Before Hurricane Andrew, the state had outdated building codes, shoddy construction and poor inspection practices.
The state adopted the IBC as a model, and adopted Florida-specific standards.
Included in this code was the development of a a wind-borne debris region. This code requires homes to have door and window protections for winds up to 120 mph. There were also new standards for roofing, more thorough inspections and products used in construction must meet approved hurricane standards. Buildings must meet standards for handling high velocity impact and wind borne debris.
SteelMaster’s metal Quonset HutsTM are specially engineered to handle wind from some of the most extreme storms. Previous storm surges from cyclones caused significant damage, but it was different with Hurricane Andrew. Andrew had wind gusts up to 165 mph when the eyewall passed through Miami-Dade. Now homes, especially those in enhanced hurricane protection areas, must be strong enough to withstand intense pressure caused by wind.
Florida adopted wind provisions from the ASCE-7 standards. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)is the organization that determines the building codes nationwide. SteelMaster creates buildings that meet current ICC-500 and ASCE-7 standards.
Our building was tested to gain Florida product approval. During the test, a 15 lb 2 x 4 wooden plank was hurled at one of our buildings at 100 mph. When the plank hit the side of the building, it barely left a dent in the steel. SteelMaster’s buildings are manufactured using prefabricated, commercial grade, high quality steel that will protect the items and people inside of the building.
With massive storms comes dangerous winds and storm surge. The storm surge, in most catastrophic storms, is what causes the majority of the damage. When a hurricane pushes huge amounts of water into a populated area, property can be severely damaged. Bare metal buildings can quickly rust out, but SteelMaster’s arches come with a special coating called Galvalume Plus that prevents this from happening. . This coating protects the building from normal wear and tear, but during a storm if the water rises, it won’t damage the steel.
Florida residents were just recently put to the test again when Hurricane Irma made landfall in the late summer of 2017. Irma was a powerful and catastrophic category 5 storm that came onshore packing winds over 150 mph. It had already devastated the Bahamas, Cuba, and the Caribbean before it hit southern Florida and traveled north to South Carolina and Georgia. This storm caused about $62 million dollars in damages, far surpassing the cost of Hurricane Andrew.
This time, many of the building in Irma’s path were ready. There was still significant damage in the region, and officials there are still trying to assess the full extent of the damages left behind.
Several SteelMaster customers say their buildings did well after Irma.
“Irma came through with a fury. A huge palm fell on my SteelMaster building built in ’91 and bounced off on to the ground. No damage!” says George Behary, a SteelMaster customer.