Lab Approved for Hurricane Testing of Building Materials

Miami-Dade County has granted accreditation to the Structures and Construction Laboratory test facility at Florida International University, making it an official site for determining whether building materials and other products comply with the county’s strict building code.

Miami-Dade County, which has a building code designed to minimize damage from hurricanes, must approve products and materials used for construction in the county.

The 2,250-square-foot Structures and Construction Testing Laboratory, located at FIU’s College of Engineering and Computing, is now one of the few approved testing labs in Miami-Dade, as well as one of the largest.

In general, once manufacturers of hurricane mitigation building materials receive approval in Miami-Dade County, they are also accepted in other parts of Florida and even other states.

“Hurricane-proof and code-approved building products are crucial for South Florida’s construction industry,” said Amir Mirmiran, professor and interim dean of the College of Engineering and Computing. “Our Structures and Construction Testing Laboratory will now play a crucial role not only in keeping our community safe, but also making the products more economical and the industry more competitive.”

The Structures and Construction Testing Laboratory, part of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is designed to test full-scale structural members, components and systems, such as concrete joists and lintels. It carries out applied and fundamental research, as well as product development and code compliance testing. The lab also provides expert engineering and scientific support for forensic investigation, structural diagnosis, non-destructive testing as well as rehabilitation recommendations, and is the site of professional development certification seminars and industry training workshops.

The lab’s mission is to provide a hands-on educational experience for students; to support research and development of innovative hurricane-resistant and durable construction materials, structural systems and components; to serve the construction industry; to contribute to the engineering community in South Florida, and to advance the safety, durability, and economy of our civil infrastructure.

Complementing the research at the Structures and Construction Testing Laboratory is the FIU International Hurricane Research Center’s (IHRC) full-scale destructive testing research facility, known as the “Wall of Wind”, also located on the Engineering Center Campus.

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