Frequently Asked Questions
What is FORTIFIED Commercial™?
IBHS’s FORTIFIED Commercial standards are a set of building requirements to make new and existing commercial buildings stronger against severe weather, including hurricanes, and tropical and convective storms. FORTIFIED Commercial employs an incremental approach with three levels of FORTIFIED Commercial available—FORTIFIED Roof™, FORTIFIED Silver™, and FORTIFIED Gold™—so builders can work with building owners to choose a desired level of protection that best suits their budgets and resilience goals.
What are the benefits of a FORTIFIED Commercial–designated building?
Building to a more resilient construction standard:
- Greatly reduces potential for property damage from natural disasters, including hurricanes and high wind/hail
- Protects physical assets—such as the building, equipment, inventories, and tenant improvements
- Increases likelihood of immediate reuse post-disaster, which improves competitive advantage and helps maintain or increase market share
- Reduces environmental impact by limiting destroyed building materials in landfills post-disaster
- Lowers overall cost of recovery; a 2018 study by the National Institute of Building Science (NIBS) shows that for every $1 spent on FORTIFIED Commercial construction, approximately $4 is saved in disaster recovery expenses.
Where is FORTIFIED Commercial available?
IBHS is offering FORTIFIED Commercial designations in Alabama. Outside of Alabama a third-party compliance letter is available in lieu of an IBHS designation.
How much will it cost me to get a FORTIFIED Commercial designation for my building?
The cost will vary based on the size and type of building as well as the applicant and design team’s efficiency; if inaccurate documentation is provided, this will require multiple reviews by the FORTIFIED Evaluator and could lead to additional costs.
How long does the FORTIFIED Commercial designation/compliance process take?
The FORTIFIED Commercial designation/compliance process will vary with each commercial building project and depends on multiple factors, though it primarily depends on the type of building, percent of project completion for new construction at the time of application, and the construction timeline. The designation/compliance process is coordinated with the various phases of construction. A final designation (in Alabama) is awarded by IBHS upon completion of the project, when a certificate of occupancy is typically issued. For properties outside of Alabama, a letter of compliance will be issued after a final inspection is conducted.
What kind of confirmation/paperwork will I receive once my commercial building has been designated or found in compliance?
Once IBHS has formally designated a commercial building FORTIFIED Commercial in Alabama, IBHS will send the building owner a package including a letter of acceptance, documentation of designation, and a designation certificate.
For commercial buildings outside of Alabama, the building owner will receive a letter of compliance from our third-party evaluator which identifies the level of completion including an outline of mitigation steps taken to achieve that level.
If I sell or purchase a FORTIFIED Commercial–designated building, will the building retain its designation/letter of compliance?
Yes, the FORTIFIED Commercial designation remains with the building for 5 years from its original designation.
Is my building eligible for FORTIFIED Commercial?
- Eligible buildings include new and existing construction. The types of buildings eligible for designation are described below. These group classifications are primarily based on Chapter 3, Section 302 of the 2015 International Building Code. Presently, IBHS is designating buildings that are in the design or construction phase. The types of buildings eligible for designation are described below. These group classifications are primarily based on Chapter 3, Section 302 of the 2015 International Building Code.
- Eligible groups include Assembly, Business, Educational, Factory/Industrial (moderate- and low-hazard factory/industrial only), Institutional, Mercantile, Residential (when not regulated by the International Residential Code), and Storage (moderate- and low-hazard storage).
- Excluded groups include High-Hazard and appurtenances such as barns, sheds, etc. IBHS has the discretion and reserves the right to determine a building’s eligibility for the program based on use and occupancy.
- Existing buildings with wood frame roofs must be constructed in accordance with the 2000 IBC or later for eligibility.
I have multiple buildings on my project site I would like to get designated FORTIFIED Commercial. Do I need to complete separate applications for each building?
Yes, please fill out an application for each building because each building will receive its own FORTIFIED Commercial designation/letter of compliance. For properties that have several buildings with one address, specify each building with an appropriate title. Your designation/ letter of compliance will specify the address and appropriate title of building. This also helps to prevent confusion when documentation is collected and submitted throughout the designation process.
I have a ballasted roof or vegetative roof and I am in a hurricane-prone region. Can I get a designation?
No. Ballasted roofs and vegetative roofs are not permitted for FORTIFIED Commercial in hurricane-prone regions.
I would like to design a FORTIFIED Commercial building. Where do I start?
Review the FORTIFIED Commercial Standards and submit an application.
What is a FORTIFIED Evaluator?
A FORTIFIED Evaluator is employed by a third-party company, in agreement with IBHS, who works directly with the building owner/owner representative to complete the necessary document reviews and site evaluations, and provide IBHS with the proper information to complete a FORTIFIED Commercial designation for commercial buildings. The company that employs the FORTIFIED Evaluator, and the building owner/owner representative will sign a “Consulting Services Agreement” laying out the terms of working relationship. FORTIFIED Evaluators are trained and certified by IBHS.
When should I submit documentation?
It is highly recommended to submit architectural, structural, and electrical drawings when completing the application form online. For all other required documentation, a submission date will be provided by the FORTIFIED Evaluator.
What is an active and current FM RoofNav number?
- An active and current FM RoofNav number is a designation associated with a specific FM Approved roof cover system. The roof cover systems are tested to meet specific requirements and include an uplift factor of safety. These approved roof cover systems provide a known “performance expectation,” therefore material and installation deviations from the approved system is unacceptable. For more information on the most up-to-date FM Approved roof systems, see www.roofnav.com.
- FM Approved systems include a factor of safety for wind uplift. For instance, a roof cover that is rated FM 1-90 is used in situations where the roof cover uplift is 45 psf.
- These approved systems can be used across the U.S.
What is a Miami-Dade County Approval and Notice of Acceptance (NOA)?
- Roof cover systems have been tested to meet specific requirements and include an uplift factor of safety. These approved roof cover systems provide a known “performance expectation,” therefore material and installation deviations from the approved system are not acceptable. The NOA provides detailed information on the roof assembly including the uplift ratings. The uplift ratings include a factor of safety for wind uplift pressure. For instance a system approved for 50 psf was tested to 100 psf.
- These approved systems are not confined to use in Miami-Dade County and can be used across the U.S.
Stay In The Know
Do you want to keep up with the latest resiliency research? Would you like timely tips and reminders to keep your home safe from Mother Nature? Are you interested in the science behind the FORTIFIED standard? Then, sign up for customized emails to learn more.