity:  
Being Prepared is the Key  
ccording to the Insurance Institute for Building and Home Safety  
IBHS), one in four businesses that close for at least 24 hours after  
a disaster never reopen. In the aftermath of Andrew, 3,300 miles of  
power lines, 3,000 water mains and 9,500 traffic signs and signals were  
destroyed. That left about 1.4 million people without electricity—many for  
months—and forced many undamaged businesses to close.  
IBHS says it’s vital for businesses to plan ahead for disasters. For example,  
they urge companies to have generators on hand to keep the power on.  
The organization also recommends setting up a plan to keep employees  
informed about the status of the business. After Andrew, more than 150,000  
homes and businesses lost phone service for weeks. In an era before every-  
one had a cellphone in their pocket, no landline telephones made communi-  
cations for many South Florida businesses difficult, if not impossible.  
After the storm, use multiple communications channels such as phone  
trees, social media and intranet site postings to let employees know where  
and when to report to work, where employees should direct questions, and  
when and where more details about the disaster will be available,” a recent  
IBHS report reads. “Also, provide capability for employees to update their  
status, availability and needs. Once the facility has completed its recovery  
period, implement a feedback process for all employees to provide input and  
experiences to improve planning for future events.”  
continued on page 56  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | October 2017  
TcornytiinnugedtofroRmepaasgoen54with Hurricane Season  
Building Codes: A Closer Look  
n 2002, Florida adopted the Florida Building Code, which  
mandated that newly-built buildings must be able to with-  
stand hurricane-force winds and have shutters or impact-re-  
sistant glass to protect openings.  
Within a few years, all coastal states had adopted some form  
of hurricane windload codes.  
In 2015, a modification to the Florida Building Code took ef-  
fect that was poised to have a major effect on fenestration in-  
dustry companies doing business in Florida.  
Every opening in Florida has to meet the hurricane code,”  
said Jim Bell, the windstorm coordinator for ASSA ABLOY, during The K2 Summit door from Aldora Aluminum &  
a webinar for the Door and Hardware Institute. “Even if you build Glass Products was used in this Miami storefront,  
a dog house, it has to meet the hurricane code.”  
where it withstood the impact of Hurricane Irma.  
From Texas to Puerto Rico: Storms Take a Toll on Glass Companies  
he 2017 hurricane season  
won’t be quickly forgotten. Hur-  
ricanes Harvey in Texas, Irma in  
Florida and Maria in Puerto Rico were  
devastating, impacting business and  
operations for glass companies, as  
well as employees, in their respective  
“During both Hurricanes Harvey and  
Irma, our first priority was the safety of  
our employees and customers. We did  
the best we could to put everyone in a  
safe position given the information we  
had and to do so with minimal disrup-  
tion to business,” says Steve Schohan,  
marketing and communications man-  
ager with YKK AP America, which has Debris from Hurricane Irma litters the side of a road in Florida. The storm  
U.S. headquarters in Austell, Ga., as caused billions of dollars of damage across the state.  
well as operations in both Texas and  
Florida. “In Houston, we closed down before and after the storms. We had customers by giving those with flood  
our facility temporarily and ran all or- some customers that saw no disrup- damage free glass if needed. We’re  
ders through Dallas. Shipping was tion and some that requested to hold giving the glass at no cost to them,  
impacted post-storm because carriers shipments during that time.”  
weren’t running to low-lying areas, but Irene Lopez, vice president of M.I. so fortunate for us to have no dam-  
all orders were ultimately fulfilled. In Glass Inc., in Houston, says her com- age, so we want to help others.”  
the Southeast, we closed our Orlando pany is doing great. It was not affected Kevin Carey, executive vice presi-  
facility to allow time to prepare for by the floods, though surrounding dent of Dynamic Glass in Grand Prai-  
the storm. Our production and ship- areas were. rie, Texas, says his company was only  
ping facilities in Georgia, as well as “Employees of some other glass down for a couple days; the people  
and paying for it out of pocket. It was  
our headquarters, closed on Monday, companies lost everything. It was and their personal possessions were  
September 11, during the storm. Our unbelievable to see the damage. It’s hit the hardest. The company had sev-  
customer excellence team worked great to see now how all of our com- eral team members lose almost every-  
hard to communicate frequently and munities are helping each other,”  
coordinate closely with customers she says. “M.I. Glass is helping our  
continued on page 58  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | October 2017  
TcornytiinnugedtofroRmepaasgoen56with Hurricane Season  
thing as a result of the hurricane.  
