Tag Archives: international code council

Enforcing Updated Building Codes Saves Money

Enforcing Updated Building Codes Saves Money

As a member of most every active barndominium group in the social media world, I read all too often how new or prospective barndominium owners proudly proclaim they are or will be building where Building Codes are not enforced.

Long time followers of my column may be tired of reading my preaching from a pulpit about how fully engineered, code conforming buildings should be mandatory. Well, there is a method to my madness.

Now there are going to be naysayers who disagree, however there is actual proof of long term savings.

FEMA just released its 2020 National Preparedness Report (https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/documents/fema_2020-national-preparedness-report.pdf) presenting an updated, risk-focused approach to summarizing state of national preparedness, pointing to enforcement of updated building codes as key to lowering risks of damages from natural disaster. “Improving the resiliency of physical infrastructure requires more stringent building codes and standards, as well as innovative programs, policies, and procedures that encourage adoption and implementation of higher building standards,” the report stated. “Recent standards developed by the ICC (International Code Council – they publish our country’s building codes) are the gold standard of building code requirements. Florida’s experience with updated building codes demonstrates these cost savings in practice. After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, widespread damage to buildings across the state prompted Florida to adopt some of the strongest building codes in the United States. After 10 years of enforcement, the new codes reduced windstorm losses by up to 72 percent and paid for themselves in avoided losses within eight years.”

Considering building a new barndominium? Make a choice not only for monetary reasons, but most importantly for safety. Whether building yourself or hiring a contractor – I implore you to only build (or have built) from fully engineered plans. If hiring an erection contractor, familiarize yourself with those plans enough to know right from wrong. Due daily self-inspections during assembly to ensure those plans are indeed being followed, especially important in jurisdictions not requiring permits, or not doing structural site inspections. Even when inspections are required, even best of inspectors can miss something, so it is prudent to have your eyes involved.

If you do not feel confident of your own abilities to perform inspections, enlist the services of your engineer or an architect to do them for you. This money is well spent to protect your most valuable assets – the lives of you and your loved ones.

Demographics of a Typical Building Code Official

In most cases one never considers the background of the people who will be doing plan reviews and field inspections for their new post frame buildings. For those with inquiring minds, I stumbled across this data, which I will share.

In August 2014, the International Code Council (ICC) published “The Future of Code Officials: Results and Recommendations from a Demographic Study.”

This study reveals a typical code professional is between the ages of 55 and 64. He or she is a jurisdiction employee rather than an employee of a third-party provider and works in a one- to nine-person department which serves a community of fewer than 75,500 people.

A typical code professional earns between $50,000 and $75,000. (The median household income in 2012 was $51,017 according to the U.S. Census Bureau.) He or she has between 26 and 35 years of experience in the building industry but only five to 15 years as a code official.

A code official typically enters the code profession while in his or her 30s and held between one to three jobs before becoming a code professional. His or her first job was a tradesperson. A code official may possess a bachelor’s degree (27 percent) or may not have pursued additional education beyond high school (25 percent). If a code official has a bachelor’s degree, the degree probably is in engineering, but it could be in management, accounting, finance, etc.

A code official currently does not hold any trade licenses but does have a professional license, certificate, certification or other credential. His or her most likely reason for pursuing a job as a code official is job security. His or her current role as a code official is an inspector, plan reviewer or department manager.

Given the relatively small size of a typical department, it is likely he or she may simultaneously serve in some or all these roles. Most code professionals expect to leave the building regulatory profession within the next five to 15 years.

Looking for a career change where every day brings new and interesting people and projects? If so, becoming a Building Official might be the ticket!

Treated Lumber for In Ground Use

Treated Lumber – Justine Schools a Major Lumberyard Chain

When it comes to pressure preservative treated lumber, ignorance from the supply side seems to be bliss and there are way too many folks out there happily selling under treated product.

For your entertainment pleasure I bring you a discourse between Hansen Pole Buildings Lumber Wizard Justine and the manager of one of a 145 plus location lumberyard chain which supplies materials to both post frame builders and DIYers.

Justine: “Good Morning. Can you confirm 4×6’s and 6×6’s treated to .23 retention level?”

Manager: “No. They are ground contact treated to .14pcf.  And our 2×4 and 2×6 are above ground .05pcf. We do not carry .23pcf in any of or lumber treatments.”

Justine: “I need these to be in ground contact treated.  So if you’re using MCA I need them to be .23 which I have gotten with Xxxxxx many times.  Would you please quote those.”

Manager: “UC4A .15 is ground contact for structural posts and deck posts. 

I can special order in UC4B .23 (or .31) Critical – for permanent wood foundations in full units for you. You would have to purchase 24qty of the 4x6x14’s and 24 of the 6x6x14’s and it will take me a couple weeks to get in.

Let me know if you want to do that?”

Justine: “Good Morning (another manager in same chain),

.15 cannot be buried in the ground, it doesn’t meet code.

.23 I have ordered in pieces and less then bunk units with Xxxxxx many times.

2nd Manager, can you help 1st Manager with this one.”

Second Manager: As my location is a part of the Xxxxxx Lumber division I am able to pull the post out of our location in Millersburg.  My suggestion to 1st Manager would be to check and see if he can have them top loaded by the piece on his next treated truck.  Other than that I am not sure how to help.”

First Manager: “I just talked to Escue the treatment plant and they do not sell less than a unit. They will not top load a few boards.

 According to Federal Gov’t Regulations (AWPA Standards) the .14pcf UC4A Can be buried in the ground. It is absolutely in ground contact.”

Justine: “You are false, It can touch the ground but cannot be buried in the ground.  Code is UC4B is in ground use.

Have you tried Universal Forest as I know Xxxxxx branches use them as well.”

First Manager: “Unfortunately someone is feeding you false information  – Here is an ICC (International Code Council) report – all of the treatment plants are on there – ( Universal Forrest Included).

Look at Page 5 – .15pcf — Ground Contact – In ground

              Page 5 – UC4A – Ground Contact – In ground

I would like to take care of you on this job for 2nd Manager, but I can only sell you what I have Sir…”

Humorous sidebar – First Manager has not yet realized Justine is a member of the female side of the human species.

Here is where I step in to do some educating:  This is not meant to put you down, however you have been given some bad information.


Please read this article, then look up the cited section of the International Building Code which confirms Justine is correct:
https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2012/10/pressure-treated-posts-2/.

Thank you for your understanding.”

 Considering ordering post frame building materials or a pole building kit package from a lumberyard? This is a chain of locations which absolutely should know better, yet does not. Do you want to risk your beautiful new pole barn having posts which rot away?

I think not.

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