Impact Will Ike Leave?
While codes are written to protect building occupants, every so
often there comes along an event that sets terrible new precedents.
Hurricane Andrew caused more than $26.5 billion of damage and led
to significantly more stringent building codes in the Florida market
HERE to read more) and only three years ago Hurricane Katrina
led to Louisiana's adoption of a statewide building code (CLICK
HERE to read more). While Ike, which hit Texas on September
13, has drawn comparisons to earlier hurricanes (CLICK
HERE to read "Ike Worse than Alicia"), what impact
might the damage, estimated by the Insurance Information Institute
at $11 billion, have on future codes?
"Alicia happened 25 years ago, and a lot has changed in that
time in regards to the availability of protective language in the
model building codes and in protective products," comments
Julia Schimmelpenningh, architectural applications manager of Saflex,
a unit of Solutia Inc., in Springfield, Mass. "Texas currently
requires enforcement of model building codes for cities (not counties)
and allows local modifications that can weaken or eliminate wind-borne
debris protection. Most cities have not removed the wind-borne debris
protection requirements, but some counties are not focused on enforcement.
Fortunately, the Texas Department of Insurance enforces stringent
wind-borne debris provisions for the state insurance program and
I am sure their phones will be ringing in the next few days and
weeks to help other municipalities in their consideration of enhanced
requirements for their re-built communities."
In addition to changing codes, hurricane-resistant products continue
"Glass breakage caused by Hurricane Ike reinforces the importance
of impact-resistant glazing in areas of the country that are subjected
to windborne debris," says Valerie Block, CDT, LEED AP, senior
marketing specialist for DuPont Glass Laminating Solutions in Wilmington,
Del. "We have seen the effects of broken glass after other
storms in Texas and elsewhere resulting in massive clean up, board-up
and glass replacement-not to mention the possibility of significant
interior damage. Impact-resistant glazing is designed to remain
intact, serving as a barrier to the elements even if broken."
The most likely first step is for counties that have adopted codes
to begin enforcing codes already in place.
"I would think that we will see more Texas municipalities
adopting and enforcing the protective language in the model buildings
codes, just as we saw the areas affected by Katrina do in her aftermath,"
For more on hurricane codes around the world, look for the September
issue of USGlass magazine.
Need more info and analysis about the issues?
HERE to subscribe to USGlass magazine.