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®
C
IB
2015 CODE AND
COMMENTARY
VOLUME 2
The complete IBC with
commentary after each
section

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2015 International Building Code® Commentary

First Printing: March 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60983-282-7 (soft-cover edition)

COPYRIGHT © 2015
by
INTERNATIONAL CODE COUNCIL, INC.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This 2015 International Building Code® Commentary—Volume II is a copyrighted work owned by
the International Code Council, Inc. Without advance written permission from the copyright owner, no part of this book may be
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Trademarks: “International Code Council,” the “International Code Council” logo and the “International Building Code” are
trademarks of the International Code Council, Inc.
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PRINTED IN THE U.S.A.

Copyright International Code Council


PREFACE

The principal purpose of the Commentary is to provide a basic volume of knowledge and facts relating to building construction
as it pertains to the regulations set forth in the 2015 International Building Code. The person who is serious about effectively
designing, constructing and regulating buildings and structures will find the Commentary to be a reliable data source and
reference to almost all components of the built environment.
As a follow-up to the International Building Code, we offer a companion document, the International Building Code
Commentary—Volume II. Volume II covers Chapters 16 through 35 of the 2015 International Building Code. The basic appeal
of the Commentary is thus: it provides in a small package and at reasonable cost thorough coverage of many issues likely to be
dealt with when using the International Building Code — and then supplements that coverage with historical and technical
background. Reference lists, information sources and bibliographies are also included.
Throughout all of this, effort has been made to keep the vast quantity of material accessible and its method of presentation
useful. With a comprehensive yet concise summary of each section, the Commentary provides a convenient reference for
regulations applicable to the construction of buildings and structures. In the chapters that follow, discussions focus on the full
meaning and implications of the code text. Guidelines suggest the most effective method of application, and the consequences of
not adhering to the code text. Illustrations are provided to aid understanding; they do not necessarily illustrate the only methods
of achieving code compliance.
The format of the Commentary includes the full text of each section, table and figure in the code, followed immediately by the
commentary applicable to that text. At the time of printing, the Commentary reflects the most up-to-date text of the 2015
International Building Code. As stated in the preface to the International Building Code, the content of sections in the code
which begin with a letter designation (i.e., Section [F]307.1) are maintained by another code development committee. Each
section’s narrative includes a statement of its objective and intent, and usually includes a discussion about why the requirement
commands the conditions set forth. Code text and commentary text are easily distinguished from each other. All code text is
shown as it appears in the International Building Code, and all commentary is indented below the code text and begins with the
symbol .
Readers should note that the Commentary is to be used in conjunction with the International Building Code and not as a
substitute for the code. The Commentary is advisory only; the code official alone possesses the authority and responsibility for
interpreting the code.
Comments and recommendations are encouraged, for through your input, we can improve future editions. Please direct your
comments to the Codes and Standards Development Department at the Chicago District Office.
The International Code Council would like to extend its thanks to the following individuals for their contributions to the
technical content of this commentary:

Brian Black Kevin Brinkman


John Woestman Gregory Cahanin
David Cooper Rebecca Quinn
Dave Collins Joann Surmar
Vickie Lovell James Milke
John Valiulis Richard Walke
Marcelo Hirschler Dave Frable
Jeff Hugo Elley Klausbruckner
Dick Bukowski
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Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY iii
S.I. CONVERSION CHART FOR ENGLISH UNITS
English Unit Metric Equivalent
1 inch (in.) 25.4 millimeters (mm)
1 foot (ft.) 304.8 millimeters (mm)
1 square inch (in2) 645.2 square millimeters (mm2)
1 square foot (ft2) 0.093 square meters (m2)
1 cubic foot (ft3) 0.028 cubic meters (m3)
1 gallon (gal.) .00379 cubic meters (m3)
1 gallon (gal.) 3.79 liters (L)
1 pound (lb.) 0.454 kilograms (kg)
1 ton (T) 0.907 metric ton
1 ton (T) 907.2 kilograms (kg)
1 pound per square inch (psi) 6.894 kilo- Pascals (kPa)
1 pound per square inch (psi) .0703 kilogram force per square centimeter
1 pound per square foot (psf) 47.88 Pascals (Pa)
1 pound per square foot (psf) 47.88 Newton per square meter (N/m2)
1 foot candle 10.764 lux
1 inch water column 248.84 Pascal
1 degree 0.01745 radian
1 Btu/hr 0.2931 Watt
Temperature degrees Fahrenheit 1.8 x degrees C + 32.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER 16 STRUCTURAL DESIGN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16-1 – 16-90

CHAPTER 17 SPECIAL INSPECTIONS AND TESTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17-1 – 17-28

CHAPTER 18 SOILS AND FOUNDATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18-1 – 18-80

CHAPTER 19 CONCRETE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19-1 – 19-20

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CHAPTER 20 ALUMINUM . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20-1 – 20-2

CHAPTER 21 MASONRY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21-1 – 21-40

CHAPTER 22 STEEL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22-1 – 22-10

CHAPTER 23 WOOD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23-1 – 23-118

CHAPTER 24 GLASS AND GLAZING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24-1 – 24-28

CHAPTER 25 GYPSUM BOARD, GYPSUM PANEL PRODUCTS AND PLASTER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25-1 – 25-24

CHAPTER 26 PLASTIC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26-1 – 26-32

CHAPTER 27 ELECTRICAL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27-1 – 27-4

CHAPTER 28 MECHANICAL SYSTEMS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28-1 – 28-2

CHAPTER 29 PLUMBING SYSTEMS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29-1 – 29-20

CHAPTER 30 ELEVATORS AND CONVEYING SYSTEMS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30-1 – 30-26

CHAPTER 31 SPECIAL CONSTRUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31-1 – 31-20

CHAPTER 32 ENCROACHMENTS INTO THE PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32-1 – 32-6

CHAPTER 33 SAFEGUARDS DURING CONSTRUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33-1 – 33-8

CHAPTER 34 RESERVED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34-1 – 34-2

CHAPTER 35 REFERENCED STANDARDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35-1 – 35-26

APPENDIX A EMPLOYEE QUALIFICATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A-1 – A-2

APPENDIX B BOARD OF APPEALS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B-1 – B-4

APPENDIX C GROUP U — AGRICULTURAL BUILDINGS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . C-1 – C-4

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

APPENDIX D FIRE DISTRICTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . D-1 – D-8

APPENDIX E SUPPLEMENTARY ACCESSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . E-1 – E-12

APPENDIX F RODENTPROOFING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .F-1 – F-2

APPENDIX G FLOOD-RESISTANT CONSTRUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . G-1 – G-18

APPENDIX H SIGNS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . H-1 – H-10

APPENDIX I PATIO COVERS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .I-1 – I-2

APPENDIX J GRADING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . J-1 – J-8

APPENDIX K ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . K-1 – K-4

APPENDIX L EARTHQUAKE RECORDING INSTRUMENTATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . L-1 – L-2

APPENDIX M TSUNAMI-GENERATED FLOOD HAZARD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . M-1 – M-4

INDEX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . INDEX-1 – INDEX-38


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Copyright International Code Council 2015 INTERNATIONAL BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY
Chapter 16:
Structural Design
General Comments ASCE 7 load requirements are based on the National
Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program’s (NEHRP)
This chapter contains the commentary for the following Recommended Provisions for Seismic Regulations for
structural topics: definitions of structural terms, con- New Buildings and Other Structures (FEMA 450). The
struction document requirements, load combinations, NEHRP provisions were prepared by the Building Seis-
dead loads, live loads, snow loads, wind loads, soil lat- mic Safety Council (BSSC) for the Federal Emergency
eral loads, rain loads, flood loads and earthquake loads. Management Agency (FEMA).
This chapter provides minimum design requirements so
that all buildings and structures are proportioned to
resist the loads and forces that are likely to be encoun- Purpose
tered. The loads specified herein have been established The purpose of this chapter is to prescribe minimum
through research and service performance of buildings structural loading requirements for use in the design
and structures. The application of these loads and and construction of buildings and structures with the
adherence to the serviceability criteria will enhance the intent to minimize hazard to life and improve the occu-
protection of life and property. The earthquake loads, pancy capability of essential facilities after a design
wind loads and snow loads in this chapter are based on level event or occurrence.
the 2010 edition of ASCE 7. The earthquake criteria and

SECTION 1601
GENERAL DEAD LOADS.
1601.1 Scope. The provisions of this chapter shall govern the DESIGN STRENGTH.
structural design of buildings, structures and portions thereof DIAPHRAGM.
regulated by this code.
Diaphragm, blocked.
 While a significant portion of Chapter 16 is dedicated
to the determination of minimum design loads, it also Diaphragm boundary.
includes other important criteria that impact the Diaphragm chord.
design of structures, such as the permitted design ESSENTIAL FACILITIES.
methodologies, as well as the combinations of design
loads used to establish the required minimum FABRIC PARTITION.
strength of structural members. Unless stated other- FACTORED LOAD.
wise, the criteria found in this chapter are applicable
HELIPAD.
to all buildings and structures. See Chapter 34 for
application of these requirements to alterations, addi- ICE-SENSITIVE STRUCTURE.
tions or repairs to existing structures. IMPACT LOAD.
LIMIT STATE.
SECTION 1602 LIVE LOAD.
DEFINITIONS AND NOTATIONS LIVE LOAD (ROOF).
1602.1 Definitions. The following terms are defined in Chap-
LOAD AND RESISTANCE FACTOR DESIGN (LRFD).
ter 2:
LOAD EFFECTS.
 Definitions facilitate the understanding of code provi-
sions and minimize potential confusion. To that end, LOAD FACTOR.
this section lists definitions of terms associated with LOADS.
structural design. Note that these definitions are
NOMINAL LOADS.
found in Chapter 2. The use and application of
defined terms, as well as undefined terms, are set OTHER STRUCTURES.
forth in Section 201. PANEL (PART OF A STRUCTURE).
ALLOWABLE STRESS DESIGN. RESISTANCE FACTOR.
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Copyright International2015 INTERNATIONAL
Code Council BUILDING CODE COMMENTARY 16-1
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

RISK CATEGORY. combinations or subtracted in “counteractive”


STRENGTH, NOMINAL. load combinations. The term SDS, design spec-
tral re-sponse acceleration at short periods, is
STRENGTH, REQUIRED. explained in the commentary to Section
STRENGTH DESIGN. 1613.3.4.
SUSCEPTIBLE BAY. For example, when this expression is used in the
VEHICLE BARRIER. alternative allowable stress design load combinations
of Section 1605.3.2 that include earthquake load
NOTATIONS.
effects, the resulting combinations are as follows:
D = Dead load.
(see Equation 16-21)
Di = Weight of ice in accordance with Chapter 10 of ASCE D + L + S + E/1.4 =
7. (1 + 0.143SDs)D + L + S +QE/1.4
E = Combined effect of horizontal and vertical earthquake
induced forces as defined in Section 12.4.2 of ASCE (see Equation 16-22)
7. 0.9D + E/1.4 = (0.9 - 0.143SDs)D + QE/1.4
F = Load due to fluids with well-defined pressures and Earthquake design criteria are provided in Section
maximum heights. 1613, which, in turn, references the relevant ASCE 7
Fa = Flood load in accordance with Chapter 5 of ASCE 7. provisions for computation of the earthquake load
effects. While these loads are necessary for
H = Load due to lateral earth pressures, ground water establishing the required strength, the computed
pressure or pressure of bulk materials. forces approximate the expected deformations under
L = Roof live load greater than 20 psf (0.96 kN/m2) and the design earthquake ground motions and are not
floor live load. applied to a structure in an actual earthquake.
Lr = Roof live load of 20 psf (0.96 kN/m2) or less. • F refers to the nominal load due to fluids having
“well-defined pressures and maximum heights.”
R = Rain load. Unlike most other nominal loads, there is no
S = Snow load. code section governing the determination of
T = Self-straining load. fluid loads. Also note that F includes a vertical
component (fluid weight), as well as a horizontal
Vasd = Nominal design wind speed (3-second gust), miles per component (lateral pressure).
hour (mph) (km/hr) where applicable.
• Fa is used to refer to the flood load that is deter-
Vult = Ultimate design wind speeds (3-second gust), miles mined under Chapter 5 of ASCE 7. Note that
per hour (mph) (km/hr) determined from Figure Section 1612 does not directly refer to ASCE 7
1609.3(1), 1609.3(2), 1609.3(3) or ASCE 7. for flood loads, but instead requires buildings in
W = Load due to wind pressure. flood hazard areas to be designed and con-
structed in accordance with ASCE 24, Flood
Wi = Wind-on-ice in accordance with Chapter 10 of ASCE Resistant Design and Construction. This, in turn,
7.

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refers to ASCE 7 for determination of flood
 These notations are used to refer to specific nominal loads. Note that Fa is not explicitly included
loads that are determined in this chapter for use in under other loads listed for the alternative ASD
the load combinations in Section 1605: combination in Section 1605.3.2.
• D is the nominal dead load determined in Sec- • H is used to refer to the nominal load resulting
tion 1606. Also see the definition of “Dead load.” from lateral soil pressure, lateral pressure of
• Di is the weight of ice. See the ASCE 7 provi- ground water or the lateral pressure of bulk
sions referenced in Section 1614. materials. Section 1610 specifies minimum
requirements for lateral soil loads. Note that
• Earthquake load effect, E, in Section 12.4.2 of there are no specific provisions for the determi-
ASCE 7 includes the effects of the horizontal nation of loads resulting from the lateral pres-
load, Eh, as well as a vertical component, Ev. Eh sure of bulk materials.
is the product of the redundancy factor, , and
QE, the effects of horizontal earthquake forces. • L is the nominal live load determined in accor-
Ev accounts for vertical acceleration due to dance with Section 1607 (also see the definition
earthquake ground motion and is taken as of “Live load”). In addition to floor live loads, it
0.2SDSD. Note that its magnitude is not intended includes roof live loads that exceed the limit on
to represent a total vertical response, since that Lr. Lr represents nominal roof live loads up to 20
is not likely to coincide with the maximum hori- psf (0.96 N/m2).
zontal response. It is essentially a portion of the • R is the nominal rain load determined in accor-
dead load, D, that is added in “additive” load dance with Section 1611.

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STRUCTURAL DESIGN

• S is the nominal snow load determined in accor- appropriate structural details, criteria and design load
dance with Section 1608. data for verifying compliance with the provisions of
• T is used to refer to self-straining forces result- this chapter. Note that additional structural informa-
ing from contraction or expansion caused by tion and specific submittal documents may also be
temperature change, shrinkage, moisture required to be incorporated by Chapters 17 through
change or creep, as well as movement caused 23.
by differential settlement. A thermal gradient at The construction documents are required to con-
an exterior wall is an example of a structural ele- tain sufficient detail for the building official to perform
ment where these self-straining forces can plan review and field inspection, as well as for con-

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affect the design. Unlike most other nominal struction activity. Dimensions indicated on architec-
loads, there is no code section governing the tural drawings are not required to be duplicated on
determination of self-straining forces. T is not the structural drawings and vice versa. The design
included directly in the load combinations, but loads, to be indicated by the design professional on
reference to it is found in Sections 1605.2.1 and the construction documents, are to be consistent with
1605.3.1.2. the loads used in the structural calculations. While
the loads are not required to be on the construction
• Vasd refers to nominal design wind speeds that drawings, they must be included within the construc-
are determined in Section 1609.3.1. tion documents in a manner such that the design
• Vult refers to mapped wind speeds in order to dif- loads are clear. It is good practice, however, to
ferentiate them from the nominal design wind include the design loads on the construction draw-
speeds. ings, as these are often the only documents retained
• W is the strength-level wind load determined in by the owner and the building official after construc-
accordance with Section 1609. tion is completed. The building official is to compare
• Wi is the wind-on-ice loading. See the ASCE 7 the loads on the construction documents with the
provisions referenced in Section 1614. applicable minimum required loads as specified by
this chapter. The inclusion of the load design informa-
tion is an indication that the structure has been
SECTION 1603 designed for the loads required by the code. It should
CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS be emphasized that these requirements for construc-
tion documents are applicable regardless of the
1603.1 General. Construction documents shall show the size, involvement of a registered design professional,
section and relative locations of structural members with which is regulated by the applicable state’s licensing
floor levels, column centers and offsets dimensioned. The laws. The exception provides a less extensive list of
design loads and other information pertinent to the structural structural data to be indicated for buildings con-
design required by Sections 1603.1.1 through 1603.1.8 shall structed in accordance with the conventional wood-
be indicated on the construction documents. frame provisions of Section 2308. This is appropriate
Exception: Construction documents for buildings con- in view of the prescriptive nature of these require-
structed in accordance with the conventional light-frame ments.
construction provisions of Section 2308 shall indicate the 1603.1.1 Floor live load. The uniformly distributed, concen-
following structural design information: trated and impact floor live load used in the design shall be
1. Floor and roof live loads. indicated for floor areas. Use of live load reduction in accor-
2. Ground snow load, Pg. dance with Section 1607.10 shall be indicated for each type
of live load used in the design.
3. Ultimate design wind speed, Vult, (3-second gust),
miles per hour (mph) (km/hr) and nominal design  This section provides information for the building offi-
wind speed, Vasd, as determined in accordance with cial to facilitate the plan review process. The floor live
Section 1609.3.1 and wind exposure. loads, which are indicated on the construction docu-
ments by the design professional, are required to
4. Seismic design category and site class. meet or exceed the loads in Section 1607. Any live
5. Flood design data, if located in flood hazard areas load reductions taken are also to be indicated.
established in Section 1612.3. 1603.1.2 Roof live load. The roof live load used in the design
6. Design load-bearing values of soils. shall be indicated for roof areas (Section 1607.12).
 The term “construction documents” is defined in  This section provides information to facilitate the plan
Chapter 2. It is commonly used to refer to calcula- review process. The roof live loads, indicated on the
tions, drawings and specifications, but it includes construction documents by the design professional,
other data that is required to indicate compliance with are required to meet or exceed the loads in Section
the code as described in Section 107. The purpose of 1607.12.
this section is to specifically require the design pro- 1603.1.3 Roof snow load data. The ground snow load, Pg,
fessional to provide the building official with the shall be indicated. In areas where the ground snow load, Pg,

