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USGNN Original StoryStimulus Funding May Bring Growth for Hurricane Glazing Applications
April 14, 2009

The recently passed federal stimulus package may just bring some good news for commercial construction projects requiring hurricane- and impact-glazing systems. According to David Rinehart with DuPont Glass Laminating Solutions there are three prime areas that could benefit from stimulus dollars.

One area, he says, involves federal applications that require both bomb-blast mitigation and hurricane protection, such as military bases, many of which are located in hurricane-prone regions. According to Rinehart, there may soon be a need to build more military-base housing for troops returning to the United States; these applications will require impact protection.

In addition, Rinehart says federally funded medical centers, such as VA hospitals in hurricane zones, may also wish to retrofit existing locations and build new facilities. These would require hurricane protection.

Educational facilities are the third area that could benefit from stimulus funding.

"Florida in particular is receiving a significant amount of funding," Rinehart told USGNN.com™. "While not all of it will go toward construction, the state is looking to earmark about half [for building or retrofitting] schools."

With the prospect of increasing construction that would require hurricane protection, glass fabricators and glazing contractors in these regions are well positioned to also benefit. Rinehart says it's important for glass companies to know and understand the code requirements for the different areas. He explains many companies often equate hurricane-requirements to the Miami-Dade code.

"Miami-Dade is high-velocity and only Southeastern Florida is subjected to requiring those systems," says Rinehart. "There are other systems on the market that can withstand hurricane requirements for areas not required to meet the Miami-Dade code."

Rinehart adds that, with Florida's construction market particularly slow, now is a good time to explore opportunities outside that state; areas such as Texas, New Orleans, the Carolinas and even Hawaii.

"In these areas the requirements are not as stringent as South Florida," says Rinehart.

But before a hurricane system can hit the market, it must be tested to ensure maximum protection. Rinehart says that since it will take some time before the stimulus funding sees full growth, now is the right time for companies to start testing and preparing their systems.

"Testing is a long process, so now is a good time [for companies] to begin doing so to ensure the system will meet the requirements for individual areas," says Rinehart.

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