Building officials worldwide will soon have guidelines where they once had none for building with precast concrete foundations systems. The new building code language, submitted by the National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA), adds to the International Residential Code (IRC) guidelines for builders and inspectors of precast foundations.
The codes were approved by the IRC’s Code Committee in October during International Code Council (ICC) committee hearings in Orlando, Fla. Before NPCA’s submission officially joins the 2007 Supplementary Edition to the IRC, the new building code language will face a public hearing in May 2007. The code is expected to pass, according to Minnesota-based building code consultant Allen Zepper.
“For me, as an inspector, when I look at current IRC, there’s no direction or design criteria for precast concrete foundation systems,” says Zepper, who consulted NPCA throughout the IRC submittal process. For years, homebuilders and building officials have asked for specific guidelines for building precast concrete foundation systems, none of which are present in past editions of the IRC, which dates back to 2000.
Yet Zepper says thousands of the popular precast foundation systems have been installed since 2000, when the ICC and the IRC were formed from the then three-model building codes BOCA, ICBO and SBCI. Since then, builders using precast foundation systems without IRC direction have been forced either to use evaluation or legacy reports or have each foundation application stamped by a registered professional engineer.
“The reports can involve a very time-consuming process to have someone furnish these documents, and many times this delays the project for a period of time – sometimes weeks,” Zepper says. “The recently approved language will ease the process of using precast concrete foundation systems.”
Zepper says the language in the new codes will even act as a marketing piece for the manufacturer. “And for the inspector, it eases the entire building process,” he says. “Inspectors have been waiting a long time for this.”
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