The BILCO Company now offers additional standard-sized roof hatches that are approved for hurricane and wind resistance by the Miami-Dade County Building Code Compliance Office and Florida Building Commission. Roof hatches provide safe and convenient access to roof areas by means of an interior ladder, ship stair, or service stair.
BILCO has added the 36”x36” (Type E), 48”X48” (Type F), and 30”x96” (Type L) standard size-size roof hatches to its line of specialty access products approved to withstand severe weather conditions, joining the company’s S and NB sizes which were previously offered. The hatches are specifically designed and tested to withstand hurricanes and severe weather systems, and the new sizes offer more options for architects who are specifying roof hatches for projects located in hurricane zones.
BILCO collaborated with the Miami-Dade County Building Code Compliance Office and Florida Building Commission to determine which Testing Application Standards would be required for roof hatches. The products were required to withstand a sequence of demanding laboratory tests to gain Miami-Dade County’s Notice of Acceptance (NOA).
To test the ability to endure high hurricane winds, the Uniform Static Air Pressure Test, per TAS 202, was first employed on the roof hatches. The hatches were placed in a test chamber and a 70 pound per square foot (PSF) uplift force was applied to the underside of the covers. After a brief recovery period, a downdraft force of 70 PSF was applied, and the test was then repeated using a force of 140 PSF. Additionally, pressurized water, simulating wind-driven rain, was sprayed directly on the hatches for 15 minutes to assess their water-tightness in these demanding conditions.
At the end of these tests, BILCO hatches maintained their integrity as the covers remained closed and the full-perimeter gasketing ensured complete weather-tightness.
BILCO hatches were also tested for the impact of wind-borne debris. The impact test, TAS 201, consisted of a 9-foot, 2×4 inch piece of lumber propelled toward the products at a speed of 50 feet per second. The test measured the damage and integrity of the roof hatch after impact. The heavy-gauge construction of BILCO hatches withstood the impact and the heavy-duty slam latches ensured that the covers remained closed. Only minor dents and impressions resulted from the large projectile test.
BILCO’s products also passed a Cyclic Wind-Pressure Loading test. This test, TAS 203, subjected the roof hatches to a 140 PSF force that alternated between uplift and downdraft and was applied for 671 cycles. The test measured the amount of deflection in the roof hatch covers and again examined the products’ integrity after testing. The resulting deflection on BILCO products did not exceed the specified tolerances, confirming the ability to withstand cyclic wind pressures over a significant period of time. The tests were performed by Certified Testing Laboratories in Orlando, FL.