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High-Performance Impact Entrance Doors and Storefront Systems

A Brief Introduction to Level E Windows and Doors for Essential Facilities

by | Nov 30, 2021

We’ve Come a Long Way…

We’ve come a long way in improving hurricane resistant building products since Hurricane Andrew. But now, there are so many products flooding the market, it’s hard to know how to choose the right glazing products for your project. And more importantly, when you are designing for Level E (essential facilities), the choices you make could directly affect life safety. Level E represents perhaps the most significant upgrade to the current building codes, providing guidance for essential buildings such as hospitals, healthcare facilities, EMT call centers, fire, and police stations. Even schools deemed storm shelters that must remain operable during emergencies may be required to meet Level E.

“As awareness grows of the need for enhanced glazing impact protection (Level E) for essential facilities, so should the quality and product design for overall performance and sustainability,” says Ray Crawford, President, Crawford-Tracey Corporation, glazing contractor and commercial window manufacturer serving the Southeastern United States and the Caribbean. “During and after a hurricane or major wind event, special teams and responders need to perform their services without interruption. Leaks, water damage, and eventually mold are some of the problems that threaten essential facilities with lower quality or poor performing glazing systems. Water resistance is equally as significant for Level E protection.”

LEVEL E IMPACT DOORS & WINDOWS

Level E doors and windows are high performing, impact-resistant and fully functional before, during and after emergency events such as a hurricane. Oftentimes, these door systems are equipped with panic tools and alarms that allow time for security to arrive and prevent egress or forced entry.

So what dictates when and where Level E doors and windows are used?
1. Location — especially along coastal property where buildings can be impacted from flying debris and water infiltration.

2. Building use — any facility that requires a higher level of security as previously mentioned.

3. Product placement — not all entrances need high impact performance, but keep areas including entries to emergency rooms; maternity, dementia or psych wards; police and fire; schools are critical.

4. Product manufacturers — not all Level E products are equal. There can be a variance in quality and performance among manufacturers, so it is necessary for builders to do their homework.

EXCEEDING THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

High performance Level E door and windows systems are often more expensive to install, but well worth the extra expense. At Enviralum we offer high performance, impact-resistant entrance doors and storefront window systems products that often exceed South Florida’s stringent Florida Building Code High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) requirements.

Our Level E doors and windows provide twice the performance with thicker laminate, which makes the doors heavier to move; however, this can increase labor costs. They come unitized and shop glazed, meaning that they are ready to install right off the pallet and into the window opening. Being ordered from shop drawings means accuracy is key to installation success. This requires considerable preplanning on the front end of the project. Contractors must provide guaranteed dimensions for the openings since there is no need for field verification or glazing. Also, a higher grade of hardware is necessary, especially for special requirements such as delayed entry.

Contact Enviralum to learn more about options for Level E performance – 305.752.4411, info@enviralum.com

To avoid problems with the impact entrance doors later on, it’s highly recommended that you work with a qualified glazing contractor that has a long-standing track record in the industry.

 

Contact Enviralum to learn more about options for Level E performance – 305.752.4411, info@enviralum.com

 

 

To avoid problems with the impact entrance doors later on, it’s highly recommended that you work with a qualified glazing contractor that has a long-standing track record in the industry.