AAMA Starts Evaluation of Rating Method for Hurricane Rain Resistance

July 30, 2008

The American Architectural Manufacturers Association recently started a yearlong review process to evaluate AAMA 520, a new specification designed for rating the severe wind-driven rain resistance of windows and doors.

The new test protocols were developed at the urging of the Florida Building Commission following the unusually strong 2004 hurricane season, explains Rich Walker, AAMA president and CEO. During the storms of that year, windows and doors designed for impact resistance generally performed well on that front. Those stringent requirements raised expectations about the water resistance of these products, however, leading to some calls for even higher performance standards. “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,” Walker says. “The resulting document will serve as an elevated performance characterization but is not intended for building code adoption and enforcement.”

“Without a doubt, once released, these specifications will represent the most stringent test standards of their kind in the industry today,” adds John Lewis, AAMA’s technical director, who also notes 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,” Lewis adds. “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.”

Following the 12-month process, the final document is expected to be published next summer—well in advance of the 2009 hurricane season.