Volume 8, Issue 3 - March 2007
Spring Break in Saint Augustine?
The Florida Building Commission’s (FBC) 2007 building code development process gets underway in March with two separate weeks of activity. First, the Florida technical advisory committees (TAC) will meet to review proposed modifications to the Florida codes during the week of March 12. These sessions arrive on the heels of the February FBC meetings.
A Matter of Life
By embarking on this new code development cycle, the FBC hopes to integrate the 2006 International Codes, with Florida-specific amendments, into the state’s construction requirements. After the February TAC meetings, the FBC will review recommendations during the second week of May in Tampa and issue its findings.
The code-plus programs included in the insurance bill will lead to opportunities for products and systems that are able to demonstrate enhanced performance in tropical storm and hurricane conditions. The catch is that any properties that depend upon the “Citizens Property Insurance” program after January 1, 2009, will be required to implement the code-plus program. This defacto mandatory requirement provides a challenge and opportunity to door and window producers.
A Testing Challenge
There are cyclic pressure measurements contained within the current testing requirements under ASTM E1996 that might be considered when combining impact and pressure testing. The window industry will need to provide demonstrated levels of enhanced performance under existing test protocols (or with newly developed test criteria) to satisfy the FBC and the Florida legislature that windows will be an important component of such a code-plus program. The FBC work plan will require a report on the code-plus plan in its 2008 report to the state legislature. That timetable does not leave a lot of time for standard development.
With the needs of the changing environment in mind, WDMA will continue to produce and foster standards that aid the construction community in meeting code and regulatory requirements. And, as the demand from regulators, insurers and consumers for stronger construction continues to escalate, the value of high-performance window systems tested to tougher standards will continue to increase. Homebuilders will look to the fenestration industry to push the envelope with stronger products.
Michael Fischer of the Kellen Company serves as director of codes and regulatory compliance for the Window and Door Manufacturers Association. He may be reached at MFischer@wdma.com.