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The Code Saga Continues

I attended my third International Code Council (ICC) meeting in Orlando, Florida a month ago. For those of you unfamiliar with the code development process, the ICC is the organization that oversees development of the “I” series of codes, including the International Residential Code (IRC), the International Building Code (IBC) and the other Icodes. The ICC was created to take the place of BOCA, SBCCI, and ICBO, three competing codes covering the United States. Code officials met for nearly two consecutive weeks to hear over 1500 proposed modifications to the codes, a process that is repeated annually.

The purpose for my trip was twofold. First, to argue against the modified anchor bolt spacing that was inserted into the 2006 version of the IRC during the closing hours of the last session. Many jurisdictions are currently in the process of adopting this code; and, second, to oppose certain provisions regarding the incorporation of pre-cast systems into the code, namely the construction process that allows their use without footings. The current round of hearings was to determine which proposals will be considered by the full assembly of building officials at next spring’s meeting.

The Portland Cement Association has four employees who work full time monitoring submitted changes and proposing additional ones in an effort to assure that cement-based building systems are fairly represented. It should be noted that the wood industry, the steel industry, actually just about every industry, has a significant presence in this effort – most funded to a much higher degree than the concrete industry.

I timed my appearance, with the help from PCA staff, to appear the afternoon before the issues I spoke on were to be considered (you really never know exactly when a given topic will be considered). The CFA teamed with the NRMCA, PCA, and NAHB to propose wording that would essentially return the code to where it had been in the IRC-2003 – anchor bolts 6’ on center, versus proposed spacings that could be as close as 6” o.c. depending on loading, etc.

Detail on the two proposals affecting our industry can be found on page 7.

There will be another round of code hearings in the spring with many of the same items discussed again. Following those hearings there will be an opportunity for public comment (which is where the anchor bolt concept made it through in the first place). If anyone wants to make an appearance in the future, let me know. Or if you have trouble sleeping, the entire proceedings (two weeks worth) are broadcast live on the web. Just let me know.

Ed Sauter, Executive Director, CFA
esauter@cfawalls.org

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Concrete FACTS, a publication of the Concrete Foundations Association, is THE voice for residential concrete industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the cast-in-place concrete industry. Subscriptions to Concrete FACTS is available to anyone involved or interested in the residential concrete industry as a service to your industry. Please contact CFA Headquarters to find out more about your free subscription or Email Us