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STRUCTURAL DESIGN

exceeds 10 pounds per square foot (psf) (0.479 kN/m2), the 6. Seismic design category.
following additional information shall also be provided, 7. Basic seismic force-resisting system(s).
regardless of whether snow loads govern the design of the
roof: 8. Design base shear(s).
1. Flat-roof snow load, Pf. 9. Seismic response coefficient(s), CS.
2. Snow exposure factor, Ce. 10. Response modification coefficient(s), R.
3. Snow load importance factor, Is. 11. Analysis procedure used.
4. Thermal factor, Ct.  Providing the earthquake load design basis on the
construction documents facilitates the plan review
5. Drift surcharge load(s), Pd, where the sum of Pd and Pf
process. All buildings, except those indicated in the
exceeds 20 psf (0.96 kN/m2).
exceptions to Section 1613.1, are to be designed for
6. Width of snow drift(s), w. earthquake effects. The earthquake design data for a
 Providing the roof snow load design basis on the con- specific building are required to meet or exceed the
struction documents facilitates the plan review pro- minimum requirements established by Section 1613.
cess. The flat-roof snow load, snow exposure factor, 1603.1.6 Geotechnical information. The design load-bear-
snow load importance factor, Is, roof thermal factor, ing values of soils shall be shown on the construction docu-
drift surcharge loads, and snow drift widths are not to ments.
be less than the minimum requirements established
 Load-bearing values for soils must be documented so
by Section 1608.
that the foundation design can be verified.
1603.1.4 Wind design data. The following information
1603.1.7 Flood design data. For buildings located in whole
related to wind loads shall be shown, regardless of whether
or in part in flood hazard areas as established in Section
wind loads govern the design of the lateral force-resisting
1612.3, the documentation pertaining to design, if required in
system of the structure:
Section 1612.5, shall be included and the following informa-
1. Ultimate design wind speed, Vult, (3-second gust), miles tion, referenced to the datum on the community’s Flood
per hour (km/hr) and nominal design wind speed, Vasd, Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), shall be shown, regardless of
as determined in accordance with Section 1609.3.1. whether flood loads govern the design of the building:
2. Risk category. 1. Flood design class assigned according to ASCE 24.
3. Wind exposure. Applicable wind direction if more than 2. In flood hazard areas other than coastal high-hazard
one wind exposure is utilized. areas or coastal A zones, the elevation of the proposed
4. Applicable internal pressure coefficient. lowest floor, including the basement.
5. Design wind pressures to be used for exterior compo- 3. In flood hazard areas other than coastal high-hazard
nent and cladding materials not specifically designed areas or coastal A zones, the elevation to which any
by the registered design professional responsible for nonresidential building will be dry floodproofed.
the design of the structure, psf (kN/m2). 4. In coastal high-hazard areas and coastal A zones, the
 Providing the wind load design basis on the construc- proposed elevation of the bottom of the lowest horizon-
tion documents facilitates the plan review process. All tal structural member of the lowest floor, including the
five of the indicated items are to be on the submitted basement.
construction documents. Each of the indicated items  ASCE 24 requires each building and structure to be
is an important parameter in the determination of the assigned to a “Flood Design Class,” which is then
wind resistance that is required in the building frame- used throughout the standard to specify elevation
work. The building official should verify that the infor- requirements and floodproofing limitations. The flood
mation is on the construction documents during the hazard elevation information to be shown on the con-
plan review process. struction documents by the registered design profes-
1603.1.5 Earthquake design data. The following informa- sional provides information that allows the building
tion related to seismic loads shall be shown, regardless of official to facilitate the plan review process. By provid-
whether seismic loads govern the design of the lateral force- ing the design documentation required in Section
resisting system of the structure: 1612.5 and by citing the specified flood information,
the registered design professional is indicating that
1. Risk category.
the building was designed in accordance with the
2. Seismic importance factor, Ie. flood hazard requirements of Section 1612. If any
3. Mapped spectral response acceleration parameters, SS portion of a building is in a flood hazard area, then the
and S1. building must meet the corresponding flood require-
ments.
4. Site class. Depending on the nature of the flood hazard area
5. Design spectral response acceleration parameters, SDS (flood zone), certain elevation requirements are to be
and SD1. met. In flood hazard areas not subject to high-velocity
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wave action (commonly called A/AE zones), the low- the design standards that are referenced in the struc-
est floor of all buildings and structures or the eleva- tural material design chapters for concrete, alumi-
tion to which nonresidential buildings are dry num, masonry, steel and wood. For example,
floodproofed must be located at or above the eleva- empirical design of masonry is addressed in Section
tion specified in Section 1612.4 (which references 2109. The design of masonry using allowable stress
ASCE 24). In coastal high-hazard areas (commonly design is required to be in accordance with TMS 402/
called V or VE zones), the bottom of the lowest hori- ACI 530/ASCE 5 with the modifications in Section
zontal structural member must be located at or above 2107.
the elevation specified in Section 1612.4 (which refer- 1604.2 Strength. Buildings and other structures, and parts
ences ASCE 24). These elevations are the main fac- thereof, shall be designed and constructed to support safely
tor used in determining flood insurance premium the factored loads in load combinations defined in this code
rates. Constructing a building or structure with its low- without exceeding the appropriate strength limit states for the
est floor (or dry floodproofing) below the required ele- materials of construction. Alternatively, buildings and other
vation will result in significantly higher flood insurance structures, and parts thereof, shall be designed and con-
premiums for the building owner. structed to support safely the nominal loads in load combina-
1603.1.8 Special loads. Special loads that are applicable to tions defined in this code without exceeding the appropriate
the design of the building, structure or portions thereof shall specified allowable stresses for the materials of construction.
be indicated along with the specified section of this code that Loads and forces for occupancies or uses not covered in
addresses the special loading condition. this chapter shall be subject to the approval of the building
 Indication of special loads on the construction docu- official.
ments facilitates the plan review process. The design  This section describes the strength and allowable
professional is expected to identify any special loads stress design methods in the code. It also gives the
that the occupancy will impose on the structure. building official approval authority for structural loads
These could include the operating weight of specialty in buildings used for occupancies that are not specifi-
equipment, for instance. There are also instances cally addressed in this chapter.
outside of Chapter 16 where the code specifies load-
ing criteria that the structural design must address. 1604.3 Serviceability. Structural systems and members
For example, Section 415.9.2 requires that liquid thereof shall be designed to have adequate stiffness to limit
petroleum gas facilities be in accordance with NFPA deflections and lateral drift. See Section 12.12.1 of ASCE 7
58. In that document, a room housing a liquefied for drift limits applicable to earthquake loading.
petroleum gas distribution facility must be separated  The stated objective in this section is to limit member
from an adjacent use with ceilings and walls that are deflections and system drifts by providing adequate
designed for a static pressure of 100 pounds per stiffness. Note that the definition of “Limit state”
square foot (psf) (4788 Pa). describes a serviceability limit state as a condition
1603.1.8.1 Photovoltaic panel systems. The dead load of beyond which a structure or member is no longer
rooftop-mounted photovoltaic panel systems, including rack useful for its intended purpose. This would be in con-
support systems, shall be indicated on the construction docu- trast to a strength limit state beyond which the struc-
ments. ture or member is considered unsafe. The code does
not directly address a serviceability limit state.
 Providing the loads caused by photovoltaic panel Instead the code limits certain member deflections for
systems facilitates the plan review process. Although specific nominal loads in addition to the story drift lim-
dead loads are not generally provided on the con- its for earthquake load effects.
struction documents, the dead loads from photovol- The deflection limits for structural members must
taic panel systems can affect large areas of a be in accordance with the requirements in this and
structure’s roof and should be provided, including the subsequent sections. This section also provides a
weight of rack supports and any ballast. reference to the story drift limitations in the earth-
quake provisions. Generally, deflection limits are
needed for the comfort of the building occupants and
SECTION 1604
so that the structural member’s deflection does not
GENERAL DESIGN REQUIREMENTS
cause damage to supported construction. Excessive
1604.1 General. Building, structures and parts thereof shall deflection can also contribute to excessive vibration,
be designed and constructed in accordance with strength which is discomforting to the occupants of the build-
design, load and resistance factor design, allowable stress ing.
design, empirical design or conventional construction meth-
ods, as permitted by the applicable material chapters. TABLE 1604.3. See page 16-6.
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 The deflection limits in this table apply when they are


 This section identifies the various design methods
more restrictive than those in the structural design
that are permitted by the code and referenced design
standards that are indicated in Sections 1604.3.2
standards. The details for these design methods are
through 1604.3.5. Note that the deflection limits for
either explicitly specified in the code or are located in
exterior walls and interior partitions vary depending

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on the type of finish (i.e., flexible, plaster and stucco A1. In computing deflections to verify compliance
or other brittle finishes). A flexible finish is intended to with Table 1604.3 limits, the loads shown in the
be one that has been designed to accommodate the column headings of Table 1604.3 are the only
higher deflection indicated and remain serviceable. A loads that must be applied to the member. The
brittle finish is any finish that has not been designed load used to check the deflection in this case is
to accommodate the deflection allowed for a flexible W, the nominal wind load in accordance with
finish. The more restrictive limit for plaster or stucco is Section 1609. It is not necessary to use the load
based on ASTM C926. The deflection limit for a roof combinations of Section 1605.3 for verifying that
member supporting a plaster ceiling is intended to the deflection limits have been met.
apply only for a plaster ceiling. The limit for a roof
member supporting a gypsum board ceiling is that Q2. Note f permits the wind load to be taken as 0.42
listed in the table for “supporting a nonplaster ceiling.” times the “component and cladding” loads for
The answers to the following frequently asked the purpose of determining deflection limits.
questions provide further guidance on applying the Please explain the basis for this 0.42
deflection limits of the code. adjustment.
Frequently Asked Questions—Table 1604.3 A2. There are two aspects to this adjustment. The
first is the conversion from a wind speed with a
Q1. For purposes of checking the deflection limits of 50-year mean recurrence interval (MRI) to a 10-
Table 1604.3, should the calculated wind load year MRI event at an allowable stress design
be used directly or the combined loads from level. The mapped wind speeds of the code
Section 1605.3.1 or 1605.3.2? have generally been based on an MRI of 50
TABLE 1604.3
DEFLECTION LIMITSa, b, c, h, i
CONSTRUCTION L S or W f D + Ld, g
e
Roof members:
Supporting plaster or stucco ceiling l/360 l/360 l/240
Supporting nonplaster ceiling l/240 l/240 l/180
Not supporting ceiling l/180 l/180 l/120
Floor members l/360 — l/240
Exterior walls:
With plaster or stucco finishes — l/360 —
With other brittle finishes — l/240 —
With flexible finishes — l/120 —

Interior partitions:b
With plaster or stucco finishes l/360 — —
With other brittle finishes l/240 — —
With flexible finishes l/120 — —

Farm buildings — — l/180


Greenhouses — — l/120
For SI: 1 foot = 304.8 mm.
a. For structural roofing and siding made of formed metal sheets, the total load deflection shall not exceed 1/60. For secondary roof structural members
supporting formed metal roofing, the live load deflection shall not exceed 1/150. For secondary wall members supporting formed metal siding, the design
wind load deflection shall not exceed 1/90. For roofs, this exception only applies when the metal sheets have no roof covering.
b. Flexible, folding and portable partitions are not governed by the provisions of this section. The deflection criterion for interior partitions is based on the
horizontal load defined in Section 1607.14.
c. See Section 2403 for glass supports.
d. The deflection limit for the D+L load combination only applies to the deflection due to the creep component of long-term dead load deflection plus the short-
term live load deflection. For wood structural members that are dry at time of installation and used under dry conditions in accordance with the ANSI/AWC
NDS, the creep component of the long-term deflection shall be permitted to be estimated as the immediate dead load deflection resulting from 0.5D. For wood
structural members at all other moisture conditions, the creep component of the long-term deflection is permitted to be estimated as the immediate dead load
deflection resulting from D. The value of 0.5D shall not be used in combination with ANSI/AWC NDS provisions for long-term loading.
e. The above deflections do not ensure against ponding. Roofs that do not have sufficient slope or camber to ensure adequate drainage shall be investigated for
ponding. See Section 1611 for rain and ponding requirements and Section 1503.4 for roof drainage requirements.
f. The wind load is permitted to be taken as 0.42 times the “component and cladding” loads for the purpose of determining deflection limits herein. Where
members support glass in accordance with Section 2403 using the deflection limit therein, the wind load shall be no less than 0.6 times the “component and
cladding” loads for the purpose of determining deflection.
g. For steel structural members, the dead load shall be taken as zero.
h. For aluminum structural members or aluminum panels used in skylights and sloped glazing framing, roofs or walls of sunroom additions or patio covers not
supporting edge of glass or aluminum sandwich panels, the total load deflection shall not exceed 1/60. For continuous aluminum structural members
supporting edge of glass, the total load deflection shall not exceed 1/175 for each glass lite or 1/60 for the entire length of the member, whichever is more
stringent. For aluminum sandwich panels used in roofs or walls of sunroom additions or patio covers, the total load deflection shall not exceed 1/120.
i. For cantilever members, 1 shall be taken as twice the length of the cantilever.
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years. Serviceability checks, such as deflection, type of joist, and rolled steel members are to meet the
have typically been based on a lower MRI (for deflection criteria in AISC 360.
example, 10 years). The ASCE 7 commentary to 1604.3.4 Masonry. The deflection of masonry structural
the 2005 edition provided factors to convert to members shall not exceed that permitted by TMS 402/ACI
wind speeds with MRIs other than 50 years in 530/ASCE 5.
Table C6-7. For wind speeds between 85 mph  The deflection limits for masonry beams and lintels is
(38 m/s) and 100 mph (45 m/s), the factor for 10 specified in TMS 402/ACI 530/ASCE 5.
years in Table C6-7 was 0.84. This conversion
factor applies to the wind speed, V. Since design 1604.3.5 Aluminum. The deflection of aluminum structural
wind pressure is a function of V2, the conversion members shall not exceed that permitted by AA ADM1.
factor must be squared before applying it to the  The deflection of aluminum structural members is lim-
design wind pressure. The factor 0.84 squared ited to that in AA ADM1 for aluminum or that permit-
is 0.7056, which is rounded off to 0.7, which was ted by Table 1604.3 of the code.
the factor given in previous editions of the code. 1604.3.6 Limits. The deflection limits of Section 1604.3.1
The second aspect is the conversion of the wind shall be used unless more restrictive deflection limits are
load from strength level to allowable stress required by a referenced standard for the element or finish
design level, which means the 0.7 factor is material.
multiplied by 0.6, giving rise to the factor of 0.42
in the footnote.  The limits specified in Table 1604.3 apply to the indi-
cated members for any structural material. As indi-
Q3. In Table 1604.3, Note g states that the dead cated in Section 1604.3.1, the deflection limits in the
load shall be taken as zero for structural steel structural material standards apply when they are
members. Would this apply to the more restrictive than indicated in the table.
precomposition check of composite beam Deflection limits applicable to a flat concrete roof
deflection limits under wet weight of concrete? member that does not support any nonstructural ele-
A3. No. The serviceability requirements of Section ments likely to be damaged by large deflections are
1604.3 apply to the finished construction. The summarized in Commentary Figure 1604.3.6. As can
loading condition described would be a con- be seen, the code deflection criterion is more strin-
struction consideration, which is not directly reg- gent and would govern the design of this type of
ulated by the serviceability criteria. member.
1604.3.1 Deflections. The deflections of structural members
shall not exceed the more restrictive of the limitations of Sec- LOADS
Construction
tions 1604.3.2 through 1604.3.5 or that permitted by Table L S or W D+L
1604.3. IBC Table 1604.3
 The deflection of structural members is limited by the Roof members l/360 l/360 l/240
code, as well as certain material standards for dam- Concrete per ACI 318 See Table 9.5(b)
age control of supported construction and human Flat roofs l/180 Note a Note a
comfort. Generally, the public equates visible deflec-
tion, or even detectable vibration, with a potentially a. No deflection limit specified in ACI 318.
unsafe condition (which in many cases is not true). Figure 1604.3.6
The intent of this section is that calculated deflection CONCRETE ROOF MEMBER DEFLECTION CRITERIA
is not to exceed either the limitations in the applicable
material design standard or the applicable specified
1604.4 Analysis. Load effects on structural members and
requirements.
their connections shall be determined by methods of struc-
1604.3.2 Reinforced concrete. The deflection of reinforced tural analysis that take into account equilibrium, general sta-
concrete structural members shall not exceed that permitted bility, geometric compatibility and both short- and long-term
by ACI 318. material properties.
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 The deflection limitations in ACI 318 are not to be Members that tend to accumulate residual deformations
exceeded for reinforced (and prestressed) concrete under repeated service loads shall have included in their anal-
(see ACI 318 for detailed deflection requirements). ysis the added eccentricities expected to occur during their
1604.3.3 Steel. The deflection of steel structural members service life.
shall not exceed that permitted by AISC 360, AISI S100, Any system or method of construction to be used shall be
ASCE 8, SJI CJ, SJI JG, SJI K or SJI LH/DLH, as applicable. based on a rational analysis in accordance with well-estab-
 The design standard to be met depends on the type lished principles of mechanics. Such analysis shall result in a
of steel structural member. For example, steel joists system that provides a complete load path capable of transfer-
are to meet the deflection limitations in the Steel Joist ring loads from their point of origin to the load-resisting ele-
Institute’s (SJI) standard, which is applicable to the ments.

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The total lateral force shall be distributed to the various standard specifies that the assignment of a risk category be in
vertical elements of the lateral force-resisting system in pro- accordance with ASCE 7, Table 1.5-1, Table 1604.5 shall be
portion to their rigidities, considering the rigidity of the hori- used in lieu of ASCE 7, Table 1.5-1.
zontal bracing system or diaphragm. Rigid elements assumed  This section requires classification of the risk cate-
not to be a part of the lateral force-resisting system are per- gory of any building in accordance with the nature of
mitted to be incorporated into buildings provided their effect occupancy as described in Table 1604.5. The risk
on the action of the system is considered and provided for in category serves as a threshold for a variety of code
the design. A diaphragm is rigid for the purpose of distribu- provisions related to earthquake, flood, snow and
tion of story shear and torsional moment when the lateral wind loads. Particularly noteworthy are the impor-
deformation of the diaphragm is less than or equal to two tance factors that are used in the calculation of
times the average story drift. Where required by ASCE 7, design earthquake, snow and wind loads. The value
provisions shall be made for the increased forces induced on of the importance factor generally increases with the
resisting elements of the structural system resulting from tor- importance of the facility. Structures assigned greater
sion due to eccentricity between the center of application of importance factors must be designed for larger
the lateral forces and the center of rigidity of the lateral force- forces. The result is a more robust structure that
resisting system. would be less likely to sustain damage under the
Every structure shall be designed to resist the overturning same conditions than a structure with a lower impor-
effects caused by the lateral forces specified in this chapter. tance factor. The intent is to enhance a structure's
See Section 1609 for wind loads, Section 1610 for lateral soil performance based on its use or the need to remain
loads and Section 1613 for earthquake loads. in operation during and after a design event.
 This section includes the general requirements for The impact of a higher risk category classification
structural analysis. The principles stated in this sec- is not limited to increasing the design loads. Com-
tion are those commonly found in structural engineer- pared to Risk Category I, II or III, for instance, a Risk
ing textbooks. The requirement that structural Category IV classification can lead to a higher seis-
analysis be capable of demonstrating a complete mic design category classification that can, in turn,
load path is essential to the adequate resistance of require more stringent seismic detailing and limita-
the structural system to wind loads or earthquake tions on the seismic-force-resisting system. This can
effects. The load path is to be capable of transferring also affect the seismic design requirements for archi-
all of the loads from their point of application onto the tectural, mechanical and electrical components and
structure to the foundation. It is also important that systems.
nonstructural rigid elements be properly accounted In the event that a referenced standard refers to
for in the design. For example, a partial-height rigid ASCE 7 for determination of risk category, the deter-
masonry wall placed between steel columns in a steel mination of risk category is required to be made
frame will resist the horizontal shear load and cause according to Table 1604.5, not according to ASCE 7.
bending in the column unless a flexible joint is pro- This requirement is intended to address conflicts
vided between the wall and the column. between ASCE 7 and this code with respect to deter-
The definition of “Diaphragm” in Section 202.1 mination of risk category.
includes definitions that distinguish a rigid diaphragm TABLE 1604.5. See page 16-9.
from a flexible diaphragm. The distribution of forces in  The risk category determined in this table generally
buildings with flexible diaphragms differs from those increases with the importance of the facility, which
having rigid diaphragms. Where the diaphragm is relates to the availability of the facility after an emer-
determined to be flexible, the effect of torsion on the gency, and the consequence of a structural failure on
distribution of lateral forces is considered to be negli- human life. The categories range from Risk Category
gible and can therefore be neglected in the structural I, which represents the lowest hazard to life, through
analysis. Otherwise, for structures having rigid dia- Risk Category IV, which encompasses essential facil-
phragms, this section requires the engineer to distrib- ities.
ute lateral forces to the vertical supporting elements
in proportion to their rigidities, and to include the Risk Category IV: These are buildings that are
effect of the increased forces induced on the vertical considered to be essential in that their continuous use
supporting elements resulting from torsion due to is needed, particularly in response to disasters. Fire,
eccentricity between the center of mass and the cen- rescue and police stations, and emergency vehicle
ter of rigidity. garages must remain operational during and after
1604.5 Risk category. Each building and structure shall be major events, such as earthquakes, floods or hurri-
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assigned a risk category in accordance with Table 1604.5. canes. The phrase “designated as essential facilities”
Where a referenced standard specifies an occupancy cate- refers to designation by the building official that cer-
gory, the risk category shall not be taken as lower than the tain facilities are required for emergency response or
occupancy category specified therein. Where a referenced disaster recovery. This provides jurisdictions the lati-

