Due to new and stronger frame designs, storm resistant vinyl windows, available from PVC Windows Australia , can be installed in high-rise buildings in Florida, where previously the wind and water loads could only be met by aluminium windows.

Custom Window Systems (CWS) of Ocala, Fla., have installed their new vinyl Wind-Pact Plus Large Missile Impact windows and sliding glass doors in a nine-story condo on the Port Ritchie waterfront.

Port Ritchie is on the West Coast of Florida, but the windows meet the stringent Miami-Dade protocols required in the two East Coast counties located in the high velocity hurricane zone (140 miles an hour or more).

Although CWS has manufactured aluminium windows for 23 years, the company recognises that the future of window frames is PVC, according to Ron Goins, Director of sales development.

Ron Goins explained that most of their clients had lived in the north and were use to replacing their wood or aluminium windows with PVC.

That is what they are looking for in their new homes. But what is strong enough in the north is not strong enough for Florida, so CWS designed a new frame.

The more cavities there are within the structure or profile of the frame, the stronger the frame, Ron Goins explained.

Also, acting as air pockets, the larger numbers of cavities increase energy efficiency. With the new profile and some aluminium reinforcement, the windows qualified for use in high-rise buildings.

As for single family homes, Ron Goins said that PVC is becoming the preferred window material for high-end builders and re-modellers in Florida.

“Architects like vinyl’s imperviousness to salt air, as well as the fact that it can meet the impact wind requirements in Florida,” said Joe Hums, Regional Sales Manager at Mikron Industries.

The strengthened windows help preserve the building’s envelope during violent weather. Ron Goins explained that if the windows fail, the wind rushing into the building can cause an increase in pressure that could lift the roof or push the walls outward.

These are important issues with 2008 hurricane season. The Houston-based Weather Research Centre has forecast at least 11 named tropical storms, with six becoming hurricanes.