The New England coastline offers unforgettable views and a relaxed lifestyle that draws people to live there, resulting in construction opportunities. However, sometimes these projects are complex, requiring special consideration of the project site and coastal environment. The good news is, with the right product mix and careful evaluation, the coastal market offers huge potential for retailers and their customers. Recently, we caught up with Vin Andrews, Hastings’ Retail Business Development Manager in Rhode Island, for a closer look at some key points to consider when working on coastal projects.
Q – When it comes to coastal building, which are more stringent – building codes or insurance company requirements?
A – Building codes are meant to establish minimum standards for a structure. In certain areas, insurance company requirements supersede codes, exceeding local specifications. For example, in Wind-borne Debris Regions, the building code allows for the use of impact glazing, shutters or 7/16” plywood panels for storm reinforcement. In the same area, in order to qualify for coverage, an insurance company may require a homeowner to use a 5/8” pressure treated plywood panel instead.
Aside from these code requirements, there are other methods of protection that are often used on homes including motorized shutter systems and coated fabric panels, which are meant to reduce damage to windows and doors from flying debris during storms. In my experience, these products are much easier to use and store on-site than plywood panels. I recommend the use of these types of solutions as a supplement to Marvin’s products when used on the coast.
Q – What role does design pressure play in a coastal construction project? And what are some other project considerations?
A – Today’s changing weather patterns are forcing code changes in our coastal regions. Now more than ever you need to choose window and doors based on a more comprehensive criteria that includes performance. I once had someone say to me before a presentation, “Don’t bring up Design Pressure, it’s too complicated and you’ll lose the audience.” The truth is, understanding Design Pressure, why you need it, and how to calculate it is critical to every project located in coastal areas or Wind-borne Debris Regions. Because choosing products that meet the correct performance rating in your area is the key to maximum performance of the building.
Also, careful consideration should go into the topography and exposure of a project. Elevation changes could influence product performance needs and should be factored into window and door selection. For example, the performance needs of a house on a bluff overlooking the ocean are greater because it could experience a higher wind velocity due to where it is sited on the building lot, especially during storms. Many coastal project plans require the keen eye of an engineer to make calculations that ensure code compliance and site considerations.
Q – Are there any special steps that should be taken when it comes time to install windows in a coastal project?
A – Well, a house in a high wind or impact zone definitely require alternative installation methods. These methods may include using screws through the jamb and/or structural installation brackets. To ensure ideal installation, proper flashing and consideration of structural mulling assemblies are also important.
Q. Do you have anything else you would like to share?
A – Yes. The bottom line is that you should always take the time to do the research and weigh the factors that impact a successful coastal construction project. Ask lots of questions. The end result is a happy homeowner and potential future business opportunity. That’s always worth it.
At Hastings, we have a team of knowledgeable professionals who have collaborated on coastal projects for decades. Your sales representative and inside sales and support team are accessible throughout project planning. Consult with us early in the process so that we can work together to make recommendations that result in buildings that perform to their maximum potential on the coast.
Throughout the summer, other coastal building professionals will share their thoughts and experiences with us. In the meantime, if you have questions about a coastal project, contact the Hastings team. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call your Hastings Sales Representative.
Vin Andrews is Hastings Retail Business Development Manager for the state of Rhode Island and parts of Southeastern Massachusetts. He has over two decades of experience recommending windows and doors for coastal environments including commercial, institutional, residential and historic projects.