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Guide Publications Improving

Barring any unforeseen challenges or last minute glitches, the walls chapter of the ACI 332 Standard will be incorporated, by reference, into the 2006 version of the International Building Code. The final step will occur at the ICC meeting this fall in Detroit. This is a milestone for ACI and the residential concrete business. Prior to the incorporation of the 332 Standard, foundation contractors typically had to abide by the ACI 318 provisions of the code for items not covered in the IRC. This doesn’t solve the problem that some of you have when the building official doesn’t care what the code says – this is what I want – but it is a step in the right direction for the rest of you.

The publishing and adoption of the ACI 332 Standard, however, is just the beginning. First, only the walls section of the standard will be referenced in the 2006 IRC. Proponents, including the ACI, CFA, NRMCA and others, must now go back to the ICC and ask them to reference the entire document in future versions of the IRC.

Second, while the ACI 332 Standard is a substantial improvement over the existing provisions in the IRC, there were many compromises made to get the document out of committee and through the ACI Technical Activities Committee reviews. Specifically, when you go from unreinforced walls to reinforced walls the provisions of the ACI 332 Standard are much more stringent than current IRC provisions. Also, there were no above grade walls included in the Standard, either ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) or RCF (Removable Concrete Forms). Empirical tables for walls have been developed by PCA that can apply to both systems but ACI would not allow the committee to proceed with those provisions in this version of the Standard.

Overall, however, the ACI 332 Standard is an improvement from existing concrete provisions of the IRC. The formula for calculating the load capacity of a foundation wall was made less conservative. The empirical tables section for walls was greatly expanded and now includes concrete strengths from 2500 psi, through 4500 psi. Provisions for brick ledges were incorporated into the 332 Standard as were discontinuous footings, using the concrete to displace small volumes of water from the footing excavation, and allowing dowel rods to be inserted into the ground for support. None of these issues would have been included without the support of the CFA and the contractors on the committee. A thank you to “Buck” Bartley, Ron Colvin, Barry Herbert, and Brent Anderson is in order.

When the committee convenes again in New Orleans this fall, it will clean up business relating to the ACI 332 Guide. The Guide differs from the Standard in that it is not intended to be a legal document but rather a publication where current and new practices are discussed and presented. Once that document is complete, it will be back to the drawing board for the 332 Standard. You can purchase a copy of the Standard from the CFA or ACI. Look it over, be critical (but realistic) and let us know what you would like to see in the next edition of the Standard.

Ed Sauter, Executive Director, CFA

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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