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Building Upgrades for Further Resilience Against Hurricanes

Commercial structures built using stronger construction methods can better withstand hurricanes by reducing building damage, inventory loss, and business interruption caused by these storms 

Start Building Upgrades!

If you’re renovating, re-roofing, or building new consider these upgrades to make your building stronger against hurricanes. Upgrade now and be Hurricane Ready!

Business Hurricane Prep & Upgrades 
Annual maintenance tips and upgrades to help protect your business.

1. Strengthen your roof against severe weather.

Your roof is your first line of defense against severe weather. Hurricane winds can damage an improperly designed or maintained roof cover which leads to roof leaks that can damage inventory, machinery, tools, and belongings. 

  • Replace your commercial roof with a FORTIFIED Roof that is designed to prevent avoidable wind and water damage with just a few additional methods and materials. Decades of IBHS research have gone into developing this roofing standard that can help keep your roof on and water out during severe weather.  
    • Here’s how a FORTIFIED Roof works: 
      • Stronger roofing system designed to better protect against high wind. 
      • Roof flashing designed and tested for wind, used to secure the perimeters of low-slope membrane roof systems. 
      • Gutters & downspouts designed and tested for outstanding performance.   
      • A sealed roof deck keeps rain from seeping into the cracks of the roof deck boards on a steep-slope roof even when shingles are lifted or blown off. 
      • Roof-mounted equipment is designed for increased wind pressures. 
      • Impact Resistant & Pressure-Rated Skylights can withstand water intrusion and large impacts.
    • How do I build to FORTIFIED? 
      • Visit or to learn about the standards and how the process works. 
      • Determine the level of resilience you want to achieve (FORTIFIED Roof, FORTIFIED Silver, or FORTIFIED Gold). 
      • Complete an online application. 
      • Work with a third-party evaluator provided by IBHS to verify compliance with the standards. 
      • Having a designated FORTIFIED Roof may qualify you for an insurance discount so be sure to ask your insurance agent for available incentives! 

2) Upgrade to wind-rated commercial doors.

Commercial overhead, roll-up, and sectional (garage) doors are one of the most vulnerable areas of the building during a hurricane because they are large openings. High winds from a hurricane can push the doors inward, allowing pressure to build inside the garage and push up on the roof and surrounding walls—often resulting in major structural damage to your building. 

  • Check for a wind rating label on your commercial doors. 
    • Look for a label on the door that shows its rating for wind pressures in PSF (pounds per square foot) values. Wind-rated doors labeled with PSF values have been tested to withstand wind pressures. Research the wind load requirements for your geographic region and make sure your commercial door(s) meet them.  
    • If there is no label or the label is missing this information, it may not be wind-rated.  Contact the manufacturer to see if there are any additional ways to indicate wind rating such as a serial number.  
    • If the door is not wind rated, replace it with a door that meets the minimum site-specific wind pressures. 
  • Purchase wind-rated commercial doors. 
    • Hire a licensed contractor to properly select and install a wind-rated overhead door. When available, consult the building’s structural drawings to identify the design wind design pressures. 
    • Look for doors tested to one of these standards: 
      • ANSI/DASMA 115 Standard Method for Testing Sectional Doors, Rolling Doors, and Flexible Doors 
      • The Florida Building Code TAS 201 (Impact Test Procedures), 202 (Criteria for Testing Impact & Nonimpact Resistant Building Envelope Components Using Uniform Static Air Pressure), and 203 (Criteria for Testing Products Subject to Cyclic Wind Pressure Loading) 
    • Once the door is installed, ensure it shows a label with the wind rating. Remember—don’t peel off the label! 
2- Wind-rated rollup door

3) Upgrade to impact-rated windows & doors with glass.

Typical windows and doors with glass can be shattered by high winds and flying debris during a hurricane.  

  • Purchase windows and doors with glass that have been tested to ASTM E1996 for small missile impacts.
3- Upgrade to Impact Rated Windows and Door Label

4) Purchase hurricane shutters.

Shutters can protect your windows from flying debris and help keep out damaging winds.  

  • Purchase hurricane shutters (code-conforming aluminum paneling) to cover your windows before an approaching hurricane. Find what’s right for your business with the IBHS Opening Protection Guide. 
  • Note: Plywood should only be used in place of shutters as a last-minute resort when tropical weather is imminent. If plywood must be used, be sure it’s at least ¾ inch thick. Additionally, taping windows provides no protection and should NOT be done. 
the door and windows are closed by white rolls on a brown brick wall in green grass

5) Invest in a commercial backup generator.

High winds and falling trees can cause power outages during a hurricane, causing downtime to your normal business operations.  

  • Purchase a backup generator that is properly sized to operate critical utilities necessary to maintain vital business operations.  
Residential house natural gas backup generator. Choosing a location for house standby generator.

6) Protect critical equipment.

Heavy rain and storm surge can cause flooding which could penetrate your business, damaging your critical equipment. Additionally, wind-driven rain can seep through vulnerable building components such as windows and doors leaving inventory and other valuables exposed to water. 

  • Elevate electrical and mechanical equipment and connections necessary to operate critical systems a minimum above the 500-year flood level, if known, or 3 ft above the base flood elevation (BFE) for the property. 
  • If the equipment cannot be sufficiently elevated as described above, permanent dry flood protection such as flood gates, walls, doors, or similar devices shall be used to prevent water intrusion to the heights described above. Flood depth, duration, velocity, and condition of water shall be considered (including floating debris). 
  • Move and elevate inventory and important documentation away from windows and doors in the event water penetrates the openings.  
A helmeted technician holds a clipboard while checking and taking notes on the electrical control cabinet.

7) Check packaged terminal air conditioner (PTAC) units.

  • Inspect all units to make sure they are properly installed to resist wind-driven rain. Leaks from these units can cause costly damage.  
  • Ensure all units are installed per manufacturer guidelines, typically tilted 2° toward the outside of the building, and are correctly caulked between the outside of the building and the sleeve. 
Moder air condition unit on a white wall inside the living room.

Want a stronger commercial building?

  • When constructing a new commercial or multifamily building, enhance its building components with FORTIFIED, a stronger construction method developed by decades of IBHS research. It strengthens your building to better withstand severe weather including high winds, hail, and even hurricanes.  
Stronger_Multifamily FORTIFIED Construction

Annual Business Hurricane Prep

office building

These annual maintenance activities will help reduce potential property damage. 

Building Upgrades

Veracruz Mexico

If you’re renovating, re-roofing, or building new, consider these upgrades to make your business stronger against hurricanes. 

Crucial Steps Before a Hurricane

Thick dark black heavy storm clouds covered summer sunset sky horizon. Gale speed wind blowing over blurry coconut palm tree before Norwesters Kalbaishakhi Bordoisila thunderstorm torrential rain.

When a storm is approaching landfall, follow these last-minute actions to help reduce damage to your business. 

After A Damaging Hurricane

Town street with scattered debris after hurricane Ian in Florida. Consequences of natural disaster.

These steps will guide you through the process to recover quickly.