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tude to identify specific facilities that should be etc., should be self-evident. Some items warranting
considered essential in responding to various types of additional discussion are as follows:
emergencies. These could include structures that • Designated emergency shelters and desig-
would not otherwise be included in this risk category. nated emergency response facilities. These
This designation would only be made with items repeat the term “designated,” which is
consideration of broader public policy, as well as referring to designation by the building official
emergency preparedness planning within the that the facilities have been identified as neces-
jurisdiction in question. The reasons for including sary for sheltering evacuees or responding to
facilities, such as hospitals, fire stations, police emergencies (see discussion of “designated”
stations, emergency response operations centers, above). For example, an elementary school hav-
TABLE 1604.5
RISK CATEGORY OF BUILDINGS AND OTHER STRUCTURES
RISK CATEGORY NATURE OF OCCUPANCY
Buildings and other structures that represent a low hazard to human life in the event of failure, including but not lim-
ited to:
I • Agricultural facilities.
• Certain temporary facilities.
• Minor storage facilities.
II Buildings and other structures except those listed in Risk Categories I, III and IV.
Buildings and other structures that represent a substantial hazard to human life in the event of failure, including but
not limited to:
• Buildings and other structures whose primary occupancy is public assembly with an occupant load greater than
300.
• Buildings and other structures containing Group E occupancies with an occupant load greater than 250.
• Buildings and other structures containing educational occupancies for students above the 12th grade with an
occupant load greater than 500.
• Group I-2 occupancies with an occupant load of 50 or more resident care recipients but not having surgery or
emergency treatment facilities.
III • Group I-3 occupancies.
• Any other occupancy with an occupant load greater than 5,000.a
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• Power-generating stations, water treatment facilities for potable water, wastewater treatment facilities and other
public utility facilities not included in Risk Category IV.
• Buildings and other structures not included in Risk Category IV containing quantities of toxic or explosive
materials that:
Exceed maximum allowable quantities per control area as given in Table 307.1(1) or 307.1(2) or per
outdoor control area in accordance with the International Fire Code; and
Are sufficient to pose a threat to the public if released.b
Buildings and other structures designated as essential facilities, including but not limited to:
• Group I-2 occupancies having surgery or emergency treatment facilities.
• Fire, rescue, ambulance and police stations and emergency vehicle garages.
• Designated earthquake, hurricane or other emergency shelters.
• Designated emergency preparedness, communications and operations centers and other facilities required for
emergency response.
• Power-generating stations and other public utility facilities required as emergency backup facilities for Risk
IV Category IV structures.
• Buildings and other structures containing quantities of highly toxic materials that:
Exceed maximum allowable quantities per control area as given in Table 307.1(2) or per outdoor control
area in accordance with the International Fire Code; and
Are sufficient to pose a threat to the public if released.b
• Aviation control towers, air traffic control centers and emergency aircraft hangars.
• Buildings and other structures having critical national defense functions.
• Water storage facilities and pump structures required to maintain water pressure for fire suppression.
a. For purposes of occupant load calculation, occupancies required by Table 1004.1.2 to use gross floor area calculations shall be permitted to use net floor areas
to determine the total occupant load.
b. Where approved by the building official, the classification of buildings and other structures as Risk Category III or IV based on their quantities of toxic,
highly toxic or explosive materials is permitted to be reduced to Risk Category II, provided it can be demonstrated by a hazard assessment in accordance with
Section 1.5.3 of ASCE 7 that a release of the toxic, highly toxic or explosive materials is not sufficient to pose a threat to the public.

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ing an occupant load of 275 would typically be pant load greater than 300. Public assembly
considered a Risk Category III facility. If that occupancies meeting this criterion will typically
school is designated as an emergency shelter, be classified as Group A in Chapter 3. The
then the school will be considered a Risk Cate- wording requires agreement on the determina-
gory IV building. tion that a building’s “primary occupancy” is in
• Facilities supplying emergency backup power fact public assembly. This could be as simple as
for Risk Category IV. A power-generating station verifying that the portion of the building housing
or other utility (such as a natural gas facility) is the public assembly occupancy is more than 50
to be classified as Risk Category IV only if the percent of the total building area.
facility serves an emergency backup function for • Group 1-2 occupancies with an occupant load of
a Risk Category IV building, such as a fire sta- 50 or more resident patients, but not having sur-
tion or police station. Otherwise, the power-gen- gery or emergency treatment facilities. This cat-
erating station or utility should be classified as egory applies to health care facilities with at
Risk Category III. least 50 resident patients. The term “resident
• Structures with quantities of highly toxic materi- patient” is not defined or used elsewhere in the
als in excess of the quantities permitted for a code, but would seem to refer to locations where
control area in Table 307.1(2). This applies only those patients receive around-the-clock (24-
to “Highly toxic materials” (see definition in Sec- hour) care as opposed to ambulatory surgery
tion 307.2), which are covered in the second row centers or outpatient units. This table entry cov-
of Table 307.1(2). That table lists the maximum ers facilities where patients have difficulty
allowable quantities per control area of materials responding to an emergency or are incapable of
posing a health hazard. Since the use of control self-preservation.
areas is permitted by Table 307.1(2), it is rea- • Buildings having an occupant load greater than
sonable to recognize the control area for the pur- 5,000. Uses that pose elevated life-safety con-
pose of making this risk category determination. cerns, such as public assembly uses, schools
In other words, this applies to occupancies that and health care facilities, are covered elsewhere
are classified as Group H-4 based on the quanti- and have a much lower threshold based on the
ties of highly toxic material exceeding the permit- number of occupants. This table entry covers
ted quantity within a control area. However, buildings that are large enough to have more
recognizing control areas means that both the than 5,000 occupants, providing added protec-
risk category as well as the occupancy classifica- tion for the occupants of larger structures what-
tion could be lowered by adding either fire-resis- ever the use happens to be. In order to
tance-rated walls or floor/ceiling assemblies in determine occupant load, the methods outlined
order to divide the building into a number of in Section 1004 are normally used. Chapter 10
smaller control areas. The additional wording sets forth standards that provide a reasonably
“….sufficient to pose a threat to the public if conservative number of occupants for all
released,” places a further qualification on the spaces, and while actual loads are commonly
material quantity, but it is subjective since the less than the design amount, it is not unusual in
threat to the public could be difficult to determine. the life of a space in a building to have periods
Also note that a Group H-4 occupancy classifica- when high actual occupant loads exist. Because
tion could be based on exceeding the quantities there is no clear rationale that connects the
permitted for toxics or corrosives [see Table occupant load used to calculate minimum
307.1(2)], but the presence of those materials means of egress requirements to the risks asso-
would not affect the assessment of the facility as ciated with structural design, Note a provides
Risk Category IV. some reasonable adjustment to this determina-
tion by permitting the use of net floor area. It
Risk Category III: Risk Category III buildings include provides a more reasonable approach for occu-
those occupancies that have relatively large numbers pancies, such as office, mercantile and residen-
of occupants because of the overall size of the tial, that are required to base occupant load on
building. They also include uses that pose an gross area—an area that includes corridors,
elevated life-safety hazard to the occupants, such as stairways, elevators, closets, accessory areas,
public assembly, schools or colleges. In addition, Risk structural walls and columns, etc.
Category III includes uses where the occupants’
• Power-generating stations, potable water treat-
ability to respond to an emergency is restricted, such
ment facilities, wastewater treatment and other
as in jails, or otherwise impaired, such as in nursing
public utilities not included in Risk Category IV.
homes housing patients who require skilled nursing
A failure and subsequent shutdown of these
care. A discussion of some of the specific table types of facilities would not pose an immediate
listings follows: threat to life safety. These infrastructure items
• Buildings and other structures with a primary are considered Risk Category III because of the
occupancy that is public assembly with an occu-
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impact an extended disruption in service can regardless of the type of load being considered. The
have on the public. code identifies two design options for mixed-use
• Buildings not included in Risk Category IV con- buildings. The entire structure can be designed as a
taining quantities of toxic or explosive materials single unit based on the requirements for the most
that exceed permitted quantities per control area stringent risk category for the building. Alternatively,
in Table 307.1(1) or 307.1(2) and are sufficient to the engineer can structurally separate portions of the
pose a threat to the public if released. Buildings structure containing distinct occupancy categories
included under Risk Category IV would be those and design each portion accordingly based on its risk
containing quantities of highly toxic materials that category.
exceed the permitted quantity in Table 307.1(2) This section also provides direction regarding
(see discussion under “Risk Category IV” access to and egress from adjacent structures that
above). This item addresses buildings with fall into different occupancy categories by making the
explosives or toxic substances, both of which are requirements for the more stringent risk category
defined in Section 307.2. applicable to both structures. This requirement is the
result of lessons learned from events, such as earth-
Risk Category II: Risk Category II buildings repre- quakes, in which essential functions have been ren-
sent a lesser hazard to life because of fewer building dered unusable because of a failure in an adjacent
occupants and smaller building size compared to structure.
those that are considered Risk Category III. Since
1604.6 In-situ load tests. The building official is authorized
Risk Categories III and IV represent buildings with
to require an engineering analysis or a load test, or both, of
higher risk or essential facilities, on a relative scale
any construction whenever there is reason to question the
Risk Category II can be thought of as a “standard
safety of the construction for the intended occupancy. Engi-
occupancy” building as evidenced by importance fac-
neering analysis and load tests shall be conducted in accor-
tors for earthquake, snow and wind that are all equal
to 1. Most buildings and structures are considered to dance with Section 1708.
be Risk Category II.  Engineering analyses and load tests are means of
Risk Category I: Risk Category I buildings exhibit the assessing whether there exists a significant risk to life
lowest hazard to life since they have little or no safety from a structure. The building official should
human occupants or, for those that are temporary, document his or her reasons for invoking this section.
the exposure to the hazards of earthquakes, floods, A third-party review by an engineering firm accept-
snow and wind would be considerably less than that able to both the building official and the owner would
of a permanent structure. Note that this category be appropriate in the event that a structural analysis
includes “minor storage facilities,” but the code does is required. A load test is also an appropriate means
not provide an explanation of which storage facilities of assessing a structure. If the structure being tested
could be considered minor. supports the test loads and meets the performance
criteria in the applicable standard or test protocol, the
1604.5.1 Multiple occupancies. Where a building or struc- structure or element is deemed to have sufficient
ture is occupied by two or more occupancies not included in structural capacity. Test protocols for concrete and
the same risk category, it shall be assigned the classification steel are provided in ACI 318 and AISC 360, respec-
of the highest risk category corresponding to the various tively. Load tests can also be used by engineers who
occupancies. Where buildings or structures have two or more want to verify that a structure has sufficient capacity.
portions that are structurally separated, each portion shall be

--`,`,,,,,,`,,,,`,````,`,,,,,``-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---
separately classified. Where a separated portion of a building 1604.7 Preconstruction load tests. Materials and methods of
or structure provides required access to, required egress from construction that are not capable of being designed by
or shares life safety components with another portion having approved engineering analysis or that do not comply with the
a higher risk category, both portions shall be assigned to the applicable referenced standards, or alternative test procedures
higher risk category. in accordance with Section 1707, shall be load tested in
accordance with Section 1709.
 Buildings are frequently occupied by a mixture of
uses or occupancies. Where multiple occupancies  The alternative test procedure described in Section
are proposed in a building, the risk category of each 1707 and the preconstruction load test procedure
one must be considered. In some cases, the pro- described in Section 1709 are intended to apply to
posed occupancies in a building will fall into more materials or an assembly of structural materials that
than one risk category and the requirements for multi- generally do not have an accepted analysis tech-
ple occupancies stated in Section 1604.5.1 must be nique; thus, they are approved for use by way of the
satisfied. These requirements were previously part of alternative test procedure. The preconstruction test
the earthquake load provisions. As of the 2006 edi- procedure in Section 1709 includes the determination
tion, they were relocated so that they now apply of the allowable superimposed design load (see Sec-
tion 1709 for details).

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1604.8 Anchorage. Buildings and other structures, and por- fied during inspection, decks shall be self-supporting. Con-
tions thereof, shall be provided with anchorage in accordance nections of decks with cantilevered framing members to
with Sections 1604.8.1 through 1604.8.3, as applicable. exterior walls or other framing members shall be designed for
both of the following:
 Sections 1604.8.1 through 1606.8.3 contain general
anchorage requirements as well as specific require- 1. The reactions resulting from the dead load and live load
ments for the anchorage of walls and decks. specified in Table 1607.1, or the snow load specified in
Section 1608, in accordance with Section 1605, acting
1604.8.1 General. Anchorage of the roof to walls and col- on all portions of the deck.
umns, and of walls and columns to foundations, shall be pro-
vided to resist the uplift and sliding forces that result from the 2. The reactions resulting from the dead load and live load
application of the prescribed loads. specified in Table 1607.1, or the snow load specified in
Section 1608, in accordance with Section 1605, acting
 This section states a specific load path requirement on the cantilevered portion of the deck, and no live load
for anchorage that is already required in more gen- or snow load on the remaining portion of the deck.
eral terms by Section 1604.4. Required anchorage
resistance to uplift and sliding is determined in accor-  This requirement for the positive anchorage of decks
dance with the appropriate load combinations in Sec- is a result of failures that have occurred primarily on
tion 1605, which account for the effects of nonengineered residential decks. Toenail connec-
earthquakes, fluid pressures, lateral earth pressure or tions are relatively weak and less reliable since many
wind (also see Section 1604.9). of the field connections split the wood framing mem-
An example of the condition described in this sec- ber. Nails that are installed in line with applied tension
tion is roof uplift as a result of high winds. Table forces pull out easily.
2308.10.1 requires roof uplift connectors for wood- In order to make the loading considerations clear
frame construction designed and installed in accor- for decks with cantilevers, this section states the two
dance with the prescriptive requirements for conven- loading conditions that are applicable. The second
tional light-frame construction. Note that net roof uplift condition covers the case where uplift can occur at
occurs at all wind speeds indicated in the table; thus, the back-span support. This highlights the need for
uplift connectors are required for roof wood framing resistance to uplift by a positive connection at the
for all of the indicated wind speed locations. exterior wall. These conditions also clarify that snow
load should be considered.
1604.8.2 Structural walls. Walls that provide vertical load-
bearing resistance or lateral shear resistance for a portion of 1604.9 Counteracting structural actions. Structural mem-
the structure shall be anchored to the roof and to all floors and bers, systems, components and cladding shall be designed to
members that provide lateral support for the wall or that are resist forces due to earthquakes and wind, with consideration
supported by the wall. The connections shall be capable of of overturning, sliding and uplift. Continuous load paths shall
resisting the horizontal forces specified in Section 1.4.5 of be provided for transmitting these forces to the foundation.
ASCE 7 for walls of structures assigned to Seismic Design Where sliding is used to isolate the elements, the effects of
Category A and to Section 12.11 of ASCE 7 for walls of friction between sliding elements shall be included as a force.
structures assigned to all other seismic design categories.  This section requires that all elements of the structure
Required anchors in masonry walls of hollow units or cavity be designed to resist the required earthquake and
walls shall be embedded in a reinforced grouted structural wind effects. The required level of resistance will be
element of the wall. See Sections 1609 for wind design based on the appropriate load combinations of Sec-
requirements and 1613 for earthquake design requirements. tion 1605. The term “counteracting” used in the sec-
 This section refers to the ASCE 7 technical provisions tion title refers to so-called counteracting load
for the minimum strength design load on anchorages combinations as opposed to those in which the load
of walls to the horizontal diaphragms that provide lat- effects are additive. The effects of overturning, uplift
eral support. The connection requirements apply to and sliding are most pronounced in these counterac-
both bearing walls and walls that resist lateral loads. tive load combinations. These would consist of the
The wall anchorage must be a positive connection following depending on the design method chosen:
that does not rely on friction for load transfer. Earth- • Load and resistance factor design or strength
quake detailing provisions may result in higher design, Section 1605.2:
anchorage design forces based on the seismic 0.9D + 1.0 W + 1.6H Equation 16-6
design category of the building, as well as the mass
0.9(D + F) + 1.0E + 1.6H Equation 16-7
of the wall.
• Basic allowable stress design load combina-
1604.8.3 Decks. Where supported by attachment to an exte- tions, Section 1605.3.1:
rior wall, decks shall be positively anchored to the primary
structure and designed for both vertical and lateral loads as 0.6D + 0.6W + H Equation 16-15
applicable. Such attachment shall not be accomplished by the 0.6(D + F) + 0.7E + H Equation 16-16
use of toenails or nails subject to withdrawal. Where positive • Alternative allowable stress design load combi-
connection to the primary building structure cannot be veri- nations, Section 1605.3.2:

--`,`,,,,,,`,,,,`,````,`,,,,,``-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

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0.9D + E/1.4 Equation 16-22 SECTION 1605


(Note the adjustment to the vertical LOAD COMBINATIONS
component of earthquake load effect that is 1605.1 General. Buildings and other structures and portions
permitted for evaluating foundations.) thereof shall be designed to resist:
(2/3)D + (0.6 x 1.3)W Equation 16-18 1. The load combinations specified in Section 1605.2,
(Equation 16-18 with L = 0 in accordance 1605.3.1 or 1605.3.2;
with Section 1605.1 requirement to 2. The load combinations specified in Chapters 18
investigate each load combination with one through 23; and
or more variable loads equal to zero, two-
3. The seismic load effects including overstrength factor
thirds of the dead load in accordance with in accordance with Section 12.4.3 of ASCE 7 where
requirement in Section 1605.3.2 and  set required by Section 12.2.5.2, 12.3.3.3 or 12.10.2.1 of
equal to 1.3 for 3-second gust wind speed.) ASCE 7. With the simplified procedure of ASCE 7
As can be seen, for the critical counteracting load Section 12.14, the seismic load effects including over-
combinations, resistance to overturning, uplift and strength factor in accordance with Section 12.14.3.2 of
sliding is largely provided by dead load. Note that ASCE 7 shall be used.
Section 1605.3.2 requires the designer to consider Applicable loads shall be considered, including both earth-
only the dead load likely to be in place during a quake and wind, in accordance with the specified load combi-
design wind event when using the alternative allow- nations. Each load combination shall also be investigated
able stress load combinations. Regardless of the with one or more of the variable loads set to zero.
design methodology utilized, the designer should be
cautious in estimating dead loads that resist overturn- Where the load combinations with overstrength factor in
ing, sliding and uplift. In order to remain conservative, Section 12.4.3.2 of ASCE 7 apply, they shall be used as fol-
estimated dead load should be no more than the lows:
actual dead load in these cases (see design dead 1. The basic combinations for strength design with over-
load in Section 1606.2). To keep a structure from slid- strength factor in lieu of Equations 16-5 and 16-7 in
ing horizontally, the dead load must generate enough Section 1605.2.
friction at the base of the structure to resist the hori-
zontal base shear due to earthquake and wind. Oth- 2. The basic combinations for allowable stress design
erwise, adequate anchorage must be provided to with overstrength factor in lieu of Equations 16-12, 16-
resist the base shear. 14 and 16-16 in Section 1605.3.1.
1604.10 Wind and seismic detailing. Lateral force-resisting 3. The basic combinations for allowable stress design
--`,`,,,,,,`,,,,`,````,`,,,,,``-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

systems shall meet seismic detailing requirements and limita- with overstrength factor in lieu of Equations 16-21 and
tions prescribed in this code and ASCE 7, excluding Chapter 16-22 in Section 1605.3.2.
14 and Appendix 11A, even when wind load effects are  Generally, there are two types of load combinations
greater than seismic load effects. specified in the code: those to be used with a strength
 This section is needed to clarify that the seismic design [or load and resistance factor design (LRFD)]
detailing requirements of the code always apply, and those to be used with allowable stress design.
even where the wind load effects are higher than the Where additional load combinations are specified in
seismic load effects. This is required because the cal- the structural material chapters, they apply also. Note
culated earthquake load is dependent upon an that this section also requires that for a given load
assumed level of ductility to be provided in the combination engineers also consider additional load
selected seismic-force-resisting system. If the cases where one or more variable loads are not act-
designer does not follow through by providing the ing concurrently with other variable loads. It is neces-
detailing required to achieve the ductility of the sary to explore such possibilities, since they can at
selected system, the assumption is invalid and the times result in the most critical load effect for some
structure may not perform adequately in the event of elements of a structure. According to the definition of
an earthquake. “Loads,” loads that are not considered permanent are
For example, consider the case where the earth- variable loads.
quake load provisions apply in accordance with Sec- The load combinations with overstrength factor in
tion 1613.1, the seismic-force-resisting system is an Section 12.4.3.2 of ASCE 7 only apply where specifi-
ordinary concentrically braced steel frame and, based cally required by the seismic provisions. They do not
on the seismic design category, Section 2205 replace the applicable load combinations for strength
requires that the AISC 341 seismic provisions are to design or allowable stress design. They constitute an
be met. For this case, the requirements in Section 14 additional requirement that must be considered in the
of AISC 341 must be satisfied in the design of the design of specific structural elements.
steel frame, even if the wind load effects exceed the The purpose of these load combinations with over-
seismic load effects. strength factor is to account for the maximum earth-

