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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Oct. 6, 2017 2 years ago

Damage done

And now it's time to study the aftermath.

Employees from Venice-based window and door manufacturer PGT Innovations are helping a statewide effort to study post-Hurricane Irma damage to buildings in some of the harder hit areas.

PGT Director of Product Management Dean Ruark recently traveled to the Florida Keys, for example, to do an initial assessment. From a preliminary view, Ruark says it looked like homes built with newer codes fared better than older homes. “A lot of the new codes are absolutely working and performing,” he says.

PGT was involved in developing stronger building codes after Hurricane Andrew hit Florida in 1992. “It's great to be part of a company that has a devotion to getting on the ground,” he says.

The current post-storm assessment effort is sponsored by the Florida Building Commission and led by David Prevatt of the University of Florida's Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering.

“For us as a company, we'll continue to gather data and look at product performance,” Ruark says. “We design all of our own impact-resistant window systems, we design for the coast and for hurricanes. We feel we get a much better representation from being there and talking to homeowners.”

Ruark and others helping with the assessment submit information to UF about the construction type of a home, whether it has impact-resistant windows and the damage it faced, along with photos of each elevation and the surrounding area to determine how it fared compared with others in the area. Ruark and engineers Lynn Miller and Robert Beaird from PGT will take another trip to the area to investigate more damage soon.

“We're providing primary research data to make sure future codes have the right provisions within them,” he says. “I think there will be some talk of enforcing the codes that we have. We'll find for the most part that a lot of the provisions that need to go into the codes are there.”

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