Volume 49, Issue 5 - May 2014


Florida’s Major Code Overhaul May Have Little Short-Term Impact

Florida glass professionals are watching to see how a big change to their building code will affect glass installation when the updated code goes into effect at the end of the year. This new Florida Building Code (FBC) is based on the model code of the International Building Code 2012 edition, and is scheduled to be approved in June 2014, and takes effect December 2014.

“Florida has always been notorious for having a lot of specific amendments,” explains Dean Ruark, code compliance manager for PGT Industries, an impact-resistant window manufacturer in Venice, Fla. “Usually all of the amendments that were in the FBC before automatically made it through to the next code. This year, they decided to start with a clean slate and adopt the International Codes as a whole. They said, ‘All of the Florida-specific amendments sunset and if you want them you have to propose them and make a sound argument to get these special items for Florida back in.’ So a lot of these Florida-specific items went away. It’s much closer to the I-codes now.”

Rick De La Guardia, president of DLG Engineering Inc. in Miami, offers a potential explanation for this change. “More and more of the model codes are beginning to adopt most of these amendments themselves, which makes the necessary Florida amendments smaller each cycle,” De La Guardia says. “The exception is the high velocity hurricane zone (HVHZ) requirements, which are the strictest codes.”

Even the use of the HVHZ is being expanded in some areas (see page 36).

De La Guardia adds, “When a new code goes into effect, it usually adopts the latest of all the typical material standards. With respect to glass and glazing these would include the latest glass standard of ASTM E-1300 and windload standard ASCE 7.”

It’s true that the adoption of ASCE 7-10 redefines wind speeds and design pressures for buildings and, as a result, the use of impact-resistant products. However, this won’t pose much of a change for Florida.

“Florida was the first state to adopt [ASCE 7-10] the last code cycle, so it’s status quo for us this code cycle. It is a huge change for the rest of the country but it isn’t a big change for Florida,” Ruark says.

Since many changes can and do occur between a code’s proposed changes and final approval, nothing is yet set in stone. “The code typically is published with at least a six-month window so that all trades can become familiar with the changes before they take effect,” De La Guardia says.

“At the June hearing, the Commission will look at these drafts in detail and will ultimately vote on whether they approve or disapprove of the drafted language,” explains Beth Frady, M.S., the deputy director of communications for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation in Tallahassee, Fla. Frady notes that it would be premature for the department to provide more background regarding the proposed language in Chapter 24 as the decision to approve or disapprove the draft is still pending.

While Florida product manufacturers and glazing contractors may not face much new following the upcoming code adoption, the potential for big changes in the following cycle is about to increase. The change in ASCE 7-10 led to a change in ASTM E1996, Standard Specification for Performance of Exterior Windows, Curtain Walls, Doors, and Impact Protective Systems Impacted by Windborne Debris in Hurricanes. David Rinehart, North America protective glazing marketing manager for DuPont Glass Laminating Solutions in Wilmington, Del., explains this is in the middle of the voting process now.

“Wind zone 4 in ASTM E1996 is being moved from the mandatory part of the specifications to a non-mandatory appendix as an advisory position. What it essentially is doing —and this is an interpretation—is saying Florida is the only area recognized to have HVHZ requirements, so Florida is going to have to take on the responsibility for providing the code language for the HVHZ. It’s going to strengthen wind zone 3 in ASTM E1996, but who knows how long it’s going to take to get that into the actual building code,” Rinehart says. —Megan Headley

ASHRAE, NAHB, ICC to Develop Green Standard
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the International Code Council (ICC), are jointly developing the 2015 edition of the ICC/ASHRAE 700 National Green Building Standard. This is the third edition of the standard and the first time that ASHRAE has become a partner in its development.

In 2007, NAHB and ICC convened a consensus committee of homebuilders, code officials, product manufacturers, building science and energy-efficiency specialists and governmental representatives to develop the standard. It was approved in 2009 by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as the first green standard for residential construction, development and remodeling.

Now known as the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard (NGBS), it was updated in 2012 by a subsequent consensus committee and again approved by ANSI.

AAMA Accredited as ANSI Standards Developer
The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) is now an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited standards developer. This accreditation includes review and approval of AAMA’s document creation and maintenance program.

“AAMA has been developing technical standards since its inception in 1936,” says Andrea Rhodes, AAMA technical operations supervisor. “Since that time, the association has maintained an open consensus process that takes into account all views and aspects of the industry equally. Now, we have the proof to back that up.”

In order to maintain ANSI accreditation, standards developers are required to consistently adhere to a set of requirements or procedures known as the ‘ANSI Essential Requirements.’”

According to ANSI, “Due process is the key to ensuring that American National Standards (ANS) are developed in an environment that is equitable, accessible and responsive to the requirements of various stakeholders. The open and fair ANS process ensures that all interested and affected parties have an opportunity to participate in a standard’s development. It also serves and protects the public interest since standards developers accredited by ANSI must meet the Institute’s requirements for openness, balance, consensus and other due process safeguards.”

BHMA, SDI, Publish New and Revised ANSI Standards
The Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) published a new American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard, BSR/BHMA A156.38-201x, Low Energy Power Operated Sliding and Folding Doors. Requirements in this standard apply to low energy power operated sliding and folding door systems for pedestrian use, and some small vehicular use. The activation of all doors described in this standard requires a knowing act. Included are provisions intended to reduce the chance of user injury or entrapment.

Additional revisions and new standards from BHMA include BSR/BHMA A156.3-201x, Exit Devices (revision of ANSI/BHMA A156.3-2008), BSR/BHMA A156.37-201x, Multipoint Locks (new standard), BSR/BHMA A156.38-201x and Low Energy Power Operated Sliding and Folding Doors (new standard).

In addition, ANSI revised a standard involving the Steel Door Institute (SDI) (ASC A250). The standard is ANSI A250.13-2014, Testing & Rating of Severe Windstorm Resistant Components for Swinging Door Assemblies for Protection of Building Envelopes. It is not applicable for FEMA 320/361 of ICC-500 Shelters) (revision of ANSI A250.13-2008).

The standard provides procedure for testing and establishing load ratings for components of exterior swinging door assemblies for purposes of protection of openings in building envelopes during severe windstorm conditions, such as a hurricane that produces sustained wind speeds or gusts in a range of 110 to 15 mph as defined by ASCE 7.

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