Three models of BILCO roof hatches approved for hurricanes, wind
BILCO Company now offers additional standard size roof hatches approved for hurricane and wind resistance by the Miami-Dade County Building Code Compliance Office and the Florida Building Commission. Roof hatches provide safe and convenient access to roof areas by means of an interior ladder, ship staircase or service staircase.
BILCO has added the standard size 36 ”x36” (Type E), 48 ”X48” (Type F) and 30 ”x96” (Type L) roof hatches to its line of specialty access products approved to withstand extreme weather conditions, joining the company’s S and NB sizes that were previously offered. Hatches are specifically designed and tested to withstand hurricanes and extreme weather systems, and the new sizes provide more options for architects specifying roof hatches for projects located in hurricane areas.
BILCO worked with the Miami-Dade County Building Code Compliance Office and the Florida Building Commission to determine the test application standards that would be required for roof hatches. The products had to withstand a stringent lab test sequence to gain Miami-Dade County Notice of Acceptance (NOA).
To test the ability to withstand strong hurricane winds, the uniform static air pressure test, according to TAS 202, was first used on roof hatches. The hatches were placed in a test chamber and a lifting force of 70 pounds per square foot (PSF) was applied to the underside of the covers. After a brief recovery period, a downward pulling force of 70 PSF was applied, and the test was then repeated using a force of 140 PSF. In addition, pressurized water, simulating wind-driven rain, was sprayed directly onto the hatches for 15 minutes to assess their tightness in these demanding conditions.
At the end of these tests, the BILCO hatches retained their integrity, the lids remaining closed and the seal around the entire perimeter ensuring perfect weather tightness.
BILCO hatches were also tested to detect the impact of wind-blown debris. The impact test, TAS 201, consisted of a 9-foot, 2 × 4-inch piece of lumber being 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 the BILCO hatches withstood impact and the heavy duty snap locks ensured that the lids remained closed. Only minor dents and indentations resulted from the large projectile test.
BILCO products have also passed a cyclic load test at wind pressure. This test, TAS 203, subjected the roof hatches to a force of 140 PSF which alternated between uplift and downdraft and was applied for 671 cycles. The test measured the degree of deformation in the roof hatch covers and again examined the integrity of the products after testing. The resulting deformation on BILCO products did not exceed specified tolerances, confirming the ability to withstand cyclic wind pressures over a significant period of time. Testing was performed by certified testing labs in Orlando, Florida.