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Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 16-13
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

quake load effect, Em, which considers “system For example, Section 12.3.3.3 of ASCE 7 applies
overstrength.” This system characteristic is to structural elements that support discontinuous
accounted for by multiplying the effects of the lateral frames or shear wall systems where the discontinuity
earthquake load by the overstrength factor, 0, for the is severe enough to be deemed a structural irregular-
seismic-force-resiting system that is utilized. It is rep- ity. See Commentary Figure 1605.1(1) for examples
resentative of the upper bound system strength for of building configurations that include discontinuous
purposes of designing nonyielding elements for the vertical systems. Also see the commentary to Section
maximum expected load. Under the design earth- 12.3.3.3 of ASCE 7.
quake ground motions, the forces generated in the Section 12.10.2.1 of ASCE 7 applies to collector
seismic-force-resisting system can be much greater elements in structures assigned to Seismic Design
than the prescribed seismic design forces. If not Category C or higher. The term “collector” describes
accounted for, the system overstrength effect can an element used to transfer forces from a diaphragm
cause failures of structural elements that are sub- to the supporting element(s) of the lateral-force-
jected to these forces. Because system overstrength resisting system where the length of the vertical ele-
is unavoidable, design for the maximum earthquake ment is less than the diaphragm dimension at that
force that can be developed is warranted for certain location. Commentary Figure 1605.1(2) illustrates
elements. The intent is to provide key elements with this relationship. Failures of collectors can result in
sufficient overstrength so that inelastic (ductile) loads not being delivered to resisting elements and
response/behavior appropriately occurs within the separation of a portion of a building from its lateral-
vertical-resisting elements. force-resisting system. Where a collector also sup-
The ASCE 7 earthquake load provisions that ports gravity loads, such a failure would result in the
require consideration of the load combinations with loss of a portion of the gravity load-carrying system.
overstrength factor are stated in this section. Note The intent is to provide collector elements that have
that these load combinations are not general load sufficient overstrength so that any inelastic behavior
cases, but are only to be applied where specified in appropriately occurs within the seismic-force-resist-
the indicated earthquake load provisions (see above) ing system rather than the collector elements.
or in the structural materials requirements (see Sec- Maximum earthquake load effect, Em, in Section
tion 1810.3.11.2 for an example of the latter). 12.4.3 of ASCE 7 includes effects of the horizontal
--`,`,,,,,,`,,,,`,````,`,,,,,``-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

Figure 1605.1(1)
EXAMPLES OF DISCONTINUOUS SHEAR WALLS

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load, Emh, as well as a vertical component, Ev. Emh is where:


the product of the overstrength factor, 0, and QE, the f1 = 1 for places of public assembly live loads in excess of
effects of horizontal earthquake forces. Ev is the 100 pounds per square foot (4.79 kN/m2), and parking
same vertical component used for the earthquake garages; and 0.5 for other live loads.
load effect, E (see commentary, Section 1602.1).
f2 = 0.7 for roof configurations (such as saw tooth) that do
not shed snow off the structure, and 0.2 for other roof
configurations.
Exceptions:
1. Where other factored load combinations are specifi-
cally required by other provisions of this code, such
combinations shall take precedence.
2. Where the effect of H resists the primary variable
load effect, a load factor of 0.9 shall be included
with H where H is permanent and H shall be set to
zero for all other conditions.
 This section lists the load combinations for strength
design or load and resistance factor design methods.
See the definitions in Section 1602 for an explanation
of the load notations. The basis for these load combi-
nations is Section 2.3.2 of ASCE 7. These combina-
tions of factored loads are the agreed-upon strength-
limit states that establish the required strength to be
Figure 1605.1(2) provided in the structural component being designed.
COLLECTORS In spite of the precise appearance of the load and
resistance factor design load combinations, one
1605.1.1 Stability. Regardless of which load combinations should keep in mind their probabilistic nature. The
are used to design for strength, where overall structure stabil- goal is to allow a wide variety of structures to be
ity (such as stability against overturning, sliding, or buoy- designed economically with an acceptably low proba-
ancy) is being verified, use of the load combinations specified bility that the strength of the structure will be
in Section 1605.2 or 1605.3 shall be permitted. Where the exceeded. Doing so necessitates combining loads in
load combinations specified in Section 1605.2 are used, scenarios that are likely to occur. Dead load is a per-
strength reduction factors applicable to soil resistance shall manent load and it appears in every combination.
be provided by a registered design professional. The stability The load combinations are constructed by adding the
of retaining walls shall be verified in accordance with Section dead load to one of the variable loads at its maximum
1807.2.3. value, which is typically indicated by the load factor of
1.6. In addition, other variable loads are included with
 This section permits soil resistance and strength load factors that are less than 1.0. Those so-called
reduction factors to be considered where strength “companion loads” represent arbitrary point-in-time
design factored loads are used in foundation design. values for those loads. The exception is the maxi-
1605.2 Load combinations using strength design or load mum earthquake load that has a load factor of 1.0
and resistance factor design. Where strength design or load (see the commentary to the definitions “Factored
and resistance factor design is used, buildings and other struc- load” and “Nominal load” in Section 202).
tures, and portions thereof, shall be designed to resist the 1605.2.1 Other loads. Where flood loads, Fa, are to be con-
most critical effects resulting from the following combina-
sidered in the design, the load combinations of Section 2.3.3
tions of factored loads: of ASCE 7 shall be used. Where self-straining loads, T, are
1.4(D +F) (Equation 16-1) considered in design, their structural effects in combination
1.2(D + F) + 1.6(L + H) + 0.5(Lr or S or R) with other loads shall be determined in accordance with Sec-
(Equation 16-2) tion 2.3.5 of ASCE 7. Where an ice-sensitive structure is sub-
jected to loads due to atmospheric icing, the load
1.2(D + F) + 1.6(Lr or S or R) + 1.6H + (ƒ1L or 0.5W) combinations of Section 2.3.4 of ASCE 7 shall be considered.
(Equation 16-3)
 For all buildings and structures located in flood haz-
1.2(D + F) + 1.0W + ƒ1L + 1.6H + 0.5(Lr or S or R)
--`,`,,,,,,`,,,,`,````,`,,,,,``-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

ard areas, this section specifies that flood load and


(Equation 16-4) flood load combinations using the strength design
1.2(D + F) + 1.0E + ƒ1L + 1.6H + ƒ2S (Equation 16-5) method are to be determined in accordance with Sec-
tion 2.3.3 of ASCE 7, which states:
0.9D+ 1.0W+ 1.6H (Equation 16-6)
When a structure is located in a flood zone (Sec-
0.9(D + F) + 1.0E+ 1.6H (Equation 16-7) tion 5.3.1), the following load combinations shall

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Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 16-15
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

be considered in addition to the basic combina- in recognition of the lower probability that two or more
tions in Section 2.3.2: variable loads will reach their maximum values simul-
1. In V-Zones or Coastal A-Zones, 1.0W in taneously.
Previous editions of the model codes specified that
combinations 4 and 6 shall be replaced by
the overturning moment and sliding due to wind load
1.0W + 2.0Fa. could not exceed two-thirds of the dead load stabiliz-
2. In noncoastal A-Zones, 1.0W in combina- ing moment; however, it was not typically applied to
tions 4 and 6 shall be replaced by 0.5W + all elements in the building. In the code, this limitation
1.0Fa. on dead load is accomplished through the load com-
binations. The applicable combination is 0.6D + 0.6W
1605.3 Load combinations using allowable stress design. + H. This load combination limits the dead load resist-
1605.3.1 Basic load combinations. Where allowable stress ing wind loads to 60 percent (2/3 = 0.67; round down)
design (working stress design), as permitted by this code, is and it applies to all elements where dead load is used
used, structures and portions thereof shall resist the most crit- to resist wind loads.
ical effects resulting from the following combinations of The load combination, 0.6 (D + F) + 0.7E + H,
loads: applies throughout the structure and provides for
overall stability of the structure similar to the load
D+F (Equation 16-8) combination for wind. In determining seismic load
D+H+F+L (Equation 16-9) effect, E, the definition of effective seismic weight
D + H + F + (Lr or S or R) (Equation 16-10) requires inclusion of a portion of roof snow under cer-
tain conditions. Frequently the question is asked
D + H + F+ 0.75(L) + 0.75(Lr or S or R) (Equation 16-11) whether it is logical to include a component of snow
D + H + F + (0.6W or 0.7E) (Equation 16-12) load in determining E, but not to use that same weight
of snow in the load case to resist the overturning or
D + H + F + 0.75(0.6W) + 0.75L + 0.75(Lr or S or R) uplift due to E. This apparent inconsistency has been
(Equation 16-13) built into the seismic requirements for some time. It
D + H + F + 0.75 (0.7 E) + 0.75 L + 0.75 S introduces a bit more conservatism into the earth-
(Equation 16-14) quake loading where heavier snow loads are con-
cerned.
0.6D + 0.6W+H (Equation 16-15)
Exception 1 for crane hook loads has been a long-
0.6(D + F) + 0.7E+H (Equation 16-16) standing allowance in the alternative basic load com-
Exceptions: binations of Section 1605.3.1 under the legacy model
codes and is now permitted in the code. It allows spe-
1. Crane hook loads need not be combined with roof
cial consideration in combining crane loads with wind,
live load or with more than three-fourths of the snow
snow and roof live loads due to a lower probability
load or one-half of the wind load.
that these maximum loads occur simultaneously. As
2. Flat roof snow loads of 30 psf (1.44 kN/m2) or less noted above, these basic load combinations are
and roof live loads of 30 psf (1.44 kN/m2) or less based on ASCE 7 allowable stress load combina-
need not be combined with seismic loads. Where flat tions, but there is no corresponding exception for
roof snow loads exceed 30 psf (1.44 kN/m2), 20 per- crane loads under ASCE 7. In the development of the
cent shall be combined with seismic loads. 2000 edition of this code, this exception was added to
3. Where the effect of H resists the primary variable the basic load combinations in an attempt to provide
load effect, a load factor of 0.6 shall be included “parity” with the alternative basic load combinations.
with H where H is permanent and H shall be set to It is worth noting that these two sets of load combina-
zero for all other conditions. tions come from two different sources as described
above and, from an overall perspective, they never
4. In Equation 16-15, the wind load, W, is permitted to have provided parity. Crane loads are considered live
be reduced in accordance with Exception 2 of Sec- loads (see Section 1607.13). Exception 1 has no
tion 2.4.1 of ASCE 7. effect on dead load, other floor live loads, rain loads
5. In Equation 16-16, 0.6 D is permitted to be or earthquake loads; thus, where crane live loads are
increased to 0.9 D for the design of special rein- to be considered, the exception eliminates the roof
--`,`,,,,,,`,,,,`,````,`,,,,,``-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

forced masonry shear walls complying with Chapter live load, Lr, altogether and reduces the snow load to
21. 0.75S and wind load to 0.5(0.6W). This exception
 See Section 1602 for an explanation of the notations. does not negate the need to combine live loads other
These basic load combinations for allowable stress than the crane live loads in the usual manner with
design are based on Section 2.4.1 of ASCE 7. Note wind and snow loads. In other words, the load combi-
that a 0.75 factor is applied where these combina- nations in Equations 16-11 and 16-13 must be inves-
tions include more than one variable load. This tigated without the crane live load and then modified
reduces the combined effect of these variable loads versions of these combinations that include crane live

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load (use L0 to denote crane live load) would be con- design method are to be determined in accordance
sidered to make use of the exception as follows: with Section 2.4.2 of ASCE 7, which states:
Equation 16-11 When a structure is located in a flood zone, the
D + H + F + 0.75L + 0.75 (L, or S or R) following load combinations shall be considered in
Equation 16-11c addition to the basic combinations in Section
D + H + F + 0.75 (L + Lc) + 0.75 (0.75S or R) 2.4.1:
1. In V-Zones or Coastal A-Zones (Section
Equation 16-13 5.3.1), 1.5Fa shall be added to other loads in
D + H + F + 0.75 (0.6W) + 0.75L + 0.75
(L, or S or R) combinations 5, 6, and 7, and E shall be set
equal to zero in 5 and 6.
Equation 16-13c
D + H + F + 0.75 (0.5 x 0.6W) + 0.75[L + Lc] + 2. In noncoastal A-Zones, 0.75Fa shall be
0.75 (0.75S or R) added to the combinations 5, 6, and 7, and E
shall be set equal to zero in 5 and 6.
Equation 16-14
D + H + F + 0.75 (0.7E) + 0.75L + 0.75S 1605.3.2 Alternative basic load combinations. In lieu of the
basic load combinations specified in Section 1605.3.1, struc-
Equation 16-14c
tures and portions thereof shall be permitted to be designed
D + H + F + 0.75 (0.7E) + 0.75[L + Lc] +
for the most critical effects resulting from the following com-
0.75 (0.75S) binations. When using these alternative basic load combina-
Exception 2 states, “flat roof snow loads of 30 psf tions that include wind or seismic loads, allowable stresses
(1.44 kN/m2) or less need not be combined with seis- are permitted to be increased or load combinations reduced
mic loads.” This is an exception to the requirement to where permitted by the material chapter of this code or the
combine the effects of snow and earthquake load as referenced standards. For load combinations that include the
would otherwise be required by Equation 16-14. counteracting effects of dead and wind loads, only two-thirds
1605.3.1.1 Stress increases. Increases in allowable stresses of the minimum dead load likely to be in place during a
specified in the appropriate material chapter or the referenced design wind event shall be used. When using allowable
standards shall not be used with the load combinations of stresses that have been increased or load combinations that
Section 1605.3.1, except that increases shall be permitted in have been reduced as permitted by the material chapter of this
accordance with Chapter 23. code or the referenced standards, where wind loads are calcu-
lated in accordance with Chapters 26 through 31 of ASCE 7,
 Some code sections and some referenced standards the coefficient () in the following equations shall be taken as
permit increases in the allowable stress where load 1.3. For other wind loads, () shall be taken as 1. When
combinations include either wind or earthquake loads. allowable stresses have not been increased or load combina-
Such increases are expressly prohibited with the tions have not been reduced as permitted by the material
basic allowable stress load combinations. This prohi- chapter of this code or the referenced standards, () shall be
bition is due to the 0.75 reduction applied to multiple taken as 1. When using these alternative load combinations to
variable loads in these load combinations, which has evaluate sliding, overturning and soil bearing at the soil-
replaced the concept of allowable stress increases. structure interface, the reduction of foundation overturning
Several adjustment factors for the design of wood from Section 12.13.4 in ASCE 7 shall not be used. When
construction allow increases to reference design val- using these alternative basic load combinations for propor-
ues, such as the load duration factor, size factor, flat tioning foundations for loadings, which include seismic
use factor, repetitive member factor, buckling stiffness loads, the vertical seismic load effect, Ev, in Equation 12.4-4
factor and bearing area factor. These wood adjust- of ASCE 7 is permitted to be taken equal to zero.
ment factors are considered to be material dependent.
Since they are not related to the presence of particular D + L + (Lr or S or R) (Equation 16-17)
design loads, this section recognizes their use. D + L + 0.6 W (Equation 16-18)
1605.3.1.2 Other loads. Where flood loads, Fa, are to be con- D + L + 0.6 W + S/2 (Equation 16-19)
sidered in design, the load combinations of Section 2.4.2 of
ASCE 7 shall be used. Where self-straining loads, T, are con- D + L + S + 0.6W/2 (Equation 16-20)
--`,`,,,,,,`,,,,`,````,`,,,,,``-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

sidered in design, their structural effects in combination with D + L + S + E/1.4 (Equation 16-21)
other loads shall be determined in accordance with Section 0.9D + E/1.4 (Equation 16-22)
2.4.4 of ASCE 7. Where an ice-sensitive structure is sub-
jected to loads due to atmospheric icing, the load combina- Exceptions:
tions of Section 2.4.3 of ASCE 7 shall be considered. 1. Crane hook loads need not be combined with roof
 The study discussed in the commentary to Section live loads or with more than three-fourths of the
1605.2.1 determined flood load and flood load combi- snow load or one-half of the wind load.
nation factors for use with the allowable stress 2. Flat roof snow loads of 30 psf (1.44 kN/m2) or less
method. This section specifies that flood load and and roof live loads of 30 psf (1.44 kN/m2) or less
flood load combinations using the allowable stress need not be combined with seismic loads. Where flat

Copyright International2015 INTERNATIONAL


Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 16-17
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

roof snow loads exceed 30 psf (1.44 kN/m2), 20 per- loads are to be added to each of the load combina-
cent shall be combined with seismic loads. tions in Section 1605.3.2.

 These are alternative load combinations to those in


Section 1605.3.1 for use with allowable stress design. SECTION 1606
They are based on the allowable stress load combina- DEAD LOADS
tions in the Uniform Building Code (UBC). 1606.1 General. Dead loads are those loads defined in Chap-
Note that the dead load is limited to two-thirds of ter 2 of this code. Dead loads shall be considered permanent
the dead load likely to be in place during a design loads.
wind event. Section 1604.9 requires that all elements
of a building be anchored to resist overturning, uplift  The nominal dead load, D, is determined in accor-
and sliding. Often, a considerable portion of this dance with Section 1606. Similar to the general sec-
resistance is provided by the dead load of a building, tion on live loads (see Section 1607.1), this section
including the weight of foundations and any soil provides a reminder that the term “dead loads” is
directly above them. This section requires the defined, establishing exactly what should be consid-
designer to give consideration to the dead load used ered a dead load. It also states that dead loads are
to resist wind loads by stating that only the minimum considered permanent. This affects how dead loads
dead load likely to be in place during a design wind are classified (permanent versus variable), which is a
event is permitted to be used. This, however, does necessary distinction to make when applying the pro-
not imply that certain parts or elements of a building visions for load combinations.
are not designed to remain in place. This criteria sim- 1606.2 Design dead load. For purposes of design, the actual
ply cautions the designer against using dead loads weights of materials of construction and fixed service equip-
that may not be installed or in place, such as can ment shall be used. In the absence of definite information,
occur where a design includes an allowance for a values used shall be subject to the approval of the building
planned future expansion. official.
Although allowable stresses are permitted to be
increased (or load combinations are permitted to be  When determining the design dead loads, the actual
reduced) where permitted by the material chapter of weights of all materials, equipment, construction, etc.,
this code or the referenced standards for wind and are to be used for the structural design. Often the
seismic loads, the wind forces are then required to be exact type of materials and equipment to be installed
increased by an approximately equal amount where has not yet been determined by the design team at
the wind loads are determined in accordance with the time the structural design is initiated. Where the
ASCE 7. This effectively negates the effect of the actual weights are not known, it is common to use an
increase in allowable stresses (or reduction in load estimate of the anticipated materials and equipment.
combinations) associated with wind. While the actual dead load itself does not vary, the
Exception 1 for crane hook loads has been a long- estimate of the dead load that is used in structural
standing allowance under the legacy model codes computations can vary. Such estimates of dead loads
that were also the source of these alternative basic are typically greater than the actual dead loads so that
load combinations. It allows special consideration in the computations are conservative and a redesign of
combining crane live loads with wind, snow and roof the structure will not be necessary when the actual
live loads due to a lower probability that these maxi- weights become known. This section clarifies that the
mum loads occur simultaneously. building official must approve these estimated dead
Exception 2 states, “flat roof snow loads of 30 psf loads.
(1.44 N/m2) or less need not be combined with seis- Overestimating the actual dead load, so that the
mic loads.” This is an exception to the requirement to design computations are conservative, is acceptable
combine the effects of snow and earthquake load as when considering load combinations in Section 1605
would otherwise be required by Equation 16-21. that are additive. But the same cannot be said when
Also see the commentary to Section 1602.1 for dis- using counteracting load combinations (see commen-
cussion of earthquake load effect, E, as well as other tary, Section 1604.9). In determining the anchorage
--`,`,,,,,,`,,,,`,````,`,,,,,``-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

loads required by these load combinations. required to resist the overturning or uplift effects of
wind or seismic loads, some resistance is typically
1605.3.2.1 Other loads. Where F, H or T are to be consid- provided by the dead load. For example, wind uplift
ered in the design, each applicable load shall be added to the forces cause tension to develop in hold-down connec-
combinations specified in Section 1605.3.2. Where self- tions. If the dead load used to resist the wind uplift is
straining loads, T, are considered in design, their structural overestimated, the resulting resistance to overturning
effects in combination with other loads shall be determined in or uplift will be less than the code intends. Note that
accordance with Section 2.4.4 of ASCE 7. Section 1605.3.2 restricts the dead load used to coun-
teract the effects of overturning and uplift to be the
 See Section 1602 for an explanation of the notation minimum dead load likely to be in place during a
used in this section. As indicated, the applicable design wind event.

