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Windows and Wind Loads

Master Class

It’s a new installment of the Window Geeks: Master Class, and we’re looking at the basics of wind loads and why they’re important to take into account when it comes to choosing windows for your project.

What is wind load?

The basic definition of wind load is “the force on a structure arising from the impact of wind on it.” When planning a new building, wind load is a serious item to consider – and the same applies to us in the window industry. We have to make sure our windows can handle the wind load for the building’s location. You can look up your area's historic wind averages to guide you.

What does the BC Building Code say about wind loads for windows?

The building code requires windows to be “designed and constructed” in accordance with the NAFS standard – though it does not require windows to be tested under the NAFS standard.

The NAFS standard, along with the Canadian supplement, will specify the required performance grades based on a building’s location and height. These performance grades will determine the forces in both positive and negative directions (windward and leeward), and engineering calculations will then determine what glass and frame reinforcement is required.

Alternate path of product testing and challenges

An alternate path to engineering calculations is product testing, though it can be challenging to test all possible window configurations. Therefore, a combination of testing and engineering is how windows are demonstrated to meet wind load requirements of the NAFS standard and building code.

Join us next time when we’ll be diving deeper into wind loads.

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Written by: Les Ferris , July 25, 2023
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