What does Breakaway Panels Mean?
Definition of Breakaway Panels in Construction
Panels that are designed to breakaway if flood waters were to flow against them. The design intent of these type of panels, located at grade, along the foundation walls, is to allow the water to move freely under the actual structure and around the supporting columns supporting the building. The impact of any lateral forces due to water pushing against an unmovable barrier, is eliminated, by the installation of breakaway panels. The panels are sized based upon the square footage of the structure, and must comply to the FEMA requirements of the local region. In many shoreline areas the desire to utilize the large spaces which exist under shoreline homes, is extremely strong. In many FEMA zones the spaces under the first floor sill level could be as great as 16 feet. This is a large area that most residential homeowners will want to use. The reason for the use of a breakaway panel is to allow a minimal usage of this space for storage, temporary recreation use, or even parking. However the intent of the FEMA regulations is maintained by the ability of the breakaway panels to breakaway upon any flow of water against them. By this action, the ability of the water to flow freely is maintained, and the ability to utilize the space for minimal activities remains.