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CUREE-Caltech Woodframe Project

Element 3 - Building Codes & Standards
Project Manager: Kelly Cobeen - Cobeen & Associates (formerly with GFDS Engineers)

Overview

Much of the work of the Testing and Analysis and Field Investigations Elements will only be of use if applied in design practice, used in the daily work of the construction industry, and written into building codes.  Therefore, the element devoted to Building Codes and Standards is an essential part of the project.  Many of the results of the technical investigations of this project will fit into the tight legal framework of a building code or standard, while other findings will be applicable to the practice of engineering.  Collaboration with the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California in their ongoing efforts since the Northridge Earthquake is thus a key part of this element. 

Since the 1994 earthquake, woodframe code revisions have been primarily aimed at the Uniform Building Code, Title 24 State of California, or City of Los Angeles Building Code provisions. By the time the proposed project has been underway one or two years, a building code of great relevance will be the International Building Code, promulgated by the International Code Council, representing a combination of the three current model building codes in the USA:  UBC, SBCCI, and BOCA. 

The primary path the Building Codes and Standards element will take will be to first flow through the NEHRP Seismic Provisions (the 1997 edition of which is at this writing substantially complete, the next being in the year 2,000) and thence to the IBC.  Other codes and standards will also be targeted; for example, there are a number of materials-based or industry-based standards in the wood products and construction field that are maintained independently of the model codes NEHRP-IBC process.

Codes and Standards Element

The Codes and Standards Element has two primarily responsibilities with respect to the Woodframe Project:

First, the Codes and Standards Element is charged with developing a set of reports containing recommendations that are based on the results of the Testing and Analysis, Field Investigations and Economic Aspects elements of the project. The reports will address Engineering Procedures, Modifications to Codes and Standards, and Construction Practices for both prescriptive and engineered construction.  The intended audiences for this report include designers, builders, building officials, developers of codes, standards and guidelines, and wood industry members.

Second, and equally important, the Codes and Standards Element is responsible to provide on-going recommendations to the testing and analysis (Element 1) portion of the project.  This includes reviewing the proposed testing programs in order to maximize the value of the testing results to support code development, design and construction practice improvements, and also includes helping to resolve issues that may arise during testing.

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last updated 11.24.08