16-18 Code Council


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STRUCTURAL DESIGN

As a design guideline, see the unit weights of com- tion of occupancy. The values given are conservative
mon construction materials and assemblies in Tables and include both the sustained and variable portions
C3-1 and C3-2 of the commentary to ASCE 7. The of the live load. Section 1607.3 directs the designer to
unit dead loads listed in the tables for assembled ele- utilize the greater live loads produced by the intended
ments are usually given in units of pounds per square occupancy, but not less than the minimum uniformly
foot (psf) of surface area (e.g., floor areas, wall areas, distributed live loads listed in Table 1607.1. It should
ceiling areas, etc.). Unit dead loads for materials used also be noted that the “occupancy” category listed is
in construction are given in terms of density. The unit not necessarily group specific. For example, an office
weights given in the tables are generally single val- building may be classified as Group B, but still con-
ues, even though a range of weights may actually tain incidental storage areas. Depending on the type
exist. The average unit weights given are generally of storage, the areas may warrant storage live loads
suitable for design purposes. However, where there is of either 125 or 250 psf (5.98 or 11.9 kN/m2) to be
reason to believe that the actual weights of assembled applied to the space in question.
elements or construction materials may substantially Table 1607.1 specifies minimum uniform live load
exceed the tabular values, then the situation should in residential attics for three distinct conditions: unin-
be investigated and the higher values used. habitable attics without storage; uninhabitable attics
with limited storage; and habitable attics and sleeping
areas. Commentary Figure 1607.1(1) summarizes
SECTION 1607 the uniform live loads that apply to uninhabitable
LIVE LOADS attics based on the criteria contained in Notes i, j and
1607.1 General. Live loads are those loads defined in Chap- k to Table 1607.1. The process for determining which
ter 2 of this code. load is applicable is summarized in the flow chart in
Commentary Figure 1607.1(2).
 Nominal live loads are determined in accordance with
Section 1607. The live load requirements for the
design of buildings and structures are based on the Description Uniform Load
type of occupancy. Live loads are transient loads that Without storage 10 psf
vary with time. Generally, the design live load is that
which is believed to be near the maximum transient With storage 20 psf
load that is reasonably expected to occur for a given Served by a stairway 30 psf
occupancy.
TABLE 1607.1. See pages 16-20 through 16-22. Figure 1607.1(1)
 The design values of live loads for both uniform and SUMMARY OF MINIMUM LIVE LOAD
REQUIRED IN UNINHABITABLE ATTICS
concentrated loads are shown in the table as a func-

SERVED BY MINIMUM
STAIRWAY? NO CLEARANCE ≥42 NO USE 10 psf MINIMUM LIVE LOAD
(FOOTNOTE k) INCHES IN FOR ATTICS WITHOUT STORAGE.
ACCORDANCE WITH

NO
YES
YES

USE 30 psf LIVE


LOAD. TRUSS YES FOOTNOTE i & j
CONSTRUCTION? CRITERIA APPLY?

NO
YES
USE 20 psf FOR ATTICS
WITH STORAGE.
USE 20 psf FOR ATTICS WITH STORAGE WHERE
CLEARANCE IS PER FOOTNOT j. USE 10 psf ELSEWHERE.

For SI: 1 inch = 25.4 mm, 1 pound per square foot = 47.88 Pa.

Figure 1607.1(2)
DETERMINATION OF ATTIC LIVE LOAD IN ACCORDANCE WITH TABLE 1607.1 FOOTNOTES i, j and k
--`,`,,,,,,`,,,,`,````,`,,,,,``-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

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Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 16-19
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

One noteworthy distinction made by Note k is that TABLE 1607.1


MINIMUM UNIFORMLY DISTRIBUTED LIVE LOADS, L0, AND
any uninhabitable attic that is served by a stairway MINIMUM CONCENTRATED LIVE LOADSg
(other than a pull-down type) must be designed using
UNIFORM CONCENTRATED
the load of 30 psf (1.44 kN/m2) that is applicable to OCCUPANCY OR USE
(psf) (pounds)
habitable attics (see Note k). The implication is that
1. Apartments (see residential) — —
the presence of a stairway is more conducive to using
2. Access floor systems
the attic for storage and therefore warrants a greater Office use 50 2,000
design live load. This recognizes that the stairway is Computer use 100 2,000
likely to serve an attic with greater headroom, provid- 3. Armories and drill rooms 150m —
ing more storage capacity. For an attic that is
4. Assembly areas
accessed by other means, such as a framed opening Fixed seats (fastened to floor) 60m
or pull-down stairs, it is necessary to determine Follow spot, projections and
whether the attic storage load applies in accordance control rooms 50
with the criteria contained in Notes i and j. Lobbies 100m —
Movable seats 100m
Historically, a minimum load of 10 psf (0.48 kN/m2) Stage floors 150m
has been viewed as appropriate where occasional Platforms (assembly) 100m
access to the attic is anticipated for maintenance pur- Other assembly areas 100m
poses, but significant storage is restricted by physical Same as
constraints, such as low clearance or the configura- 5. Balconies and decksh occupancy —
tion of truss webs. It provides a minimum degree of served
structural integrity, allowing for occasional access to 6. Catwalks 40 300
an attic space for maintenance purposes. Allowing 7. Cornices 60 —
--`,`,,,,,,`,,,,`,````,`,,,,,``-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

the application of this load to be independent of other 8. Corridors


live loads is deemed appropriate, since it would be First floor 100
rare for this load and other maximum live loads to Other floors Same as
occupancy —
occur at once. served
Note m clarifies that a live load reduction is not per- except as
mitted unless specific exceptions of Section 1607.10 indicated
apply. The note appears at each specific use or occu- 9. Dining rooms and restaurants 100m —
pancy in Table 1607.1 where a live load reduction is 10. Dwellings (see residential) — —
restricted, which serves to clarify the limitations on 11. Elevator machine room and control
live load reduction. References appear in Sections room grating — 300
1607.10.1 and 1607.10.2 to correlate with the note. (on area of 2 inches by 2 inches)
12. Finish light floor plate construction
— 200
(on area of 1 inch by 1 inch)
13. Fire escapes 100

On single-family dwellings only 40
14. Garages (passenger vehicles only) 40m Note a
Trucks and buses See Section 1607.7
15. Handrails, guards and grab bars See Section 1607.8
16. Helipads See Section 1607.6
17. Hospitals
Corridors above first floor 80 1,000
Operating rooms, laboratories 60 1,000
Patient rooms 40 1,000
18. Hotels (see residential) — —
19. Libraries
Corridors above first floor 80 1,000
Reading rooms 60 1,000
Stack rooms 150b, m 1,000
20. Manufacturing
Heavy 250m 3,000
Light 125m 2,000
21. Marquees, except one- and two-family
75 —
dwellings
22. Office buildings
Corridors above first floor 80 2,000
File and computer rooms shall be — —
designed for heavier loads based
on anticipated occupancy
Lobbies and first-floor corridors 100 2,000
Offices 50 2,000

(continued)

16-20 Code Council


Copyright International 2015 INTERNATIONAL BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

TABLE 1607.1—continued TABLE 1607.1—continued


MINIMUM UNIFORMLY DISTRIBUTED LIVE LOADS, L0, AND MINIMUM UNIFORMLY DISTRIBUTED LIVE LOADS, L0, AND
MINIMUM CONCENTRATED LIVE LOADSg MINIMUM CONCENTRATED LIVE LOADSg
UNIFORM CONCENTRATED UNIFORM CONCENTRATED
OCCUPANCY OR USE OCCUPANCY OR USE
(psf) (pounds) (psf) (pounds)

23. Penal institutions 30. Stairs and exits


300f

--`,`,,,,,,`,,,,`,````,`,,,,,``-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---
Cell blocks 40 — One- and two-family dwellings 40
Corridors 100 All other 100 300f

24. Recreational uses: 31. Storage warehouses (shall be designed


Bowling alleys, poolrooms and for heavier loads if required for
similar uses 75m anticipated storage) —
Dance halls and ballrooms 100m Heavy 250m
Gymnasiums 100m Light 125m
Ice skating rink 250m —
32. Stores
Reviewing stands, grandstands and
c, m Retail
bleachers 100
First floor 100 1,000
Roller skating rink 100m
Upper floors 75 1,000
Stadiums and arenas with fixed
Wholesale, all floors 125m 1,000
seats (fastened to floor) 60c, m
33. Vehicle barriers See Section 1607.8.3
25. Residential
One- and two-family dwellings 34. Walkways and elevated platforms
60 —
Uninhabitable attics without (other than exitways)
storagei 10 35. Yards and terraces, pedestrians 100m —
Uninhabitable attics with storagei, j, k 20
Habitable attics and sleeping areask 30 For SI: 1 inch = 25.4 mm, 1 square inch = 645.16 mm , 2

Canopies, including marquees 20 — 1 square foot = 0.0929 m2,


All other areas 40 1 pound per square foot = 0.0479 kN/m2, 1 pound = 0.004448 kN,
Hotels and multifamily dwellings 1 pound per cubic foot = 16 kg/m3.
Private rooms and corridors serving a. Floors in garages or portions of buildings used for the storage of motor
them 40 vehicles shall be designed for the uniformly distributed live loads of this
Public roomsm and corridors serving table or the following concentrated loads: (1) for garages restricted to
them 100 passenger vehicles accommodating not more than nine passengers, 3,000
pounds acting on an area of 41/2 inches by 41/2 inches; (2) for mechanical
26. Roofs parking structures without slab or deck that are used for storing passenger
All roof surfaces subject to main- vehicles only, 2,250 pounds per wheel.
tenance workers 300 b. The loading applies to stack room floors that support nonmobile, double-
Awnings and canopies: faced library book stacks, subject to the following limitations:
Fabric construction supported by a 5
skeleton structure Nonreducible 1. The nominal book stack unit height shall not exceed 90 inches;
All other construction, except one- 2. The nominal shelf depth shall not exceed 12 inches for each face; and
and two-family dwellings 20 3. Parallel rows of double-faced book stacks shall be separated by aisles
Ordinary flat, pitched, and curved not less than 36 inches wide.
roofs (that are not occupiable) 20
c. Design in accordance with ICC 300.
Primary roof members exposed to a
work floor d. Other uniform loads in accordance with an approved method containing
Single panel point of lower chord of provisions for truck loadings shall be considered where appropriate.
roof trusses or any point along e. The concentrated wheel load shall be applied on an area of 41/2 inches by
primary structural members 41/2 inches.
supporting roofs over manufac- f. The minimum concentrated load on stair treads shall be applied on an area
turing, storage warehouses, and of 2 inches by 2 inches. This load need not be assumed to act concurrently
repair garages 2,000 with the uniform load.
All other primary roof members 300 g. Where snow loads occur that are in excess of the design conditions, the
Occupiable roofs: structure shall be designed to support the loads due to the increased loads
Roof gardens 100 caused by drift buildup or a greater snow design determined by the
Assembly areas 100m building official (see Section 1608).
All other similar areas Note 1 Note 1 h. See Section 1604.8.3 for decks attached to exterior walls.
27. Schools i. Uninhabitable attics without storage are those where the maximum clear
Classrooms 40 1,000 height between the joists and rafters is less than 42 inches, or where there
Corridors above first floor 80 1,000 are not two or more adjacent trusses with web configurations capable of
First-floor corridors 100 1,000 accommodating an assumed rectangle 42 inches in height by 24 inches in
width, or greater, within the plane of the trusses. This live load need not be
28. Scuttles, skylight ribs and accessible assumed to act concurrently with any other live load requirements.
— 200
ceilings
29. Sidewalks, vehicular driveways and (continued)
250d, m 8,000e
yards, subject to trucking

(continued)

Copyright International2015 INTERNATIONAL


Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 16-21
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

TABLE 1607.1—continued case be less than the minimum uniformly distributed live
MINIMUM UNIFORMLY DISTRIBUTED LIVE LOADS, Lo, AND
MINIMUM CONCENTRATED LIVE LOADSg
loads given in Table 1607.1.
j. Uninhabitable attics with storage are those where the maximum clear  Studies have shown that building live loads consist of
height between the joists and rafters is 42 inches or greater, or where a sustained portion based on the day-to-day use of
there are two or more adjacent trusses with web configurations capable the facilities, and a variable portion created by
of accommodating an assumed rectangle 42 inches in height by 24 inches
in width, or greater, within the plane of the trusses. unusual events, such as remodeling, temporary stor-
The live load need only be applied to those portions of the joists or age of materials, the extraordinary assemblage of
truss bottom chords where both of the following conditions are met: people for an occasional business meeting or social
i. The attic area is accessible from an opening not less than 20 inches function (e.g., a holiday party) and similar events. The
in width by 30 inches in length that is located where the clear sustained portion of the live load will likely vary during
height in the attic is a minimum of 30 inches; and the life of a building because of tenant changes, rear-
ii. The slopes of the joists or truss bottom chords are no greater than rangement of office space and furnishings, changes
two units vertical in 12 units horizontal. in the nature of the occupancy (i.e., number of people
The remaining portions of the joists or truss bottom chords shall be or type of business), traffic patterns and so on. In light
designed for a uniformly distributed concurrent live load of not less than
10 pounds per square foot. of the variability of loadings that are apt to be
k. Attic spaces served by stairways other than the pull-down type shall be imposed on a building, the code provisions simplify
designed to support the minimum live load specified for habitable attics the design procedure by expressing the applicable
and sleeping rooms. load as either a uniformly distributed live load or a
l. Areas of occupiable roofs, other than roof gardens and assembly areas, concentrated live load on the floor area. It should be
shall be designed for appropriate loads as approved by the building
official. Unoccupied landscaped areas of roofs shall be designed in
pointed out that this section does not require the con-
accordance with Section 1607.12.3. current application of uniform live load and concen-
m. Live load reduction is not permitted unless specific exceptions of Section trated live load. In other words, this section requires
1607.10 apply. that either the uniform load or the concentrated load
be applied, so long as the type of load that produces
the greater stress in the structural element under con-
1607.2 Loads not specified. For occupancies or uses not des- sideration is utilized.
ignated in Table 1607.1, the live load shall be determined in
accordance with a method approved by the building official. 1607.4 Concentrated live loads. Floors and other similar
surfaces shall be designed to support the uniformly distrib-
 Whenever an occupancy or use of a structure cannot uted live loads prescribed in Section 1607.3 or the concen-
be identified with the listing shown in Table 1607.1, trated live loads, given in Table 1607.1, whichever produces
then the live load values used for design are required the greater load effects. Unless otherwise specified, the indi-
to be determined by the design professional and sub- cated concentration shall be assumed to be uniformly distrib-
ject to the approval of the building official. Aside from uted over an area of 21/2 feet by 21/2 feet (762 mm by 762
the obvious intent of this requirement, which is to pre- mm) and shall be located so as to produce the maximum load
scribe a minimum design load value, some caution effects in the structural members.
needs to be exercised by the design professional in
determining the appropriate design live load value.  A building or portion thereof is subjected to concen-
For example, the table shows that heavy storage trated floor loads commensurate with the use of the
areas must be designed for a uniform live load of 250 facility. For example, in Group B, a law office may
psf (11.9 kN/m2). This is a minimum value. Storage have stacks of books and files that impose large con-
warehouses or storage areas within manufacturing centrations of loads on the supporting structural ele-
facilities containing items such as automobile parts, ments. An industrial facility may have a tank full of
electrical goods, coiled steel, plumbing supplies and liquid material on a mezzanine that feeds a machine
bulk building materials generally have live loads rang- on the floor below. The structural floor of a stockroom
ing between 300 and 400 psf (14.4 and 19 kN/m2). may support heavy bins containing metal parts and
Similarly, storage facilities containing dry goods, so on. The exact locations or nature of such concen-
paints, oil, groceries or liquor often have loadings that trated loadings is not usually known at the time of the
range from 200 to 300 psf (9.6 to 14.4 kN/m2). design of the building. Furthermore, new sources of
Another example is a heavy manufacturing facility concentrated loadings will be added during the life of
that makes generators for the electric power industry. the structure, while some or all of the existing sources
Some of the production areas in this type of facility will be relocated; therefore, because of the uncertain-
require structural floors that support loads of 1,000 ties of the sources of concentrated loads, as well as
psf (47.9 kN/m2) or more, which is about seven times their weights and locations, the code provides typical
the live load specified in Table 1607.1. loads to be used in the design of structural floors con-
sistent with the type of use of the facility. The mini-
1607.3 Uniform live loads. The live loads used in the design mum concentrated loads to be used for design are
of buildings and other structures shall be the maximum loads contained in Table 1607.1. Concentrated loads are
expected by the intended use or occupancy but shall in no not required to be applied simultaneously, with the

--`,`,,,,,,`,,,,`,````,`,,,,,``-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

16-22 Code Council


Copyright International 2015 INTERNATIONAL BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

uniform live loads also specified in Table 1607.1. inches by 8 inches (203 mm by 203 mm) and are not
Concentrated loads are to be applied as an indepen- required to act concurrently with other uniform or con-
dent load condition at the location on the floor that centrated live loads.
produces the greatest stress in the structural mem- Landing areas designed for a design basis helicopter with
bers being designed. The single concentrated load is maximum take-off weight of 3,000-pounds (13.35 kN) shall
to be placed at any location on the floor. For example, be identified with a 3,000 pound (13.34 kN) weight limita-
in an office use area, the floor system is to be tion. The landing area weight limitation shall be indicated by
designed for either a 2,000-pound (8897 N) concen- the numeral “3” (kips) located in the bottom right corner of
trated load (unless the anticipated actual concen- the landing area as viewed from the primary approach path.

