Conquering Wind Uplift: Solutions Tried, Tested and Certified

Business Insights

What is wind uplift?

Wind uplift is the force on a building when strong wind moves up and over it. As it hits the sides, it is directed upwards, accelerating, and resuming its normal course once it reaches the top of external structures. This creates negative pressure and an upward thrust or suction force on the decking or paving, on balconies and terraces in its path.

Simply put, if the system specified and installed is not designed to withstand these forces, it could result in loose decking and paving, costly repairs, safety hazards, insurance claims, and damaged reputations.

The potential for additional damage to the surrounding building or injury to people in the vicinity is a serious concern. In many cases, the building owner or those responsible for construction will be liable for the consequences and required to make repairs.

Why is wind uplift a critical concern?

The challenge posed by high winds varies depending on the geographic location of the building (coastal areas, high elevations and certain regions experience stronger winds), the dimensions of the building (taller buildings are more prone to wind uplift) and exposure (buildings with no surrounding protection are more vulnerable). However, wind uplift is a pertinent issue for all structures with a balcony or terrace and all heights should be considered and mitigated for, from the very first floor upwards, as should the unpredictability of the turbulence created by urban canyons in cities.

Wind uplift impacts building safety, compliance, and insurance costs. This means that all construction professionals must consider how best to protect their projects. Specifying for and installing decking and paving systems that are proven to withstand the potentially extreme forces wind exerts on them should become common practice.

Ensuring Proper System Installation: Conducting Wind Uplift Tests

To be certain that the correct system is specified and installed, the way forward is to conduct a test that evaluates a decking system's ability to resist wind uplift.

An independent materials development testing and assurance organisation such as Lucideon have created the Cyclic Wind Load Test. Designed to appraise a decking or paving system's capacity to withstand wind uplift. The test subjects the systems to a sequence of pulsed cycles, increasing incrementally from a load of 2,400 pascals (equivalent to gusts of around 140 mph) to a maximum load of 6,000 pascals (equivalent to gusts of around 220 mph). These reproduce the suction forces that occur during wind uplift.

"With extreme weather phenomena occurring more frequently and construction professionals requiring a better understanding of the dangers posed by climate-related events, we wanted to take this opportunity to share the test results we received and explore the broader topic of wind uplift"
stated Amos Whiteside, Product Development Manager at RYNO.

The results of such tests provide crucial insights into the performance of decking and paving systems under extreme wind conditions. Testers observe any detrimental effects and identify potential failures during testing. This data is vital for ensuring the safety and reliability of structures against adverse weather conditions, allowing professionals in the construction industry to make informed decisions when specifying and installing decking and paving systems.

Specify Solutions that are Certified for Wind Uplift

Ratifying their commitment to providing designers, specifiers, and architects with the confidence they need when making system and material choices, RYNO subjected four of its TerraSmart® systems - 3 paving (TerraSmart Pedestal and TerraSmart Rail Paving Systems) and 1 decking system (TerraSmart Vitrified Composite® Decking System) - to the test. The systems passed with testers observing that "there were found to be no detrimental effects to any of the systems and no failures were observed during testing."

RYNO continues to invest in developing innovative paving and decking systems with simple solutions that mitigate for these forces of nature. The knowledge and expertise accumulated is shared with partners, customers, and professionals in the construction industry, to help them make informed decisions with confidence.

If you have any questions on the topic of wind uplift and how this might impact a project you are working on, reach out to one of RYNO's experts today.