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The Miami-Dade County Missile Level Impact Rating

Illustration: Missile Level Impact Rating

This information on this page was last updated on July 10, 2024

What is the Missile Level Impact Rating?

The Missile Level Impact Rating refers to a classification system that measures the ability of building materials, such as windows and doors, to resist impacts from wind-borne debris during a hurricane. The term "missile" in this context does not refer to military weaponry but to any object that could be carried by strong winds and potentially cause significant damage upon impact.

Historical Context

The implementation of the Missile Level Impact Rating can be traced back to the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. This Category 5 hurricane caused extensive damage throughout South Florida, leading to a complete overhaul of building codes in the region. The devastation highlighted the need for stronger, more resilient structures capable of withstanding severe weather conditions.

Classification Levels

The rating system is divided into several levels, each indicating a different degree of impact resistance. The two primary categories are Large Missile Impact and Small Missile Impact:

  • Large Missile Impact (Level D): This test simulates the impact of a heavy object, such as a piece of lumber or a roof tile, traveling at high speeds. Typically, a 9-pound 2x4 piece of lumber is launched at speeds of up to 50 feet per second. Products that pass this test are considered suitable for use in the most vulnerable parts of a building, such as the first 30 feet above ground level.
  • Small Missile Impact: This test involves smaller projectiles, such as gravel or roofing material, traveling at high speeds. These tests are generally used for materials intended for use in areas less likely to be hit by large debris, such as higher floors of a building.

Testing and Certification

To achieve a Missile Level Impact Rating, building products must undergo rigorous testing. This process is typically conducted by certified laboratories using specialized equipment to simulate the conditions of a hurricane. The testing involves repeatedly launching projectiles at the product to ensure it can withstand multiple impacts without failing.

Products that pass these tests are then certified and listed by organizations such as the Miami-Dade County Product Control Section. This certification is crucial for manufacturers and builders, as it signifies that their products meet the highest standards of impact resistance.

Importance for Homeowners and Builders

For homeowners and builders in Miami-Dade County, adhering to these standards is not just a matter of compliance but a critical aspect of safety. Buildings constructed or retrofitted with materials that meet the Missile Level Impact Rating are far more likely to withstand the forces of a hurricane, reducing the risk of structural damage and injury.

Economic and Insurance Implications

Complying with the Missile Level Impact Rating also has significant economic and insurance benefits. Homes and buildings that meet these standards are often eligible for reduced insurance premiums due to the decreased risk of damage. Additionally, investing in impact-resistant materials can increase property values and provide peace of mind to homeowners.

Future Developments

As climate change continues to influence weather patterns, the importance of stringent building codes and impact resistance standards is likely to grow. Miami-Dade County remains at the forefront of this effort, continuously updating and refining its building codes to ensure they address emerging threats and incorporate the latest advancements in building materials and technology.

CGI Windows and Doors, Inc. Large Missile Testing

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