We have pulled together as a fam-  
ily to help those who have lost, but  
we know the road to recovery will be  
long,” he says.  
As for material and projects, Carey  
says the company faired pretty well.  
Our biggest loss was stolen equip-  
ment from people taking advantage of  
the hurricane, which was very disap-  
pointing to see,” he says.  
Chris Sezonov, owner of Hous-  
ton-based Clarity Glass Wholesalers,  
says that while Hurricane Harvey  
didn’t impact the company’s daily  
operations, it most certainly affected A lot of tempered glass panels in balustrades broke during Hurricane Irma.  
customers and employees.  
We are still dealing with the after- be addressed within ASTM.  
math of the storm and will for weeks  
Those pieces then acted as windborne debris, a concern that may need to  
to come. We have seen an adverse suming. We believe it will be a longer ever because of Hurricane Irma and  
impact on our customers with some cycle on clean-up before rebuilding this entire hurricane season.  
temporarily or permanently shut takes place.”  
down. Jobsites, in most cases, are eas- Overall as a company, Silverstein back from people with non-impact-re-  
ily navigated, but some remain unopen says they were fortunate. sistant windows and shutters that  
with no anticipated reopen date. This “We had four production facilities in they experienced glass shattering  
will be a yearlong recovery for some of jeopardy and only lost power in three when hit with debris or the noise of  
our customers, if not longer.” of them for a few days. Our employ- the storm was almost unbearable,”  
Glass and glazing industry compa- ees all fared well, with power outages he says. “We’ve also heard stories of  
nies in Florida also felt disruptions as being the main concern.” plywood protection flying off homes  
a result of Hurricane Irma. As Leon Sil- PGT Innovations is another Florida during the fierce winds of the storm.  
verstein, CEO of Aldora Aluminum and company that suffered only minor Most importantly, we have heard nu-  
Glass Products explains, a storm like disruptions. merous stories that our product saved  
Irma is at least a two-week event. “We are thankful Hurricane Irma lives and made riding out the storm a  
The week prior to landfall, custom- did not damage the PGT Innovations’ little less stressful because they knew  
“We have already received feed-  
ers stop receiving product because facilities, and its inventories were not they were protected. Stories like these  
their focus shifts to buttoning down harmed by Hurricane Irma. Within reinforce that what we do matters.”  
jobsites or getting their personal af- days of the storm, power was restored  
He added that members of his com-  
fairs in order, or possibly evacuating. to our plants located in Miami, Or- pany’s engineering team are joining a  
Our plants began shutting down prior lando and Venice,” says Jeff Jackson, research team from the University of  
to the storm to allow employees to president of PGT Innovations. “We Florida to assess damage post-storm  
take care of their homes and fami- made it a priority for every customer to better understand how whole build-  
lies,” Silverstein says. “Post storm, to be contacted by our team following ings weathered Hurricane Irma.  
work is slow with power outages and the storm to determine if they needed  
“Together we will assess damaged  
jobsites being cleaned up prior to essential supplies and how we could buildings, taking into account what  
work re-commencing. We anticipate help. Shipping schedules were ad- building codes were used for the  
everyone feeling a short-term cash justed to accommodate customers structure, and how damaged build-  
flow crunch with a decrease of activ- based on their particular situation. ings fared compared to surrounding  
ity, but a long-term rebound once re- Thankfully, we found the largest ma- structures, and collecting data on  
building begins. We do have export jority of our customers were ready to their performance. We will take these  
customers in the Caribbean, and we take shipments earlier this week.”  
are not certain how they did or when Jackson says the awareness for im- duce even better products that will  
we can anticipate normal activity re- pact glazing products is greater than help protect families.”  
key learnings and apply them to pro-  
continued on page 60  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | October 2017  
TcornytiinnugedtofroRmepaasgoen58with Hurricane Season  
After the Storm: Hurricane Irma’s Impact on Glass  
n the days following Hurricane maintaining closure of the building constructions with monolithic outer  
Irma, Dr. Scott Norville, professor, envelope, thus reducing insurance lites should be looked at seriously  
Department of Civil, Environmen- losses,” he says, “and I suppose if because breakage of the monolithic  
tal, and Construction Engineering at people stayed in condos or homes with outer lite causes problems for windows  
Texas Tech University, visited a number impact-resistant glazing, they were in buildings downwind. It’s the same  
of impacted areas, including Miami, much safer than they might have been thing with glass balustrade panels.”  
