Houston, hit by strong storms in May that damaged more than 3,000 windows and dozens of skylights at downtown high-rise buildings, is now suffering the effects of Hurricane Beryl. The storm slammed into southeast Texas on Monday, knocking out power to more than two million homes, closing ports, flooding roadways and killing at least seven people.

Houston, which was hit by strong storms in May that resulted in damages to more than 3,000 windows and dozens of skylights at downtown high-rise buildings, is now also suffering the effects of Hurricane Beryl. Photo: Unsplash.

Beryl arrived just two months after Houston Downtown Management District officials said window replacements following May’s storms could take months due to supply chain issues and the need to fabricate and match specialty glass.

Texas supply chain issues were exacerbated as Beryl moved inland after a long and destructive journey through the Caribbean. Port Houston announced its closure on July 8 and will remain closed on July 9 as officials assess and repair damages. According to Freightos, Port Houston is the fifth busiest port in the United States. Airports and railroads in the area also ceased operations.

The closures add more pressure on companies suffering from ongoing supply chain issues due to global conflicts, strikes and climate change. These issues have increased lead times and forced companies to raise rates.

Images and videos of Beryl’s aftermath show widespread flooding, downed trees and power lights and minor structural damage to commercial and residential buildings. The minor structural damage can be attributed to Beryl’s diminished strength after weakening from a Category 5 storm on July 1 to a tropical depression and Texas’ building code requirements.

Texas coastal building codes require Windstorm Certificate of Compliance applications to be certified using the 2018 International Building Code or 2018 Residential Code (IRC). Wind design codes are required on all of East Texas coastlines. These codes ensure that cladding and components, such as curtainwalls, exterior windows and skylights, require design load performance.

According to the 2018 IRC, exterior windows and doors must be tested per AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440 – 17 or AMD 100. Additionally, exterior glazing in buildings located in windborne debris regions must be protected from windborne debris. Glazed opening protection for windborne debris must meet the requirements of the Large Missile Test of ASTM E1996 and ASTM E1886, as modified in Section 301.2.1.2.1.

In addition to windborne threats, one of the biggest dangers to buildings is water intrusion caused by broken windows and failed seals.

“The avoidance of water is critical for reducing damage to interior components that aren’t going to be made of water-resistant materials,” Tim Fuller, senior façade engineer in Arup’s Façade Engineering group, told USGlass. “So, if it’s a simple system, it’s just joint sealants that aren’t appropriately sized according to their movement capabilities and making sure those are installed properly.”

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