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Codes & Standards Corner

This issue we offer you an update on the codes and standards that continue to evolve in and around the residential and foundation industries. Codes and Standards comprise a significant portion of the energy this Association puts forth and a considerable amount of the sta$ time that is allocated on behalf of the membership.

There are three primary areas for codes and standards development supported by the Concrete Foundations Association. These include the International Residential Code, the ACI 332 Standard and the CFA Standard. All three of these areas have seen a flurry of activity in the last few months that we know you will both benefit from and be interested in learning.


The most used and most recognized resource in our industry, the IRC has recently completed the final stages for the 2012 edition of the code. Since 2006, the IRC has begun to incorporate improved reference and flexibility from a residential foundation perspective. Initially, this came in the form of more sensible direct tables and a simple reference to the then new ACI Standard from 332. That has continued to grow in effect and relevance while adding the significant components of the PCA-100 Standard created by the Portland Cement Association.

In the 2012 edition of the IRC, references to the signi# cance of ACI 332 in its 2010 edition will be found in material requirements (403), footings and foundations (404) and slabs (406). ! is compiles the most flexibility ever seen for concrete foundation contractors and designers since minimum code requirements were established.

Code development, particularly at the IRC level, is a long and arduous process that doesn’t end when the next edition is published. It then begins the review and adoption procedure state by state and jurisdiction jurisdiction. Those of you in Ohio realize this as you are typically three years behind in the code cycle with a state code based off the 2006 IRC as the 2009 ORC while most states are based on the 2009 IRC. It is very important to recognize which edition of the national code any jurisdictional code is based on prior to applying the positions and recommendations you receive from this Association or any other advisor.


Beginning in 2004, ACI began to establish a purposed distinction between residential concrete work and all other concrete construction. This was encouraged due to the separation at the national code level between the IRC and International Building Code (IBC) but facilitated by experienced, knowledgeable and passionate representatives from the residential industry to assure that specific focus occurred on the issues of this industry.

ACI 332 has just released the 2010 edition to Public Review. This is the last major step before recognition as the next published form of the Standard. Those wishing to review and comment during this public review can download the document and the response forms from

ACI 332-10 is the next generation of a radical approach to minimum requirements for the residential concrete industry. Some of the information is consistent with the basic principles of the IRC. Features such as maximum loads, weathering and basic material properties will be found to mirror the IRC.

However, 332-10 quickly departs from the IRC and offers characteristics of materials, footings, foundations and slabs that are not found in the IRC or addressed at such a basic level that they leave very little room for design interpretation. At the heart of 332-10 remains the design tables offering great variety for concrete and steel strengths, wall heights and thickness and soil conditions. This provides adjustability to partner with the economy that so many projects are forced to consider in today’s market.

Furthermore, 332-10 continues the documentation of core strengths for foundations that are not addressed in the IRC and provide savings to projects based on the full use of monolithic concrete properties. Details such as stepped footings, reduced wall thickness, concrete lintels and interrupted footings are among the key additional features of this document that carries it beyond the provisions of the IRC.

ACI 332, as a committee, is now reaching toward the identification of further growth of the standard and extension of minimum requirements to a much broader application in the residential industry. Thinner walls, taller walls, better performance recognition, two-way action, concrete decks and alternative wall systems are just a few of the issues being considered. If you have a passion for improved performance recognition and practical and sensible development of minimum standards,

I want to encourage you to consider joining this public code committee that does not require ACI membership in which to contribute. Contact me at or at 866-232-9255 for more information on the opportunities and requirements. We would love to see this interest grow from an engineer and contractor involvement perspective.


Perhaps the largest effort in the CFA is the completion of the 2010 CFA Standard. Whether a jurisdiction has an established code of minimum requirements such as the IRC, the use of this document remains an important part of your membership in the CFA. It is represents the guiding principles of the larger residential work that you are involved in. It goes beyond concrete design and construction and affects issues of total building performance that can impact foundations for the long term. This includes such significant issues as waterproofing vs. damp proofing; drainage; tolerances; and backfilling.

This document parallels the 332 Standard in much of the guiding principles of concrete design and construction. It maintains the importance of water/cement ratio, cold weather considerations and the design performance flexibility. It is also written in a document format that parallels both 332 and the IRC so that ease of relation for code review is possible.

The CFA Standard is managed and put forth by the CFA Technical Committee. Moving forward, this document is projected to lead the future development of ACI 332 editions by establishing more aggressive recognition of concrete wall and material behavior. It will be the first to put forth expanded wall heights, thinner walls, and many of the behaviors that are being discussed at the ACI 332 level but will knowingly take much longer to deliberate and bring to consensus. This further evidences the CFA as the leading force in the development of building standards for residential concrete.

In similar fashion to the call for interest in ACI’s 332 Committee, the CFA is always looking for passionate members to play a role in the identification, development and promotion of technical concepts. If you are such a person or know of one in your company, you should be contacting us and finding ways to plug in to the Technical Committee.

Our work in all of this is far from done. Code development is a never-ending process. It is a process that requires patience, diligence and perseverance as well as technical astuteness. Your membership dollars are hard at work shaping the future of residential concrete. You, perhaps, should be too.

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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