In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. At its peak, Sandy measured 1,800km across and was the largest hurricane to have ever formed in the Atlantic Ocean. It caused devastation across the Caribbean, made landfall in New Jersey and went on to cause varying degrees of damage from the Florida Keys to New England.
The associated storm surge went on to cause major flooding of buildings and subways in New York, with estimates putting the damaged caused at around $75bn. One of the businesses to experience flooding as a result of Hurricane Sandy was Architectural Grille – an engineering business based in Brooklyn, New York.
Architectural Grille specialise in ornamental and perforated grilles. Vice Presidents of the family-run business, Anthony Jr and Stephen Giumenta, had never experienced any flooding at their Brooklyn factory. However, Hurricane Sandy brought winds of up to 160kmph and widespread flooding to the region. Subsequently, Architectural Grille’s factory was severely affected by those floodwaters – damage was caused to the building, while the engineering plant and equipment were wrecked. This included a precision CNC laser and valuable water-jet machines. The total cost of the damage for the Giumenta family was in excess of a million dollars.
Anthony Jr explained to us how surprised they were to have been flooded:
“We didn’t expect the storm to hit, they mostly head out to the Atlantic by the time they reach us. Our insurance paid out $230,000 for the damage to the buildings, but we had no specific flood risk insurance for the equipment.”
Following the flood, Anthony and Stephen considered selling up and relocating the business. However, they realised that with the building now prone to flooding and insurance premiums likely to put off any would-be-buyers, it would be difficult to sell the premises. Therefore, they began to look into flood barriers that could protect them from future events. In the fall of 2013, Bill Kiriluk approached the Giumenta family and showed them Flood Ark barriers for the first time. Anthony Jr immediately saw their potential.
“We could see Flood Ark was the solution to our problems. We could not afford to take the risk of being flooded again.”
We received an order from Anthony Jr and Stephen via our partners in Long Island. Our Managing Director, Steve Abbot, subsequently flew to New York and headed to Brooklyn where he surveyed the 13 openings for the entire factory. All the barriers were then manufactured back at our facility in the UK, before being loaded into a container and shipped to the United States.
In early December 2013, our team of three installers flew to the United States for a two-week window to fit the job. After just 10 days, all of the barriers had been fitted to the factory. The installation went seamlessly. Speaking to Anthony Jr in 2017, he told us how happy he was with the process:
“We valued your time when you were here. Since the initial install, we haven’t had any problems with the flood barriers. Let us know when you are next back here in the US and say hello to everyone on the other side of the pond.”Mytholmroyd, United Kingdom Orwell Housing Association