AAMA Task Group to Develop Standards for Window Performance Under Hurricane Conditions: Seeks Input from Industry

To ensure more reliable door and window performance in the most extreme wind driven rain conditions, testing is being evaluated by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) to assist in the development of a voluntary standard specification that includes a permissible level of water penetration during these events. Last fall, the AAMA Southeast Region formed a Hurricane Water Penetration Standard Development Task Group, with the specific objective of addressing the water control issue, according to Dean Lewis, AAMA certification manager.

"In the mid-1990s, AAMA was instrumental in developing hurricane performance standards for impact-resistant windows which were incorporated into building codes for Florida and other coastal regions," says Lewis. "The first priority of those codes was to upgrade structures in order to prevent damage from excessive winds and windborne debris. The ability of newer structures, which utilize impact-resistant windows and glass doors, to better withstand hurricanes has been clearly demonstrated over the last two years."

According to AAMA, a limited amount of water infiltration through a door or window must be anticipated in hurricane conditions. Thus, cycling test data is being gathered to measure indoor/outdoor pressure differentials due to hurricane wind-gusting and turbulent wind flow, according to Lewis.

"At this preliminary stage, the permissible quantity of water that actually passes the inner plane of the product is targeted to be no more than two ounces after 300 pulsating wind cycles. This translates to approximately two ounces of water every ten minutes during a 100 mph hurricane," says Lewis. "Although it is possible to design a window or door that is leakproof under the most severe conditions, AAMA's goal is to balance performance requirements with realistic design considerations -- and manufacturing costs."

As the AAMA task group moves forward with its goal of developing a voluntary performance standard, it is actively seeking input from window manufacturers and code officials. To learn more, e-mail Dean Lewis at dlewis@aamanet.org; call 847-303-5664; or write AAMA, 1827 Walden Office Square, Suite 550, Schaumburg, IL 60173.

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