--`,`,,,,,,`,,,,`,````,`,,,,,``-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---
trated load is higher) applied at any location in the The indication for the landing area weight limitation shall be
office area, or the 50 psf (2.40 kN/m2) live load speci- a minimum 5 feet (1524 mm) in height.
fied in Table 1607.1, whichever results in the greater
stress in the supporting structural member.  Detailed requirements for helistops and heliports,
including definitions, can be found in Section 412 of
1607.5 Partition loads. In office buildings and in other the code. For example, Section 412.8.1 requires a
buildings where partition locations are subject to change, pro- minimum landing area size of 20 feet by 20 feet (6096
visions for partition weight shall be made, whether or not par- mm by 6096 mm) for helicopters weighing less than
titions are shown on the construction documents, unless the 3,500 pounds (15.57 kN). In addition, Section 2007 of
specified live load is 80 psf (3.83 kN/m2) or greater. The par- the International Fire Code® (IFC®) regulates heli-
tition load shall be not less than a uniformly distributed live
stops and heliports. Section 2007.8 of the IFC
load of 15 psf (0.72 kN/m2). requires Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
 Provision for the weight of partitions must be made in approval of these facilities.
the structural design. Buildings where partitions are The term “helipad” is used to describe a helicopter
subject to change must include a live load of 15 psf landing area, which is the subject of this provision.
(0.74 kN/m2) if the uniform floor live load is less than These structural design requirements establish the
80 psf (3.83 kN/m2). This partition allowance is minimum live load criteria that are specific to the
included under live loads because the loads may vary design of the landing area and the supporting struc-
in size and location during the life of the building. The tural elements.
weight of any permanent partitions should be consid- Items 1 and 2 specify the uniform live load based
ered a dead load in accordance with the definition in on the threshold weight of 3,000 pounds (13.34 kN).
Section 202. The majority of helicopters used in general aviation
1607.6 Helipads. Helipads shall be designed for the follow- have a gross weight of 3,000 pounds (13.34 kN) or
ing live loads: less. With weights comparable to those of passenger
vehicles and considering the size of the landing area,
1. A uniform live load, L, as specified below. This load the equivalent uniform load on these landing areas is
shall not be reduced. actually lower than the minimum uniform live load
1.1. 40 psf (1.92 kN/m2) where the design basis heli- required for a passenger vehicle parking garage.
copter has a maximum take-off weight of 3,000 Thus, a reduced design live load is permitted for the
pounds (13.35 kN) or less. design of such helipads. Since marking the weight
limitation of the landing area is standard practice, as
1.2. 60 psf (2.87 kN/m2) where the design basis heli- well as an FAA recommendation, indicating the
copter has a maximum take-off weight greater weight limitation on the landing area was included as
than 3,000 pounds (13.35 kN). a condition for using the uniform load associated with
2. A single concentrated live load, L, of 3,000 pounds helicopters weighing up to 3,000 pounds (13.34 kN).
(13.35 kN) applied over an area of 4.5 inches by 4.5 1607.7 Heavy vehicle loads. Floors and other surfaces that
inches (114 mm by 114 mm) and located so as to pro- are intended to support vehicle loads greater than a 10,000-
duce the maximum load effects on the structural ele- pound (4536 kg) gross vehicle weight rating shall comply
ments under consideration. The concentrated load is not with Sections 1607.7.1 through 1607.7.5.
required to act concurrently with other uniform or con-
centrated live loads.  Sections 1607.7.1 through 1607.7.5 give criteria for
addressing heavy vehicle loads, including fire trucks
3. Two single concentrated live loads, L, 8 feet (2438 and forklifts.
mm) apart applied on the landing pad (representing the
helicopter’s two main landing gear, whether skid type 1607.7.1 Loads. Where any structure does not restrict access
or wheeled type), each having a magnitude of 0.75 for vehicles that exceed a 10,000-pound (4536 kg) gross vehi-
times the maximum take-off weight of the helicopter, cle weight rating, those portions of the structure subject to
and located so as to produce the maximum load effects such loads shall be designed using the vehicular live loads,
on the structural elements under consideration. The including consideration of impact and fatigue, in accordance
concentrated loads shall be applied over an area of 8 with the codes and specifications required by the jurisdiction

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Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 16-23
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

having authority for the design and construction of the road- structure. For the purposes of design, the vehicle and wheel
ways and bridges in the same location of the structure. loads shall be increased by 30 percent to account for impact.
 Where heavy highway-type vehicles have access  This section clarifies that consideration of impact and
onto a structure, this section requires the structure to fatigue loading is a design requirement for structures
be designed using the requirements applicable to subjected to heavy moving equipment, such as fork-
roadways in that jurisdiction. This loading may in fact lifts.
be the loading from American Association of State 1607.7.5 Posting. The maximum weight of vehicles allowed
Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), or into or on a garage or other structure shall be posted by the
the loading for other elements such as lids of large owner or the owner’s authorized agent in accordance with
detention tanks or utility vaults. The registered design Section 106.1.
professional should consult with the jurisdiction for
design loads for these special conditions.  Posting the maximum allowed weight of vehicles
allows vehicle operators to assess whether the struc-
1607.7.2 Fire truck and emergency vehicles. Where a struc-
ture was designed with their vehicle in mind, making
ture or portions of a structure are accessed and loaded by fire
it less likely that a vehicle will overload a structure.
department access vehicles and other similar emergency
vehicles, the structure shall be designed for the greater of the 1607.8 Loads on handrails, guards, grab bars, seats and
following loads: vehicle barriers. Handrails, guards, grab bars, accessible
seats, accessible benches and vehicle barriers shall be
1. The actual operational loads, including outrigger reac- designed and constructed for the structural loading conditions
tions and contact areas of the vehicles as stipulated and set forth in this section.
approved by the building official; or
 The requirements of this section are intended to pro-
2. The live loading specified in Section 1607.7.1. vide an adequate degree of structural strength and
 This establishes two criteria for addressing heavy stability to handrails, guards, grab bars and vehicle
vehicle loads due to fire trucks and other similar barriers.
emergency vehicles. 1607.8.1 Handrails and guards. Handrails and guards shall
1607.7.3 Heavy vehicle garages. Garages designed to be designed to resist a linear load of 50 pounds per linear foot
accommodate vehicles that exceed a 10,000-pound (4536 kg) (plf) (0.73 kN/m) in accordance with Section 4.5.1 of ASCE
gross vehicle weight rating, shall be designed using the live 7. Glass handrail assemblies and guards shall also comply
loading specified by Section 1607.7.1. For garages the with Section 2407.
design for impact and fatigue is not required. Exceptions:
Exception: The vehicular live loads and load placement 1. For one- and two-family dwellings, only the single
are allowed to be determined using the actual vehicle concentrated load required by Section 1607.8.1.1
weights for the vehicles allowed onto the garage floors, shall be applied.
provided such loads and placement are based on rational
engineering principles and are approved by the building 2. In Group I-3, F, H and S occupancies, for areas that
official, but shall not be less than 50 psf (2.9 kN/m2). This are not accessible to the general public and that have
live load shall not be reduced. an occupant load less than 50, the minimum load
shall be 20 pounds per foot (0.29 kN/m).
 This section helps clarify that the passenger vehicle
garage loads are not applicable to garages that  The loading in this section represents the maximum
accommodate heavier vehicles. anticipated load on a handrail or guard due to a
crowd of people on the adjacent walking surface. The
1607.7.4 Forklifts and movable equipment. Where a struc- exceptions allow lower loads for handrails in locations
ture is intended to have forklifts or other movable equipment that are not typically open to the public. These loads,
present, the structure shall be designed for the total vehicle or depicted in Commentary Figure 1607.8.1, are permit-
equipment load and the individual wheel loads for the antici- ted to be applied independent of other loads.
pated vehicles as specified by the owner of the facility. These
loads shall be posted in accordance with Section 1607.7.5. 1607.8.1.1 Concentrated load. Handrails and guards shall be
designed to resist a concentrated load of 200 pounds (0.89
 Heavy vehicle loads due to forklifts and other move- kN) in accordance with Section 4.5.1 of ASCE 7.
able equipment require that a structure be designed
for the total vehicle or equipment load as well as the  The concentrated loading in this section is not to be
individual wheel loads. The owner of the facility applied with any other design load; it is a separate
needs to make the planned usage of such a vehicle load case. The load simulates the maximum antici-
clear to the design team. As a precaution, these pated load from a person grabbing or falling into the
loads must be posted (see Section 1607.7.5). handrail or guard.
1607.7.4.1 Impact and fatigue. Impact loads and fatigue 1607.8.1.2 Intermediate rails. Intermediate rails (all those
loading shall be considered in the design of the supporting except the handrail), balusters and panel fillers shall be

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designed to resist a concentrated load of 50 pounds (0.22 kN) Department of Transportation should be contacted
in accordance with Section 4.5.1 of ASCE 7. (also see Section 1607.7).
 This is a localized design load for the guard members 1607.9 Impact loads. The live loads specified in Sections
and is not to be applied with any other loads. It is to 1607.3 through 1607.8 shall be assumed to include adequate
be applied horizontally at a 90-degree (1.57 rad) allowance for ordinary impact conditions. Provisions shall be
angle with the guard members. The number of balus- made in the structural design for uses and loads that involve
ters that would resist this load are those within the 1- unusual vibration and impact forces.
square-foot (0.093 m2) area in the plane of the guard  In cases where “unusual” live loads occur in a build-
as shown in Commentary Figure 1607.8.1.2. ing and impose impact or vibratory forces on struc-
1607.8.2 Grab bars, shower seats and dressing room tural elements (e.g., elevators, machinery,
bench seats. Grab bars, shower seats and dressing room craneways, etc.), additional stresses and deflections
bench seats shall be designed to resist a single concentrated are imposed on the structural system. Where unusual
load of 250 pounds (1.11 kN) applied in any direction at any vibration (dynamic) and impact loads are likely to
point on the grab bar or seat so as to produce the maximum occur, the code requires that the structural design
load effects. take these effects into account. Typically, the
dynamic effects are approximated through the appli-
 These live loads provide for the loads associated with
cation of an equivalent static load equal to the
the use of the grab bars, shower seats and dressing
dynamic load effects. In most cases, an equivalent
room bench seats. These structural requirements
static load is sufficient. A dynamic analysis is usually
provide consistency with Americans with Disabilities
not required.
Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG).
1607.8.3 Vehicle barriers. Vehicle barriers for passenger
vehicles shall be designed to resist a concentrated load of
6,000 pounds (26.70 kN) in accordance with Section 4.5.3 of
ASCE 7. Garages accommodating trucks and buses shall be
designed in accordance with an approved method that con-
tains provisions for traffic railings.
 Vehicle barriers provide a passive restraint system in
locations where vehicles could fall to a lower level
(see definition of “Vehicle barrier,” Section 202).
Commentary Figure 1607.8.3 depicts criteria for the
design of passenger car and light truck vehicle barri-
ers. The 6,000-pound (26.70 kN) load considers
impact. The load is applied at a height, h, that is rep-
resentative of vehicle bumper heights. Because of
the variety of barrier configurations and anchorage
methods, it is necessary to consider any height within For SI: 1 pound per square foot = 47.88 Pa.
the specified size in order to determine the most criti- Figure 1607.8.1.2
cal load effects for design of the barrier. For bus and COMPONENT DESIGN LOAD
heavy truck vehicle barrier design criteria, a state’s

For SI: 1 pound = 0.454 kg, 1 pound per foot = 14.59 N/m.

Figure 1607.8.1
HANDRAIL DESIGN LOAD
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Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 16-25
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

1607.9.1 Elevators. Members, elements and components maintenance, replacing broken glazing, painting,
subject to dynamic loads from elevators shall be designed for hanging signs, etc. The Occupational Safety & Health
impact loads and deflection limits prescribed by ASME Administration (OSHA) requires that elements that
A17.1. support the hoists or motors for façade access equip-
ment must be able to sustain without failure at least
 The static load of an elevator must be increased to
four times the rated load of the hoist, where the rated
account for the effect of the elevator’s motion. For
load is the maximum anticipated load or the total
example, when an elevator comes to a stop, the load
design weight of the suspended platform plus occu-
on the elevator’s supports is significantly higher than
pants and equipment and supplies. In addition,
the weight of the elevator and the occupants. This
OSHA requires façade access equipment used for
effect varies with the acceleration and deceleration
activities such as painting or hanging signs or holiday
rate of the elevator. This section clarifies that the
lights to be designed to sustain without failure at least
impact load from elevators applies specifically to
1.5 times the stall load of the hoist, where the stall
members, elements and components subject to
load is permitted to be as much as three times the
dynamic loading from the elevator mechanism and
rated load. Using a design live load of the greater of
directs the code user to the elevator standard to
2.5 times the rated load and the stall load of the hoist,
determine the increases.
when combined with a live load factor of 1.6, meets or
1607.9.2 Machinery. For the purpose of design, the weight slightly exceeds OSHA’s requirements. The load is
of machinery and moving loads shall be increased as follows used to design the davit bases and anchorages that
to allow for impact: (1) light machinery, shaft- or motor- support façade access equipment as well as the
driven, 20 percent; and (2) reciprocating machinery or power- structural elements that support the bases and
driven units, 50 percent. Percentages shall be increased where anchorages.
specified by the manufacturer.
1607.9.4 Lifeline anchorages for façade access equipment.
 The specified increases for machinery loads include In addition to any other applicable live loads, lifeline anchor-
the vibration of the equipment, which increases the ages and structural elements that support lifeline anchorages
effective load. The load increase for reciprocating shall be designed for a live load of at least 3,100 pounds (13.8
machinery versus rotating shaft-driven machinery is kN) for each attached lifeline, in every direction that a fall
to account for the higher vibration. arrest load may be applied.
1607.9.3 Elements supporting hoists for façade access  Lifeline anchorages, also known as fall arrest anchor-
equipment. In addition to any other applicable live loads, ages, are called on to resist impact loads when a sus-
structural elements that support hoists for façade access pended worker on the face of a building experiences
equipment shall be designed for a live load consisting of the a fall. Because the loads are highly variable depend-
larger of the rated load of the hoist times 2.5 and the stall load ing on the weight of the worker, the fall distance, and
of the hoist. the energy-absorbing characteristics of the fall arrest
 Façade access equipment is used to suspend work- system, and because the lifeline is the last defense
ers over the side of a building for a number of rea- against a fall, the Occupational Safety & Health
sons, including window washing, performing routine Administration (OSHA) requires that lifeline anchor-

For SI: 1 inch = 25.4 mm, 1 pound = 4.448 N.

Figure 1607.8.3
VEHICLE BARRIER REQUIREMENTS

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ages be capable of sustaining without failure an ulti- very likely to be less than the nominal live load in the
mate load of 5,000 pounds (22.2 kN) per person. table. Thus, the allowable reduction increases with
Using a design live load of 3,100 pounds (13.8 kN), the tributary area of the floor that is supported by a
when combined with a live load factor of 1.6, results structural member; therefore, a girder that supports a
in a total factored load of 4,960 pounds (22.1 kN), large tributary area would be allowed to be designed
which matches OSHA’s requirements for lifeline for somewhat lower uniform live load than a floor
anchorages within an acceptable margin of error. The beam that supports a smaller floor area.
load is used to design the lifeline anchorage and the The following example demonstrates the live load
structural elements that support the anchorage. reduction calculation for the conditions shown in
1607.10 Reduction in uniform live loads. Except for uni- Commentary Figure 1607.10.1:
form live loads at roofs, all other minimum uniformly distrib- Solution:
uted live loads, Lo, in Table 1607.1 are permitted to be
For interior beam Ka = 2 (Table 1607.10.1)
reduced in accordance with Section 1607.10.1 or 1607.10.2.
Uniform live loads at roofs are permitted to be reduced in K, AT = (2)(750 sq. ft.) = 1500 sq. ft. (139 m2)
accordance with Section 1607.12.2.
Using Equation 16-23
 Small floor areas are more likely to be subjected to
L = 50  0.25 + ----------------- = 35psf
15
the full uniform load than larger floor areas. Unloaded
or lightly loaded areas tend to reduce the total load on 1500 (1.68 kN/m2)
the structural members supporting those floors. The
specified uniformly distributed live loads from Table 0.5 Lo = 25 psf < 32 psf (1.53 kN/m2)
1607.1 are permitted to be reduced, with some nota-  Use reduced live load, L = 32 psf (1.53 kN/m2).
ble exceptions or limitations, in recognition that the TABLE 1607.10.1. See below.
larger the tributary area of a structural member, the
lower the likelihood that the full live load will be real-  The purpose of this table is to provide tributary area
ized. The basis for the live load reduction in Sections adjustment factors, KLL, for determining live load
1607.10.1 through 1607.10.1.3 is ASCE 7. An alter- reductions in Section 1607.10.1. The factor converts
native method of live load reduction, retained from the tributary area of the structural member to an
legacy model codes, is provided in Section “influence area.” This “influence area” of a structural
1607.10.2. member is considered to be the adjacent floor area
from which it derives any of its load. These adjust-
1607.10.1 Basic uniform live load reduction. Subject to the ments to the tributary area range from 1 through 4
limitations of Sections 1607.10.1.1 through 1607.10.1.3 and based on the type of structural element being
Table 1607.1, members for which a value of KLLAT is 400 designed and are meant to reflect the element’s abil-
square feet (37.16 m2) or more are permitted to be designed ity to share load with adjacent elements.
for a reduced uniformly distributed live load, L, in accor-
dance with the following equation: TABLE 1607.10.1
LIVE LOAD ELEMENT FACTOR, KLL
15
L = L o  0.25 + -------------------- (Equation 16-23)
 K LL A T
ELEMENT KLL

Interior columns 4
Exterior columns without cantilever slabs 4
4.57
For SI: L = L o  0.25 + --------------------
 K LL A T
Edge columns with cantilever slabs 3
Corner columns with cantilever slabs 2
where: Edge beams without cantilever slabs 2
Interior beams 2
L = Reduced design live load per square foot (m2) of area
supported by the member. All other members not identified above including:
2 Edge beams with cantilever slabs
Lo = Unreduced design live load per square foot (m ) of Cantilever beams
area supported by the member (see Table 1607.1). One-way slabs 1
Two-way slabs
KLL = Live load element factor (see Table 1607.10.1). Members without provisions for continuous shear
AT = Tributary area, in square feet (m2). transfer normal to their span

L shall be not less than 0.50Lo for members supporting one


floor and L shall be not less than 0.40Lo for members support- 1607.10.1.1 One-way slabs. The tributary area, AT, for use in
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ing two or more floors. Equation 16-23 for one-way slabs shall not exceed an area
defined by the slab span times a width normal to the span of
 This section provides a method of reducing uniform 1.5 times the slab span.
floor live loads that is based on the provisions of
ASCE 7. The concept is that where the design live  This section limits the tributary area that can be uti-
load is governed by the minimum live loads in Table lized to determine a live load reduction for one-way
1607.1, the actual load on a large area of the floor is slabs.

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Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 16-27
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

For SI: 1 foot = 304.8 mm, 1 square foot = 0.0929 m2, 1 pound per square foot = 47.88 Pa.

