Hurricane certifications and Dade County

The outcome of the hurricane

Dade County is located on the southernmost tip of the state of Florida in the U.S.A. In August of 1992, a significant portion of Dade County and the surrounding region was devastated by Hurricane Andrew. After investigating the destruction, it was determined that a major cause was the ineffective adherence to the building code and windborne debris impacts. As such, Dade County sought out experts and devised test methods for building and construction materials, as well as implemented some of the toughest building codes in the country. Their product control group monitors each application to ensure testing compliance of components and systems.
 

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One of the changes implemented was the requirement for impact-resistant fenestration. Borrowing from Australia and adjusting to meet the needs and capability of test labs, the new Dade County impact criteria were born. More than 25 years later, their code and enforcement has been shown to provide substantial resistance to even the largest and strongest hurricanes.

The criteria for windows and doors actually occur on at least two levels. Not only do the components of a glazing system—like Saflex® and Vanceva® PVB interlayers—need to meet performance requirements after weathering, but the frame into which the laminated glass is placed as well as the attachment of the frame to the surrounding structure must also pass as a system.

The testing of the system typically involves impacting the glass portion of the system twice with a timber traveling at 15 m/sec (34 mph)—once in the center and once in a corner. Depending on the system, a shot at the frame or mullion may also be necessary. Once the system passes impact testing, it is then cycled 9000 times: 4500 times to simulate positive pressure and 4500 times to simulate negative pressure. These cycles ramp up and tail off, just as a storm would when passing through an area. If the system passes the impact and the cycling on three units without a large opening or tear, the system is passes and can be submitted for a Dade County Notice of Acceptance (NOA).

 

Saflex and Vanceva PVB interlayer products must be qualified as a component for inclusion into a fenestration system that is sold into Dade County.

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As such, the interlayers have their own NOAs, which are listed in the following section. The NOAs are available on Eastman’s website. All glass using Saflex and Vanceva interlayers must carry a mark on the glass. The specifics of that mark are outlined in each of the NOAs.

  • Saflex® Clear and Vanceva® Color interlayer (including Saflex R [Standard], Q [Acoustic], S [Solar] and Vanceva)—Number: 17-0712.05;* Expiration date: May 21, 2021
  • Saflex® HP Clear and color interlayer (including Saflex DM and DG)—Number: 18-0301.05;* Expiration date: April 14, 2023
  • Saflex® CP (Saflex composite interlayer with PET core, including Saflex Storm/ VSO2)—Number: 18-0301.06;* Expiration date: December 11, 2023

*Note: these numbers are subject to reissue pending code adoption in the state of Florida.

Eastman has an authorization system for laminators. Contact an Eastman representative for further details. Laminators qualified through this system appear on a listing held by Dade County Product Control.

Dade County acceptance spans outside of the actual bounds of the county. Neighboring counties such as Collard and Broward also adopted the requirements created by Dade after Hurricane Andrew. Since then, the entire state of Florida has adopted language in their state building code that requires severe wind impact protection along the coastline and to a certain distances inward. In fact, Dade County was such a trendsetter that the entire East Coast of the United States, regions along the Gulf of Mexico, the Hawaiian Islands, and the Caribbean and Puerto Rico have adopted some form of hurricane protection stemming from their model and success.