HVHZ and You

Blue water, beaches and relief from personal income taxation are a few reasons that make living in South Florida extra special; another is the High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) which is comprised of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

The damage Hurricane Andrew visited upon South Florida in 1992 brought about a more stringent Florida Building Code (FBC), strengthened its enforcement and created a more exacting system of product approval. The designation of the High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) dictates that building products used within the zone are laboratory-tested to meet advanced standards of performance under the stress of extreme wind and pressure, and manufactured according to a quality assurance program that is third party approved.

In order to meet FBC and HVHZ standards, impact glass windows are large and small missile tested. Large missile testing is conducted by firing a nine pound, six foot long 2x4 piece of lumber at 50 feet per second from a cannon at the window system. The lumber is fired at the center of the window, again at a side of the window and then at the window’s frame. Once the projectile impact testing is complete, a pressure wall applies positive and negative air pressure that pushes and pulls against the glass 4,500 times each way to simulate the forces the window system will experience during a hurricane.

Small missile testing subjects the window system to various strikes from 30 pellets traveling at 80 feet per second. By withstanding small and large missile testing and remaining intact, the FBC compliance of the window system is proven and the window system’s performance in the HVHZ is ensured. The window glass may shatter but the important result is that it remains in one piece and continues to repel the elements and debris.