Building Commission Meets, Hears Results of Applied Research Associates
The Florida Building Commission (FBC) met earlier this week to
receive the results of two studies regarding hurricane protection
in the Gulf Coast. The University of Florida Field Study of Hurricane
Season 2004 and the Panhandle study performed by Applied Research
Associates were both presented to the FBC.
Applied Research Associates (ARA) conducted the study of the Florida
panhandle and reported that its findings show a correlation between
the amount of wind-borne debris damage and tree density in the surrounding
area, rather than wind speed, a finding determined by a cost-benefit
Some in the audience were concerned that the results would spur
the FBC to consider a possible reduction of the current wind-borne
debris region as currently defined by ASCE 7, a move that many in
the building industry do not support or advocate for a variety of
reasons. These include: the fact that tree coverage is not regulated-nothing
prevents a community from clear cutting trees and exposing existing
development-and that taller buildings would be required to do more
and more extensive work to meet safety requirements based on these
Applied Research Associates is expected to continue the study and
look more closely at the wind-borne debris region by tree density,
rather than wind speed.
The FBC considered three options as definitions for the wind-borne
debris region of the panhandle:
A Maintain the one mile limitation from the water;
B Move inland to the 130 mph contour and include an additional
1,500 feet if on bays;
C Move inland to the 120 mph contour (which is in accordance with
the definition in ASCE 7).
Though homebuilders who attended the meeting spoke in favor of
option A and ARA supported options B and C (advocating option C
but willing to accept option B) the FBC ultimately voted to move
inland to the 130 mph contour and include an additional 1,500 feet
if on bays.
The FBC will have another supplementary meeting on this issue on
HERE to read the studies.