Three BILCO Roof Hatch Models Approved For Hurricanes, Wind

BILCO Company now offers additional standard size 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 offer safe and convenient access to roof areas via an inner ladder, ship stairs or service stairs.

BILCO has expanded its line of special access products approved for extreme weather conditions to include skylights in standard sizes of 36 x 36 inches (Type E), 48 x 48 inches (Type F) and 30 x 96 inches (Type L), which expand joins the company’s previously offered sizes S and NB. The hatches are specifically designed and tested to withstand hurricanes and storm systems, and the new sizes offer more options for architects specifying roof hatches for projects in hurricane zones.

BILCO worked with the Miami-Dade County Building Code Compliance Office and the Florida Building Commission to determine what inspection application standards are required for roof hatches. The products had to pass a number of demanding laboratory tests to receive the Miami-Dade County Notice of Regulatory Affairs (NOA).

In order to test the resistance to strong hurricane winds, the Uniform Static Air Pressure Test according to TAS 202 was first used on the roof hatches. The hatches were placed in a test chamber and a buoyancy force of 70 pounds per square foot (PSF) 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 with 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 watertightness under these demanding conditions.

At the end of these tests, the BILCO hatches retained their integrity as the covers remained closed and the circumferential seal ensured complete weatherproofing.

BILCO hatches have also been tested for the impact of debris carried by the wind. The impact test, TAS 201, consisted of a 2 by 4 inch piece of 9 foot (2 by 4 inch) wood that was thrown towards the products at a rate of 50 feet per second. The test measured the damage and integrity of the roof hatch after impact. The massive construction of the BILCO hatches withstood the impact and the heavy latch locks ensured that the covers remained closed. The large projectile test showed only minor dents and impressions.

BILCO products have also passed a cyclic wind pressure load test. In this test, TAS 203, the skylights were subjected to a force of 140 PSF, which alternated between upwind and downwind and was applied for 671 cycles. During the test, the deflection of the skylight covers was measured and, after the test, the integrity of the products was examined again. The resulting deflection of the BILCO products did not exceed the specified tolerances, which confirms the ability to withstand cyclical wind pressures for a significant period of time. The tests were conducted by Certified Testing Laboratories in Orlando, FL.

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