Figure 1607.10.1
LIVE LOAD REDUCTION EXAMPLE

1607.10.1.2 Heavy live loads. Live loads that exceed 100 psf Recognizing that there are circumstances under
(4.79 kN/m2) shall not be reduced. which live loads exceed 100 psf (4.79 kN/m2) in occu-
Exceptions: pancies other than storage, Exception 2 allows the
registered design professional to present a “rational”
1. The live loads for members supporting two or more live load reduction proposal to be applied for mem-
floors are permitted to be reduced by a maximum of bers with larger tributary areas (e.g., girders, col-
20 percent, but the live load shall be not less than L umns, foundations, etc.). Examples would be
as calculated in Section 1607.10.1. mechanical rooms, electrical rooms, process mezza-
2. For uses other than storage, where approved, addi- nines in industrial buildings, etc. These types of areas
tional live load reductions shall be permitted where may have very high localized uniform loads under the
shown by the registered design professional that a equipment footprints, for instance, but the live loads
rational approach has been used and that such reduc- to members having larger tributary areas are much
tions are warranted. less, on average.
 The purpose of this section is to prohibit live load 1607.10.1.3 Passenger vehicle garages. The live loads shall
reductions where the live loads exceed 100 psf (4.79 not be reduced in passenger vehicle garages.
kN/m2). Such live loads are typically intended for stor- Exception: The live loads for members supporting two or
age or related purposes. It is more likely that the full more floors are permitted to be reduced by a maximum of
live load will be realized at a given floor level for such 20 percent, but the live load shall not be less than L as cal-
occupancies. Thus, reduced live loads are not culated in Section 1607.10.1.
allowed for these conditions except as described in
 This section limits the live load reduction for passen-
this section.
ger vehicle garages to only those members that sup-
In Exception 1, the loads on structural members,
port more than two floors. Thus, floor framing
such as columns and bearing walls that support two
members that support only a part of one floor do not
or more floors, are allowed to be reduced by 20 per-
warrant a reduction to the live load of 40 psf (1.92 kN/
cent. Surveys have indicated that it is rare for the total
m2) that is specified in Table 1607.1. The rationale for
live load on any story to exceed 80 percent of the tab-
allowing some live load reduction for members sup-
ulated uniform live loads. Conservatively, the full load
porting multiple floors is similar to that given under
should apply to beams and girders, but a member
Section 1607.10.1.2, Exception 1.
supporting multiple floors is allowed some live load
reduction.
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1607.10.2 Alternative uniform live load reduction. As an tionally, the reduction cannot be more than the value
alternative to Section 1607.10.1 and subject to the limitations determined by Equation 16-25.
of Table 1607.1, uniformly distributed live loads are permit-
ted to be reduced in accordance with the following provi- Example of an alternate floor live load reduction:
sions. Such reductions shall apply to slab systems, beams, For beam G1 given in Figure 1607.10.1, determine
girders, columns, piers, walls and foundations. the reduced floor live load in accordance with Section
1. A reduction shall not be permitted where the live load 1607.10.2.
exceeds 100 psf (4.79 kN/m2) except that the design Solution: AT = 750 square feet (69 m2) > 150 square
live load for members supporting two or more floors is
feet (14 m2); therefore, a reduction is permitted.
permitted to be reduced by a maximum of 20 percent.
Exception: For uses other than storage, where Equation 16-24
approved, additional live load reductions shall be R = (0.08%)(750 - 150) = 48% > 40%
permitted where shown by the registered design
professional that a rational approach has been used Equation 16-25
and that such reductions are warranted.
R =  23.1%   1 + ------ = 43.7% > 40%
2. A reduction shall not be permitted in passenger vehicle 45
parking garages except that the live loads for members  50
supporting two or more floors are permitted to be
reduced by a maximum of 20 percent. Use the maximum 40-percent reduction allowed for
3. For live loads not exceeding 100 psf (4.79 kN/m ), the 2 horizontal members.
design live load for any structural member supporting Use L = 50(1-0.4) = 30 psf (144 kN/m2).
150 square feet (13.94 m2) or more is permitted to be 1607.11 Distribution of floor loads. Where uniform floor
reduced in accordance with Equation 16-24. live loads are involved in the design of structural members
4. For one-way slabs, the area, A, for use in Equation 16- arranged so as to create continuity, the minimum applied
24 shall not exceed the product of the slab span and a loads shall be the full dead loads on all spans in combination
width normal to the span of 0.5 times the slab span. with the floor live loads on spans selected to produce the
greatest load effect at each location under consideration.
R = 0.08(A – 150) (Equation 16-24)
Floor live loads are permitted to be reduced in accordance
For SI: R = 0.861(A – 13.94) with Section 1607.10.
Such reduction shall not exceed the smallest of:  For continuous floor members loaded such that the
1. 40 percent for members supporting one floor. live loads of a building are distributed in some bays
and not in others, some of the structural elements will
2. 60 percent for members supporting two or more
be subjected to greater stresses because of partial
floors.
loading conditions as compared to full loading on all
3. R as determined by the following equation: spans. This code section requires the engineer to
R = 23.1(1+ D/Lo) (Equation 16-25) consider partial loadings that produce the greatest
design forces for any location in the design of contin-
where: uous floor elements.
A = Area of floor supported by the member, square For example, Commentary Figure 1607.11 shows
feet (m2). a continuous multispan girder with partial loading.
D = Dead load per square foot (m2) of area supported. The Type I loading condition shows that only the
alternate spans have uniform live loads, which pro-
Lo = Unreduced live load per square foot (m2) of area
duces:
supported.
• Maximum positive moments at the centers of
R = Reduction in percent.
the loaded spans (A-B, C-D, E-F); and
 This section includes an alternative floor live load • Maximum negative moments at the centers of
method that is permitted to be used instead of the the unloaded spans (B-C, D-E, F-G).
method indicated in Sections 1607.10.1 through
1607.10.1.3. The basis for this section is the 1997 The Type II live load distribution shows two loaded
UBC. adjacent spans with alternate spans loaded beyond
Where reductions are permitted, they are allowed these, which produces:
at a rate of 0.08 percent per square foot of area in • Maximum negative moment at Support D; and
excess of 150 square feet (14 m2). This value cannot • Maximum girder shears.
exceed 60 percent for members supporting two or
more floors, such as columns and bearing walls To obtain the maximum total stresses imposed on
below the top floor of a building or 40 percent for the girder, the dead load moments and shears must
members supporting loads from just one floor or be added to those produced by the partial live load-
level, such as most slabs, beams and girders. Addi- ings.

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Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 16-29
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

Figure 1607.11
PARTIAL LOADING

1607.12 Roof loads. The structural supports of roofs and • Maximum negative moments at the centers of
marquees shall be designed to resist wind and, where applica- the unloaded spans (B-C, D-E, F-G).
ble, snow and earthquake loads, in addition to the dead load
of construction and the appropriate live loads as prescribed in The Type II live load distribution shows two loaded
this section, or as set forth in Table 1607.1. The live loads adjacent spans with alternate spans loaded beyond
acting on a sloping surface shall be assumed to act vertically these, which produces:
on the horizontal projection of that surface. • Maximum negative moment at Support D; and
 In addition to dead and live loads, the roof’s structural • Maximum girder shears.
system is to be designed and constructed to resist To obtain the maximum total stresses imposed on
environmental loads caused by wind, snow and the girder, the dead load moments and shears must
earthquakes. According to the definition of “Roof live be added to those produced by the partial live load-
loads” in Section 202, these are typically an allow- ings.
ance for maintenance of equipment as well as the 1607.12.2 General. The minimum uniformly distributed live
roof system itself. Other roof live-loads must be con- loads of roofs and marquees, Lo, in Table 1607.1 are permit-
sidered where appropriate, such as “occupiable ted to be reduced in accordance with Section 1607.12.2.1.
roofs” (see Section 1607.12.3) where an occupancy-
related live load would be applicable.  The minimum roof live loads typically reflect loads
that occur during roof maintenance, construction or
1607.12.1 Distribution of roof loads. Where uniform roof
repair. In addition to the standard roof live load of 20
live loads are reduced to less than 20 psf (0.96 kN/m2) in
psf (0.96 kN/m2), Table 1607.1 includes roof live
accordance with Section 1607.12.2.1 and are applied to the
loads for special purpose roofs and fabric awnings.
design of structural members arranged so as to create conti-
While this section seems to refer to reducing any of
nuity, the reduced roof live load shall be applied to adjacent
the tabulated uniformly distributed live loads, the
spans or to alternate spans, whichever produces the most
actual reduction method provided in Section
unfavorable load effect. See Section 1607.12.2 for reductions
1607.12.2.1 is limited to the 20 psf (0.96 kN/m2) live
in minimum roof live loads and Section 7.5 of ASCE 7 for
load. This is made evident by the limits on Equation
partial snow loading.
16-26 of 12  Lr  20.
 For continuous roof construction, where live loads are 1607.12.2.1 Ordinary roofs, awnings and canopies. Ordi-
reduced to less than 20 psf (0.96 kN/m2) as permitted nary flat, pitched and curved roofs, and awnings and canopies
in Section 1607.12.2.1, partial loadings must be other than of fabric construction supported by a skeleton
included in the design of structural elements to deter- structure, are permitted to be designed for a reduced uni-
mine the governing loading situation. For example, formly distributed roof live load, Lr, as specified in the fol-
Commentary Figure 1607.11 shows a continuous lowing equations or other controlling combinations of loads
multispan girder with partial loading. The Type I load- as specified in Section 1605, whichever produces the greater
ing condition shows that only the alternate spans load effect.
have uniform live loads, which produces:
In structures such as greenhouses, where special scaffold-
• Maximum positive moments at the centers of ing is used as a work surface for workers and materials during
the loaded spans (A-B, C-D, E-F); and maintenance and repair operations, a lower roof load than

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specified in the following equations shall not be used unless R2 = 1 for F  4 (Equation 16-30)
approved by the building official. Such structures shall be
R2 = 1.2 - 0.05 F for 4 < F < 12 (Equation 16-31)
designed for a minimum roof live load of 12 psf (0.58 kN/
m2). R2 = 0.6 for F  12 (Equation 16-32)
Lr = Lo R1R2 (Equation 16-26) where:
where: 12  Lr  20 F = For a sloped roof, the number of inches of rise per foot
For SI: Lr = LoR1R2 (for SI: F = 0.12 × slope, with slope expressed as a
percentage), or for an arch or dome, the rise-to-span
where: 0.58  Lr  0.96 ratio multiplied by 32.
Lo = Unreduced roof live load per square foot (m2) of  This section provides a formula for the determination
horizontal projection supported by the member (see of the live load for the design of flat, pitched or curved
Table 1607.1). roofs. The live load from Table 1607.1 that applies is
Lr = Reduced roof live load per square foot (m2) of 20 psf (0.96 kN/m2). Reduced roof live loads are
horizontal projection supported by the member. based on the roof slope and the tributary area of the
The reduction factors R1 and R2 shall be determined as fol- member being considered. The portion of the live
lows: load reduction based on tributary area does not apply
to roof members that support small tributary areas of
R1 = 1 for At  200 square feet (18.58 m2) less than 200 square feet (18.58 m2). The load can be
(Equation 16-27) reduced as the tributary area increases but never to
R1 = 1.2 - 0.001At for 200 square feet less than 12 psf (0.58 kN/m2). For roof slopes
< At < 600 square feet (Equation 16-28) between 4:12 and 12:12, live load reductions based
on slope apply. Commentary Figure 1607.12.2.1
For SI: 1.2 - 0.011At for 18.58 square meters < At < 55.74 shows the roof live load, Lr, determined by Equation
square meters 16-26 for increments of roof slope. Since the relation-
R1 = 0.6 for At  600 square feet (55.74 m2) ship of variables is linear, intermediate values can be
(Equation 16-29) interpolated from the figure.
This section also provides for a lower roof live load
where: for a greenhouse, since it is not likely that loads from
At = Tributary area (span length multiplied by effective maintenance or repair will exceed the specified 12 psf
width) in square feet (m2) supported by the member, (0.58 kN/m2).
and

For SI: 1 pound per square foot = 47.88 Pa, 1 square foot = 0.0929 m2.

Figure 1607.12.2.1
MINUMUM ROOF LIVE LOAD IN ACCORDANCE WITH EQUATION 16-26

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1607.12.3 Occupiable roofs. Areas of roofs that are occupi- designed in accordance with Sections 1607.12.5.1 through
able, such as vegetative roofs, roof gardens or for assembly or 1607.12.5.4, as applicable.
other similar purposes, and marquees are permitted to have
 Photovoltaic (PV) panel systems, also known as
their uniformly distributed live loads reduced in accordance “solar panels,” are required to be designed to resist
with Section 1607.10.
the live loads in this section.
 Most roofs are considered to be unoccupiable, mean- 1607.12.5.1 Roof live load. Roof surfaces to be covered by
ing that while maintenance personnel may be present solar photovoltaic panels or modules shall be designed for the
on occasion, the general public does not have access roof live load, Lr, assuming that the photovoltaic panels or
to the area. Therefore, the design live loads for most modules are not present. The roof photovoltaic live load in
roofs are generally low [e.g., 20 psf (0.958 kNm2) areas covered by solar photovoltaic panels or modules shall
reducible live load]. Roofs that are occupied or acces- be in addition to the panel loading unless the area covered by
sible by the public are designed for larger loads. Live each solar photovoltaic panel or module is inaccessible.
loads for roof gardens may be reduced per Section Areas where the clear space between the panels and the roof-
1607.10. Live loads for assembly areas may not be top is not more than 24 inches (610 mm) shall be considered
reduced, except as described in the limited excep- inaccessible. Roof surfaces not covered by photovoltaic pan-
tions to Section 1607.10. The distinction between els shall be designed for the roof live load.
roof gardens and assembly areas is based on the
likelihood that a large number of people will congre-  PV panels can affect where live loads occur or are
gate on the roof. Roof gardens are landscaped areas placed on the roof. The intent is for two design condi-
where assembly use is not anticipated, such as a tions to be checked: 1. Assuming that the panels are
promenade deck located on the main roof of an not present; and 2. Assuming that the panels are
apartment building. Roofs that are used for assembly present. The first analysis addresses cases where
purposes have the same live load requirements as panels are anticipated to be installed but for some
any other similar assembly area. reason end up being omitted, or where the panels are
initially installed but are removed at some point in the
1607.12.3.1 Vegetative and landscaped roofs. The weight
building’s life. In the second analysis, live load may
of all landscaping materials shall be considered as dead load be omitted in areas where the clear space under the
and shall be computed on the basis of saturation of the soil as
panels is 24 inches (710 mm) or less, which is con-
determined in accordance with ASTM E2397. The uniform sidered inaccessible. Live load should be applied to
design live load in unoccupied landscaped areas on roofs
all accessible areas, including roof surfaces not cov-
shall be 20 psf (0.958 kN/m2). The uniform design live load ered by panels.
for occupied landscaped areas on roofs shall be determined in
accordance with Table 1607.1. 1607.12.5.2 Photovoltaic panels or modules. The structure
of a roof that supports solar photovoltaic panels or modules
 Those unoccupied areas of a roof that are to be land- shall be designed to accommodate the full solar photovoltaic
scaped or covered in vegetation are required to be panels or modules and ballast dead load, including concen-
designed for a minimum uniform live load of 20 psf trated loads from support frames in combination with the
(0.96 kN/m2) to accommodate the occasional loads loads from Section 1607.12.5.1 and other applicable loads.
associated with the maintenance of plantings. The Where applicable, snow drift loads created by the photovol-
weight of landscaping materials and saturated soil is taic panels or modules shall be included.
to be considered a dead load in the design of the roof
structure, which is to be combined with the live load  The effects of concentrated loads from the support
(see Section 1605 for applicable load combinations). frames, including ballast, must be considered. If the
Vegetative roofs are commonly referred to as “green panels will tend to cause snow drifts, these loads
roofs,” and are generally not intended to be occupied. shall be considered as well.
1607.12.4 Awnings and canopies. Awnings and canopies 1607.12.5.3 Photovoltaic panels or modules installed as an
shall be designed for uniform live loads as required in Table independent structure. Solar photovoltaic panels or mod-
1607.1 as well as for snow loads and wind loads as specified ules that are independent structures and do not have accessi-
in Sections 1608 and 1609. ble/occupied space underneath are not required to
accommodate a roof photovoltaic live load, provided the area
 Awning structures are lightweight frames that are typ- under the structure is restricted to keep the public away. All
ically covered with fabric materials and are designed other loads and combinations in accordance with Section
to sustain a live load of 5 psf (0.24 kN/m2), as well as 1605 shall be accommodated.
the specified snow and wind loads of Sections 1608
and 1609. The live load, snow load and wind load are Solar photovoltaic panels or modules that are designed to
to be combined according to Section 1605. be the roof, span to structural supports and have accessible/
occupied space underneath shall have the panels or modules
1607.12.5 Photovoltaic panel systems. Roof structures that and all supporting structures designed to support a roof pho-
provide support for photovoltaic panel systems shall be tovoltaic live load, as defined in Section 1607.12.5.1 in com-

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bination with other applicable loads. Solar photovoltaic a top-running bridge crane is shown in Commentary
panels or modules in this application are not permitted to be Figure 1607.13.
classified as “not accessible” in accordance with Section 1607.13.1 Maximum wheel load. The maximum wheel
1607.12.5.1. loads shall be the wheel loads produced by the weight of the
 PV panels that are designed as part of an indepen- bridge, as applicable, plus the sum of the rated capacity and
dent ground-supported structure are not required to the weight of the trolley with the trolley positioned on its run-
be designed for roof live loads if the space under way at the location where the resulting load effect is maxi-
them is inaccessible. PV panels that are designed to mum.
act as a roofing over an occupied space (e.g., panels  The maximum vertical wheel load occurs when the
that form a carport roof) must be designed for roof trolley is moved as close as possible to the support-
live loads. ing beams under consideration. This results in the
1607.12.5.4 Ballasted photovoltaic panel systems. Roof greatest portion of the crane weight, the design
structures that provide support for ballasted photovoltaic weight lifted load and the wheel vertical impact load
panel systems shall be designed, or analyzed, in accordance on the supporting beams.
with Section 1604.4; checked in accordance with Section 1607.13.2 Vertical impact force. The maximum wheel loads
1604.3.6 for deflections; and checked in accordance with of the crane shall be increased by the percentages shown
Section 1611 for ponding. below to determine the induced vertical impact or vibration
 Although the design of all roof members is required to force:
consider deflection and ponding, as are all roof mem- Monorail cranes (powered) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 percent
bers that support unballasted PV panels, given the
weight of typical ballasted PV systems it was believed Cab-operated or remotely operated bridge
appropriate to reinforce the fact that roof members cranes (powered) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 percent
supporting such systems must be analyzed for Pendant-operated bridge cranes
deflection and ponding as well as meet minimum (powered) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 percent
capacity requirements. Bridge cranes or monorail cranes with
1607.13 Crane loads. The crane live load shall be the rated hand-geared bridge, trolley and hoist . . . . . . . . . 0 percent
capacity of the crane. Design loads for the runway beams,
 A vertical impact force is necessary to account for the
including connections and support brackets, of moving bridge
impact from the starting and stopping movement of
cranes and monorail cranes shall include the maximum wheel
the suspended weight from the crane. Vertical impact
loads of the crane and the vertical impact, lateral and longitu-
is also created by the movement of the crane along
dinal forces induced by the moving crane.
the rails.
 This section provides a general description of the 1607.13.3 Lateral force. The lateral force on crane runway
crane loads that are required to be included in the beams with electrically powered trolleys shall be calculated
design. The supporting structure for the crane is to be as 20 percent of the sum of the rated capacity of the crane and
designed for a combination of the maximum wheel the weight of the hoist and trolley. The lateral force shall be
load, vertical impact and horizontal load as a simulta- assumed to act horizontally at the traction surface of a run-
neous load combination. The typical arrangement for way beam, in either direction perpendicular to the beam, and

Figure 1607.13
TOP-RUNNING BRIDGE CRANE
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shall be distributed with due regard to the lateral stiffness of SECTION 1608
the runway beam and supporting structure. SNOW LOADS
 This section is necessary to define the design lateral 1608.1 General. Design snow loads shall be determined in
force on the crane supports. Lateral force at the right accordance with Chapter 7 of ASCE 7, but the design roof
angle to the crane rail is caused by the lateral move- load shall not be less than that determined by Section 1607.
ment of the lifted load and from the frame action of  The determination of the nominal snow load, S, must
the crane. be in accordance with this section. The intent of this
1607.13.4 Longitudinal force. The longitudinal force on section is that the code requirements are based on
crane runway beams, except for bridge cranes with hand- the technical requirements in Chapter 7 of ASCE 7.
geared bridges, shall be calculated as 10 percent of the maxi- The snow load provisions in ASCE 7 are based on
mum wheel loads of the crane. The longitudinal force shall be over 40 years of ground snow load data, and include
assumed to act horizontally at the traction surface of a run- consideration of thermal resistance of the roof struc-
way beam, in either direction parallel to the beam. ture, a rain-on-snow surcharge, partial loading on
 This section is needed to define the longitudinal force continuous beam systems and ponding instability
from melting snow or rain on snow. The variables that
on the crane supports, which is caused from the lon-
gitudinal motion of the crane with the lifted load. affect the determination of roof snow loads are:
• Ground snow load (pg) – see Section 1608.2.
1607.14 Interior walls and partitions. Interior walls and
partitions that exceed 6 feet (1829 mm) in height, including • Importance factor (I) – a factor determined in
their finish materials, shall have adequate strength and stiff- Section 7.3.3 of ASCE 7, ranging from 0.8 to
ness to resist the loads to which they are subjected but not 1.2, based on the risk category assigned in
less than a horizontal load of 5 psf (0.240 kN/m2). accordance with Section 1604.5.
 The minimum lateral live load is intended to provide • Exposure factor (Ce) and Thermal factor (Ct) –
sufficient strength and durability of the wall framing see Sections 7.3.1 and 7.3.2 of ASCE 7.
and of the finished construction to provide a minimum In addition to the above, the roof slope affects the
level of resistance to nominal impact loads that com-

