American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) has begun a 12-month review to evaluate AAMA 520, Voluntary Specification for Rating the Severe Wind-Driven Rain Resistance of Windows, Doors and Unit Skylights. The final document is expected to be published next summer, in advance of the 2009 hurricane season.
According to John Lewis, AAMA’s technical director, once final revisions to the introduction for AAMA 520 are approved by the AAMA Southeast Region Technical Committee, a preliminary copy will be shared with AAMA-accredited testing laboratories and other members to ensure the specifications are clear and the test protocols yield repeatable results.
“The participants’ input will help validate testing equipment and procedures and evaluate a selection of current, hurricane impact-resistant windows,” says Lewis. “Without a doubt, once released, these specifications will represent the most stringent test standards of their kind in the industry today.”
Says AAMA’s president and CEO Rich Walker, “Following the 2004 hurricane season’s destructive power and the property damage of wind-driven rains, the Florida Building Commission sought out AAMA’s Southeast Region organization. At the FBC’s urging, we have assessed current test methods and developed a standard of performance for testing windows to enhance their ability to resist water penetration under hurricane conditions. The resulting document will serve as an elevated performance characterization but is not intended for building code adoption and enforcement.”
Lewis explains that the majority of door and window testing is based on AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440. “This standard relies on static pressure tests for evaluating structural performance and resistance to water penetration. The goal of AAMA 520 is to better replicate hurricane conditions using a rapid pulsating test with computer-controlled cycling of high and low pressures.”
Scott Warner, AAMA Southeast Region president and executive vice president of Architectural Testing, Inc. in York, PA, also notes that AAMA is simultaneously working with ASTM to modify the existing ASTM E 2268 Standard Test Method for Water Penetration of Exterior Windows, Skylights and Doors by Rapid Pulsed Air Pressure Difference, which is referenced in the AAMA 520 voluntary specification.
“AAMA’s ongoing and collaborative efforts are paving the way for products to be better able to withstand the onslaught of a hurricane — something of interest to code officials, architects, builders, and insurance companies who serve the 53% of Americans (153 million in all) that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) reports as living within coastal regions.” Walker concludes, “With so many people affected by this, it’s critical that we have full confidence in these guidelines.”
To learn more about AAMA 520, Voluntary Specification for Rating the Severe Wind-Driven Rain Resistance of Windows, Doors and Unit Skylights, visit www.aamanet.org.
AAMA is the source of performance standards, product certification, and educational programs for the fenestration industry.(SM)