Nature has provided the construction industry with its own natural hurricane lab – Florida. Out of the destruction of hurricanes have come significant innovations in building materials and code improvements. GCI has been at the forefront of these improvements, lending their expertise to new construction, hurricane-ravaged buildings, and beachfront properties. These are some of the more notable developments that GCI has seen over the years:
Glazing System Frame Construction / Materials
Glazing systems have been continually upgraded for better performance during severe conditions. Although there are no impervious systems, there has been steady improvement in structural performance, impact resistance, and water infiltration resistance of these systems.
The glass in these systems has also come a long way since Hurricane Andrew. Laminated glass installed in a tested glazing system helps to protect against flying debris, as was seen most notably in Hurricane Andrew. Impact-resistant glass, which now meets Florida’s tough building codes, can prevent a breach of the building envelope and the resulting catastrophic damage.
Manufacturers have made incredible strides in the components and fabrication of laminated glass. Some early versions had problems with degradation or discoloration, but today’s products remain clear, and offer additional benefits such as improved acoustics, energy performance and even added safety and security from intruders.
Construction is Key
While glazing system and glass manufacturers have made tremendous strides in improving quality, there are still building construction issues to be resolved. Improperly installed windows, choosing outdated or inferior materials and using inexperienced labor can still create problems. Fortunately, Florida’s stringent building codes are helping to improve the way buildings are built, especially in vulnerable counties such as Miami/Dade. There are plenty of mistakes still being made, but there are also many responsible building owners who are doing the right thing to ensure their buildings will be ready for the next Big One.