Homestead, Marco Island, Naples, Bo- before the codes went into effect. Of  
One thing to remember, Rigot adds,  
nita Springs and Fort Meyers to assess course, no matter what glass they have is that there are older buildings con-  
damage. As a whole, he says, the glass in their facility, if a mandatory evacu- structed pre-code that still had tem-  
damage in almost all of the areas was ation is ordered, people should leave pered glass in the facades.  
less than he had expected.  
the area if at all possible.” “A lot of these buildings will go  
Insurance assessments are still back in with the original permit with  
In Miami, when I arrived on Thurs-  
day evening, the biggest signs that a being done, and it will be some time the same glass as before,” says Rigot,  
hurricane had occurred were traffic before we know the true cost of Irma’s explaining that the code allows for the  
signal outages, shuttered windows damage. But as far as the glazing spe- use of “like construction” at the time  
and roadside debris. On Friday and cifically, Norville says there are some of the original permit. He says he’d  
Saturday morning, I wandered around lessons to be learned.  
Miami Beach and Brickell Avenue in “One commercial building was laminated glass or something to help  
downtown Miami. There was an area glazed with a system that had an ex- prevent more glass blowout.  
like to see this amended to require  
along Brickell Avenue between about terior monolithic tempered ply with an  
“There will be other Irmas and hur-  
the 1000 block and the 1500 block interior laminated ply. For the build- ricanes in South Florida,” he says. “I  
where, bad news, a lot of breakage ing, the system (for the most part) recommend upgrading to laminated  
occurred,” he says. “The good news is did its job and maintained closure of glass.”  
that in the buildings to which I could nearly all the openings. Unfortunately,  
Another consideration for the fu-  
gain entrance, the impact-resistant as many as 500 of the sacrificial outer ture, according to Norville, is that  
glazing did its job and the building en- plies fractured; the cause is unknown, standards must find a way to ensure  
velopes remained closed. I think the but I suspect windborne debris im- glass shards adhere to interlayer  
damage resulting from glass break- pact,” he says. “The tempered sacri- materials in both impact-resistant  
age and open building envelopes ficial plies contributed a lot of debris windows and balustrade lites when  
was a lot less than one would have (being tempered glass shards) to the subjected to post-breakage loads  
expected from this hurricane.”  
Jeff Rigot, who handles southeast- would have been similar to roof gravel water and additional debris impacts.  
ern sales for Viracon, is based in Fort in Houston in Hurricane Alicia (1983) One other issue on Marco Island  
Myers, Fla. He agrees that from his and other past storms that impacted was a lot of roof and siding failures.  
initial assessment, impact glazing metropolitan areas.” “Roof tiles and metal or wood pan-  
products performed well. He adds that an even bigger prob- els flying around in the wind field  
I was in Miami the week after Irma, lem that will need to be addressed, presents serious hazards to other  
looking at damage. The short answer possibly within ASTM, involves mono- structures,” Norville says. “Better  
is the hurricane products performed lithic glass balustrade panels. methods must be developed to en-  
admirably in Irma, keeping buildings “A lot of tempered glass panels sure these items do not detach. While  
wind field. The tempered glass shards from hurricane winds, along with  
from breaching where impact glass broke on highrise apartment/con- this is not a direct glass problem, the  
was used,” says Rigot. “I think the dominium buildings and contributed heavy flying debris creates problems  
main takeaway will be that code re- debris to the wind field. In addition, for glass downwind.” n  
quirements really did their job. I’m some laminated panels broke on one  
not aware of any hurricane-built and building, and a lot of the glass shards  
constructed buildings that had any fell from the interlayer material,” he  
T r e y B a r r i n e a u is the editor  
of DWM magazine, a USGlass sister  
publication. E l l e n R o g e r s and  
J o r d a n S c o t t are the editor and  
editorial assistant respectively of  
USGlass magazine.  
says. “This issue must be addressed,  
In a way, Irma was a test to see because shards falling from mono-  
just how well the stringent codes put lithic panels or laminated panels act  
in place after Andrew would fare. Ac- as windborne debris to break more  
cording to Norville, they worked.  
glass and present other hazards.”  
He adds, “Impact-resistant glass  
“I attribute the stringent codes with  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | October 2017  

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