Author Archive for Roland Brown

The IBC council approves adoption of proposed building codes

Posted on: November 28th, 2016 by (No Comments)

At the Industrialized Building Code Council meeting held on the 22nd of August the Council approved the adoption of the proposed building codes with the amendments that were presented by the code adoption committee. The new codes are as follows:

• 2015 International Building Code
• 2015 International Residential Code
• 2015 International Mechanical Code
• 2015 International Plumbing Code
• 2015 International Fuel Gas Code
• 2015 International Energy Conservation Code
• 2015 International Existing Building Code
• 2014 National Electrical Code

The IHB Rules require for notification to be made to the public via the Texas Register allowing a 30-day period for public comment. If no comments are received the new codes will become required for all 3 buildings entering production by June 1, 2017. If comments are received another Council meeting will be required and a new effective date will be determined. I feel it unlikely that there will be comments so we should start focusing on June. It is important to add that the June 1 date will be the deadline for approved designs entering in to the production line. So, building design and construction commitment time frames will have to be projected so we have building designs ready to enter the production line well before June. Once we get into next year this will require our estimating department to start projecting on-line dates so we can anticipate the cost impact that the new code editions will create. Before the June 1st deadline, we will have to identify to the Industrialized Housing and Building Division at the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, the effective date that we intend making the change to the new  codes as far as our production on-line is concerned. Once that date is established, we can no longer use designs that are approved to the older codes.

Code Corner – April 2016

Posted on: April 19th, 2016 by (No Comments)

As noted in past installments of Code Corner, the Industrialized Building Code Council has still not convened to formally adopt the next building code edition, but legislation has been passed and signed into law by Governor Abbott setting adoption time limits.  The force behind this law was the State Energy Conservation Office and the Texas Energy Systems Labs’ desire to force the more timely adoption of recent editions of the code with the goal of making buildings more energy efficient in the state.

Since the Bill passed, it will require the authorities having jurisdictions (AHJ) to adopt the most recent edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and one can assume that most AHJ’s will adopt the full suite of the I-Codes encompassing the building, plumbing and mechanical codes as well.  As was noted in a prior Code Corner, new editions of the codes are published every three years to incorporate revisions voted on by the ICC membership.  We have been on the 2009 edition for some time; jumping over the 2012 and adopting the 2015 will create some challenges, we anticipate that the areas most affected will be insulation thickness, lighting and lighting controls, along with mechanical equipment we will be allowed to use.

Robert Frick has already been spending time reviewing how our designs will be impacted by the newer energy code, his work will allow us to plan on how it will affect our designs and the cost impact it will have on what we build.  During Robert’s work in reviewing the code and the associated COMcheck software, he has already spotted a discrepancy between the code and the compliance software which will require a revision to the software we are required to use.

At this time it appears that it will be November before the new 2015 Codes will be a requirement for the buildings that enter into production.  But, we will have to start designing to the new standard and pricing our projects accordingly.

Modular Construction Faces Challenges at Louisiana LNG Site

Posted on: March 24th, 2015 by (No Comments)

Ramtech’s upcoming commercial modular office building project for Cameron LNG, a liquefied natural gas processing facility located in the delta of southern Louisiana, will present some unique structural design challenges. These include resisting wind speeds of 150 mph, the potential of blast forces created by an accidental explosion, and the structurally weak soils that exist at the building location. The Louisiana delta was formed from sediment picked up by the flowing water along the Mississippi River’s path which is then deposited at the river’s end. These soils are loose silts which provide almost no structural strength, certainly not enough to support a modular building let alone the other heavy processing equipment that will exist at the site. This type of environment calls for foundations that are typically supported by piles that are drilled or driven into the ground instead of using spread footings which we use in most of the areas in which we do work.  

The Latest on Regulating Modular Buildings used for Man Camps in Texas

Posted on: October 22nd, 2012 by (No Comments)

With the recent nationwide growth in oil and gas development, many of the small towns in West and South Texas are finding it very difficult to handle the huge influx of oil field workers coming into these areas. One of the biggest challenges is how to provide adequate housing for these workers and their families. Even though this influx is also putting a tremendous strain on the local schools and other infrastructure, many cities believe that this growth may be temporary so community planners and developers are less willing to invest the financial resources necessary to adequately expand their permanent residential neighborhoods.  So far, the primary means of meeting the industries workforce housing needs has been through the use of temporary man camps. (more…)

Modular Grows Up… Literally

Posted on: April 8th, 2011 by (No Comments)

Modular construction has been in the news in the Big Apple recently, on the plans to construct a 34 story modular apartment building at the Atlantic Yards development in the Bronx Borough of New York City. Capsys Corporation has been selected to build the project designed by the engineering firm of Ove Arup & Partners. Much has been made in the press regarding the impact to the city’s construction unions and how these same unions initially offered support to the project as a means of generating construction jobs in a flat jobs market. Although the politics on something like this are always interesting, the technical challenges faced by the developer, designers, and builders make for fascinating reading on an ambitious project like this.  (more…)