Our interpretations of the many codes and standards in our engineering industry

What are alteration levels in construction and how do they relate to delegate engineers?

  Alteration – Level 1 (Existing Building Code Section 503): Removal and replacement, or covering of existing materials, equipment, fixtures using new materials that serve the same purpose. Alteration –Level 1 does not include reconfiguration of space. Commentary:  Typically the component (delegate) engineer (such as Engineering Express® who are Building Component Design Engineers) serves as…

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ASCE 7 Main Wind Force vs. Components & Cladding Explained (MWFRS vs. C&C)

ASCE 7 separates wind loading into three types: Main Wind Force Resisting System (MWFRS), Components and Cladding (C&C), and Other Structures and Building Appurtenances. MWFRS is defined as “(a)n assemblage of structural elements to provide support and stability for the overall structure.” Typically, members which receive loading from two surfaces are designed to resist MWFRS…

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2006/2012 IRC RAILING GUIDELINES

 The 2006/2012 International Residential Code (IRC) contains railing guidelines similar to those found in the Florida Building Code Fifth Edition (2014, 2017).  Below are the written regulations along with images displaying the code as it applies to its appropriate context. Helpful PDF also appears here:  http://timnath.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/2012-RESIDENTIAL-STAIR-GUIDE.pdf 2006 IRC R311.5.6 HANDRAILS (Height, Continuity, Grip Size) R311.5.6  (Handrails) …

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When is a Fence or Railing 75% Open?

The Scenario The question comes up from time to time regarding requirements for a fence or railing to be 75% open (such as in the Lighthouse Point FL Building Code Amendments).  This is the case for example in Florida when overlooking the Intracoastal in Broward County.  This porosity also affects the design calculations for the…

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About The UL 325 Safety Standard

The UL 325 is a safety standard for door, drapery, gate, louver, and window operators and systems. The standard was developed by underwriters laboratories Inc. in an open non-exclusionary process for manufacturers to use in designing products. This standard provides minimum requirements for the manufacture and installation of gate operators. It applies to electric operators…

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About ASCE 7’s Directionality Factor Kd

The directionality factor (Kd) used in the ASCE 7 wind load provisions for components and cladding is a load reduction factor intended to take into account the less than 100% probability that the design event wind direction aligns with the worst case building aerodynamics.   Per ASCE 7-10,Section 26.6, the Directionality Factor Kd is defined…

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ASCE 7 Wall and Roof Zones Explained

Per ASCE 7-10, buildings are composed of 5 different zones, depending on the wind loading they are subjected to. These zones are defined as follows:   Zone 1: Has the lowest load; this zone accounts for approximately 80% of the roof surface, represented in the interior zones of the roof. Zone 2: Higher loading than Zone 1;…

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Mean Roof Height (ASCE 7)

Per ASCE 7, the Mean Roof Height (h) is defined as the average of the roof eave height and the height to the highest point on the roof surface, except that, for roof angles of less than or equal to 10°, the mean roof height is permitted to be taken as the roof eave height.   Visually, AAMA TIR…

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Welded Aluminum and Railings

Regarding any aluminum railing project, it is imperative to understand the life-safety issue that arises when welding an aluminum railing post. A rail is classified as a life-saving fall guard for any elevation above 31 inches. The aluminum alloys normally used (such as 6061-T6) get their strength from a heat-treatment process. Welding weakens the heat-treated aluminum…

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Steel Bolt Edge Distance Requirements

Per AISC-ANSI-360-10, the minimum edge distance for bolts is to follow the below table J3.4     https://www.scribd.com/doc/115942657/Minimum-Edge-Distance-Table-AISC-ANSI-360-10-Specifications-for-Structural-Steel-Buildings   or buy direct from AISC: https://www.aisc.org/store/p-1578-steel-construction-manual-14th-ed-fourth-printing-hardbound.aspx  

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Metal Fasteners UNC vs Spaced Thread

Metal fastening is designed per the requirements of the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC): Specification for Structural Steel Buildings in conjunction with the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA): TIR-A9-14 Design Guide for Metal Cladding Fasteners.   The (2) most common types of fastener threads used in construction are Unified Coarse Thread (UNC) more commonly…

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Can an engineer design alternate anchorage for a Florida product approval or other product evaluation?

According to Section 1710.8.4 of the Florida Building Code Fifth Edition (2014), “Opening protection components, fasteners, and other parts evaluated by an approved product evaluation entity, certification agency, testing laboratory, architect, or engineer and approved by the holder of the product approval may be interchangeable in opening protection assemblies provided that the opening protection component(s)…

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How do I tell if my building is considered “enclosed”?

A building is considered “enclosed” if it does not comply with the requirements for open or partially enclosed buildings (ASCE 7-10, Section 26.2, “BUILDING, ENCLOSED”).   From the ASCE 7-05 Commentary   BUILDING, ENCLOSED, OPEN, PARTIALLY ENCLOSED: These definitions relate to the proper selection of internal pressure coefficients, GCpi . Building, open and building, partially enclosed are specifically…

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What opening area should be used for wind pressure determination on a multi-panel product that was tested as an assembly? (How do I calculate the effective opening area on a window or door product?)

In short, this is a legal issue that is ambiguous in the industry. Many product approvals list sliding glass doors which have been tested per ASTM E1996/1886/E330, TAS 201/202/203, etc. at a certain size (i.e. 8′ tall x 12′ wide). Some may insist that the effective area of the opening (for determination of wind pressure)…

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