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snow load determination, as well as other design
monly occur in the use of a facility, such as impacts considerations. Roofs with low slopes are designed for
from moving furniture or equipment, as well as to a flat roof snow load, pf, determined in accordance
resist heating, ventilating and air-conditioning
with Section 7.3 of ASCE 7, using the previously
(HVAC) pressurization.
mentioned criteria. Other considerations for low roof
1607.14.1 Fabric partitions. Fabric partitions that exceed 6 slopes include ponding instability and rain-on-snow
feet (1829 mm) in height, including their finish materials, surcharge loading. For sloped roofs, the sloped roof
shall have adequate strength and stiffness to resist the follow- snow load, ps, in accordance with Section 7.4 of ASCE
ing load conditions:
7 applies. The sloped roof snow load essentially
1. The horizontal distributed load need only be applied to modifies the flat roof snow load by the slope factor
the partition framing. The total area used to determine (Cs), which varies from 1.0 at a low slope (i.e., no
the distributed load shall be the area of the fabric face effect) to zero at a slope of 70 degrees (1.36 rad).
between the framing members to which the fabric is The flat roof snow load or sloped roof snow load
attached. The total distributed load shall be uniformly applied uniformly to the entire roof is referred to as
applied to such framing members in proportion to the the balanced snow load condition. This loading is
length of each member. always a design consideration. Depending on factors
2. A concentrated load of 40 pounds (0.176 kN) applied to such as the type of roof structural system, the
an 8-inch-diameter (203 mm) area [50.3 square inches geometry of the roof, etc., the following additional
(32 452 mm2)] of the fabric face at a height of 54 inches snow loadings may require evaluation:
(1372 mm) above the floor. • Partial loading (see Section 7.5, ASCE 7) is a
 This section provides criteria for fabric partitions (see pattern consisting of balanced snow load and
definition, Section 202) as an alternative to Section one-half of balanced snow load arranged to pro-
1607.14. The construction of these partitions is duce the maximum effects on the structural
unique, which makes it difficult to meet the full member being considered.
requirements of Section 1607.14. Condition 1 • Unbalanced snow loads (see Section 7.6, ASCE
requires the partition framing to be capable of resist- 7) reflect an uneven loading pattern, such as
ing a minimum lateral load. Condition 2 approximates can occur on a sawtooth roof [see Commentary
the load of a person leaning against the fabric using Figure 1608.1(1)].
their hand as the point of contact. This criterion is • Drifting (see Sections 7.7 and 7.8, ASCE 7) is a
based on test standards that are used to evaluate the concern where adjacent roof surfaces are at dif-
tip-over resistance of office furniture panel systems ferent elevations [see Commentary Figures
that are often used to provide open plan offices. 1608.1(2) and (3)] or at projections above the
roof level, such as at equipment or parapets.

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1608.2 Ground snow loads. The ground snow loads to be being exceeded (50-year mean recurrence interval). Snow
used in determining the design snow loads for roofs shall be loads are zero for Hawaii, except in mountainous regions as
determined in accordance with ASCE 7 or Figure 1608.2 for approved by the building official.
the contiguous United States and Table 1608.2 for Alaska.  The ground snow loads on the maps in Figure 1608.2
Site-specific case studies shall be made in areas designated
of the code are generally based on over 40 years of
“CS” in Figure 1608.2. Ground snow loads for sites at eleva- snow depth records. The snow loads on the maps are
tions above the limits indicated in Figure 1608.2 and for all
those that have a 2-percent annual probability of
sites within the CS areas shall be approved. Ground snow being exceeded (a 50-year mean recurrence inter-
load determination for such sites shall be based on an extreme
val). The maps were generated from data through the
value statistical analysis of data available in the vicinity of winter of 1991-92, and from data through the winter
the site using a value with a 2-percent annual probability of

--`,`,,,,,,`,,,,`,````,`,,,,,``-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---
Figure 1608.1(1)
BALANCED AND UNBALANCED LOADS FOR A SAWTOOTH ROOF

Figure 1608.1(2)
DRIFTING SNOW ON LOW ROOFS AND DECKS

For SI: 1 foot = 304.8 mm.


Figure 1608.1(3)
DRIFTING SNOW ONTO ADJACENT LOW STRUCTURE

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of 1993-94 where the snows were heavy. The for determining which bays of a roof need to be inves-
mapped snow loads are not increased much from a tigated for ponding instability. Section 1611.2 also
single snowy winter, since most reporting stations relies on the determination of which bays are suscep-
have more than 20 years of snow data. The map val- tible bays.
ues indicate the ground snow load in pounds per
square foot. In mountainous areas, the map also indi-
cates the highest elevation that is appropriate for the SECTION 1609
use of the associated snow load. Where the elevation WIND LOADS
limit is exceeded, a site-specific case study is neces- 1609.1 Applications. Buildings, structures and parts thereof
sary to establish the appropriate ground snow load. In shall be designed to withstand the minimum wind loads pre-
some areas the ground snow load is too variable to scribed herein. Decreases in wind loads shall not be made for
allow mapping. These areas are noted as “CS,” which the effect of shielding by other structures.
indicates a site-specific case study is necessary.
Assistance in the determination of an appropriate  The determination of the wind load, W, must be in
ground snow load for these areas may be obtained accordance with Section 1609. The intent of this sec-
from the U.S. Department of Army Cold Regions tion is to provide minimum criteria for the design and
Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) in construction of buildings and other structures to resist
Hanover, New Hampshire. wind loads. These regulations serve to reduce the
potential for damage to property caused by wind-
TABLE 1608.2. See below. storms and to provide an acceptable level of protec-
 Since Alaska in not shown on Figure 1608.2, this tion to building occupants. The objective also
table provides the ground snow loads, Pg, for Alaskan includes the prevention of damage to adjacent prop-
locations. These values are needed to determine the erties because of the possible detachment of major
appropriate roof snow loads for the indicated loca- building components (e.g., walls, roofs, etc.), struc-
tions. The roof snow load is to be determined accord- tural collapse or flying debris and for the safety of
ing to Section 7.3 of ASCE 7 for flat roofs and Section people in the immediate vicinity.
7.4 of ASCE 7 for sloped roofs. The criteria for wind design given in this section of
the code generally reflect the wind load provisions of
FIGURE 1608.2. See pages 16-38 through 16-39. ASCE 7. For a better understanding of the wind load
 See the commentary to Section 1608.2 for an over- provisions it is important to have a fundamental
view of the snow load map. See the commentary for knowledge of the effects of high-velocity wind forces
Section 7.2 of ASCE 7 for a complete description of on buildings and other structures. Wind/structure
the methodology used in developing the contour lines interactions can be characterized as follows:
shown on the figure. When wind encounters a stationary object, such as
1608.3 Ponding instability. Susceptible bays of roofs shall a building, the airflow changes direction and pro-
be evaluated for ponding instability in accordance with Sec- duces several effects on the building that are illus-
tion 7.11 of ASCE 7. trated in Commentary Figure 1609.1(1). Exterior
walls and other vertical surfaces facing the wind
 Susceptible bays of roofs are required to meet the (windward side) and perpendicular to its path are
technical provisions of ASCE 7 for consideration of subjected to inward (positive) pressures. However,
progressive deflection. The term “Susceptible bay” is wind does not stop on contact with a facing surface,
defined in Section 202 and provides a technical basis but flows around and over the building surfaces. This

TABLE 1608.2
GROUND SNOW LOADS, pg, FOR ALASKAN LOCATIONS
POUNDS PER POUNDS PER POUNDS PER
LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION
SQUARE FOOT SQUARE FOOT SQUARE FOOT
Adak 30 Galena 60 Petersburg 150
Anchorage 50 Gulkana 70 St. Paul Islands 40
Angoon 70 Homer 40 Seward 50
Barrow 25 Juneau 60 Shemya 25
Barter Island 35 Kenai 70 Sitka 50
Bethel 40 Kodiak 30 Talkeetna 120
Big Delta 50 Kotzebue 60 Unalakleet 50
Cold Bay 25 McGrath 70 Valdez 160
Cordova 100 Nenana 80 Whittier 300
Fairbanks 60 Nome 70 Wrangell 60
Fort Yukon 60 Palmer 50 Yakutat 150
For SI: 1 pound per square foot = 0.0479 kN/m2.

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airflow does not instantaneously change directions at leeward wall causes negative pressure on the inte-
surface discontinuities, such as corners of walls or rior, increasing the total load on the windward wall.
eaves, or over ridges and roof corners. Instead it sep- Openings on the windward wall cause positive inter-
arates from the downwind surfaces due to high turbu- nal pressure against all the walls from the interior of
lence and localized pressures, resulting in outward the building. As the figure shows, the result is an
(negative) pressures. This phenomena produces suc- increase in the total load on the leeward wall. In
tion or outward pressures (negative) on the sidewalls, extreme cases, failures resulting from this type of
leeward wall and, depending on geometry, the roof. wind flow appear as if the building has exploded.
Commentary Figure 1609.1(1) shows a flat roof The definition of “Openings” is worth noting, since
and the resulting negative pressures caused by in the nonstructural code provisions the term “open-
external wind; however, pressures may differ on slop- ings” typically refers to doors, ducts or windows. The
ing roofs in the direction perpendicular to the ridge. definition of “Openings” that is relevant to wind load is
Roof surfaces (on the windward side) with shallow in Section 26.2 of ASCE 7. They are all described as
slopes are generally subjected to outward (negative) “apertures or holes in the building envelope that allow
pressures—the same as flat roofs. Moderately slop- air to flow through the building envelope and that are
ing roofs [about 30 degrees (0.5235 rad)] may be designed as ‘open’ during design wind loads.” Such
subjected to inward (positive) pressures, outward openings are then considered in classifying the build-
(negative) pressures or both—negative pressure in ing as enclosed, partially enclosed or open. The wind
the lower part of the roof and positive pressure in the load considerations will differ based on that classifi-
area of the ridge. However, the code does not require cation.
consideration of this scenario. High-sloping roofs
(windward side) respond similar to walls and sustain
positive wind pressures. The leeward side of a sloped
roof is subjected to negative pressure, regardless of
the angle. When the wind acts parallel to the ridge,
the pressures on a sloped roof are similar to the pres-
sures on a flat roof, meaning the roof is subject to
negative pressures.
Openings in the building envelope can impact the
magnitude of wind pressure on a structure by
increasing the internal pressures that, in turn, will
affect the net pressures on the structure. Commen-
tary Figure 1609.1(2) illustrates the effects of open-
ings in a building’s exterior walls. An opening in the

Figure 1609.1(1)
WIND PRESSURES CAUSED BY Figure 1609.1(2)
EXTERNAL WIND FLOW OPENING IN EXTERIOR WALL OF BUILDING
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FIGURE 1608.2
GROUND SNOW LOADS, pg, FOR THE UNITED STATES (psf)

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FIGURE 1608.2—continued
GROUND SNOW LOADS, pg, FOR THE UNITED STATES (psf)

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1609.1.1 Determination of wind loads. Wind loads on every The AWC Wood Frame Construction Manual for
building or structure shall be determined in accordance with One- and Two-family Dwellings has prescriptive con-
Chapters 26 to 30 of ASCE 7 or provisions of the alternate struction requirements and required load-resistance
all-heights method in Section 1609.6. The type of opening tables that replace the requirement for structural
protection required, the ultimate design wind speed, Vult, and analysis. The tabulated engineered and prescriptive
the exposure category for a site is permitted to be determined design provisions apply to one- and two-family wood
in accordance with Section 1609 or ASCE 7. Wind shall be frame dwellings where the fastest-mile basic wind
assumed to come from any horizontal direction and wind speed is between 90 and 120 mph (40 and 54 m/s).
pressures shall be assumed to act normal to the surface con- See Table 1609.3.1 for conversion between the 3-
sidered. second-gust and fastest-mile wind speeds (see the
Exceptions: AWC Wood Frame Construction Manual for One- and
Two-family Dwellings, Chapter 1, for other detailed
1. Subject to the limitations of Section 1609.1.1.1, the application limitations). Similarly, Exception 3 allows
provisions of ICC 600 shall be permitted for appli- the cold-formed steel prescriptive standard for one-
cable Group R-2 and R-3 buildings. and two-family dwellings.
2. Subject to the limitations of Section 1609.1.1.1, resi- Exception 4 simply refers to a national standard
dential structures using the provisions of AWC dealing specifically with the design of flag poles.
WFCM. Exception 5 allows the use of TIA 222-G for anten-
nas and their supporting structures. This standard
3. Subject to the limitations of Section 1609.1.1.1, resi- provides a simplification of the topographic wind
dential structures using the provisions of AISI S230. speed-up effect. The TIA 222-G standard allows a
4. Designs using NAAMM FP 1001. designer to use the full topographic wind speed-up
5. Designs using TIA-222 for antenna-supporting method of ASCE 7 in order to avoid the conservatism
structures and antennas, provided the horizontal of the simplified method. A code modification makes
extent of Topographic Category 2 escarpments in sure that the simplified method is safe in all cases.
Section 2.6.6.2 of TIA-222 shall be 16 times the TIA 222-G accounts for the worst-case wind
height of the escarpment. speed-up at the crest for a steep slope, but overlooks
the fact that less-sloped escarpments create pres-
6. Wind tunnel tests in accordance with ASCE 49 and sure increases that cannot be safely ignored beyond
Sections 31.4 and 31.5 of ASCE 7. the “steep slope” influence. As written, the standard
The wind speeds in Figures 1609.3(1), 1609.3(2) and stops considering the topographic wind speed-up
1609.3(3) are ultimate design wind speeds, Vult, and shall be effect at “8 times the height” from the crest. At this
converted in accordance with Section 1609.3.1 to nominal distance, a shallow slope can still increase wind pres-
design wind speeds, Vasd, when the provisions of the stan- sure by more than 20 percent.
dards referenced in Exceptions 4 and 5 are used. The modification changes “8 times the height” in
the standard to “16 times the height.” The intent is
 The intent of Section 1609 is to require that buildings that the “Topographic category 2” definition in TIA
and structures be designed and constructed to resist 222-G should be applied as follows:
the wind loads quantified in Chapters 26 through 30
of ASCE 7. Category 2. Structures located at or near the crest
There are six exceptions to using the provisions of of an escarpment. Wind speed-up shall be consid-
ASCE 7 for the determination of wind loads. ered to occur in all directions. Structures located
Exception 1 provides for the use of ICC 600 for vertically on the lower half of an escarpment or
Group R-2 and R-3 buildings where they are located horizontally beyond 16 times the height of the
within Exposure B or C as defined in Section 1609.4 escarpment from its crest, shall be permitted to be
and not sited on the upper half of an isolated hill, considered as Topographic Category 1.
escarpment or ridge with the characteristics 1609.1.1.1 Applicability. The provisions of ICC 600 are
described in Section 1609.1.1.1. ICC 600 has pre- applicable only to buildings located within Exposure B or C
scriptive construction requirements and required load as defined in Section 1609.4. The provisions of ICC 600,
capacity tables that replace the requirement for struc- AWC WFCM and AISI S230 shall not apply to buildings
tural analysis, which is intended to provide improved sited on the upper half of an isolated hill, ridge or escarpment
design construction details to achieve greater struc- meeting the following conditions:
tural performance for single- and multiple-family
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dwellings in a high-wind event (see ICC 600 for other 1. The hill, ridge or escarpment is 60 feet (18 288 mm) or
detailed application limitations). higher if located in Exposure B or 30 feet (9144 mm) or
Exception 2 provides for the use of the AWC Wood higher if located in Exposure C;
Frame Construction Manual for One- and Two-family 2. The maximum average slope of the hill exceeds 10 per-
Dwellings where the building is sited within Exposure cent; and
B or C as defined in Section 1609.4 and not on the
upper half of an isolated hill, escarpment or ridge with 3. The hill, ridge or escarpment is unobstructed upwind
the characteristics described in Section 1609.1.1.1. by other such topographic features for a distance from

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STRUCTURAL DESIGN

the high point of 50 times the height of the hill or 1 mile Attachments shall be designed to resist the compo-
(1.61 km), whichever is greater. nents and cladding loads determined in accordance
with the provisions of ASCE 7, with corrosion-resis-
 This section places limitations on the use of ICC 600
and the AWC Wood Frame Construction Manual for tant attachment hardware provided and anchors per-
manently installed on the building. Attachment in
One- and Two-family Dwellings. Neither of these
standards accounts for the effect of isolated hills, accordance with Table 1609.1.2 with corrosion-
resistant attachment hardware provided and anchors
ridges or escarpments. As illustrated in Commentary
Figure 1609.1.1.1, the wind speed increases when a permanently installed on the building is permitted
for buildings with a mean roof height of 45 feet (13
mass of air passes over those terrain features. This
phenomenon is referred to as the “wind speed-up” 716 mm) or less where Vasd determined in accor-
dance with Section 1609.3.1 does not exceed 140
effect and requires the use of ASCE 7.
mph (63 m/s)
1609.1.2 Protection of openings. In wind-borne debris
regions, glazing in buildings shall be impact resistant or pro- 2. Glazing in Risk Category I buildings, including
tected with an impact-resistant covering meeting the require- greenhouses that are occupied for growing plants on
ments of an approved impact-resistant standard or ASTM a production or research basis, without public access
E1996 and ASTM E1886 referenced herein as follows: shall be permitted to be unprotected.
1. Glazed openings located within 30 feet (9144 mm) of 3. Glazing in Risk Category II, III or IV buildings
grade shall meet the requirements of the large missile located over 60 feet (18 288 mm) above the ground
test of ASTM E1996. and over 30 feet (9144 mm) above aggregate surface
roofs located within 1,500 feet (458 m) of the build-
2. Glazed openings located more than 30 feet (9144 mm) ing shall be permitted to be unprotected.
above grade shall meet the provisions of the small mis-
sile test of ASTM E1996.  The purpose of this section is to address risks associ-
ated with wind-borne debris in high-wind areas. See
Exceptions: the definitions of “Wind-borne debris region” and
1. Wood structural panels with a minimum thickness “Hurricane-prone regions” in Section 202 for an
of 7/16 inch (11.1 mm) and maximum panel span of 8 explanation of where these provisions apply. This
feet (2438 mm) shall be permitted for opening pro- section requires protection of glazed openings in
tection in buildings with a mean roof height of 33 buildings in wind-borne debris regions. This can be
feet (10 058 mm) or less that are classified as a provided in the form of a protective assembly that is
Group R-3 or R-4 occupancy. Panels shall be precut impact tested or by using impact-resistant glazing.
so that they shall be attached to the framing sur- During a hurricane, buildings are impacted from
rounding the opening containing the product with wind-borne debris due to high-velocity winds. This
the glazed opening. Panels shall be predrilled as debris can impact the glazing, causing breakage and
required for the anchorage method and shall be creating an opening within the building envelope. The
secured with the attachment hardware provided. presence of openings in the building envelope can

Figure 1609.1.1.1
WIND SPEED-UP EFFECT
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have a significant effect on the magnitude of the total TABLE 1609.1.2


wind pressure required to be resisted by each struc- WIND-BORNE DEBRIS PROTECTION FASTENING SCHEDULE
FOR WOOD STRUCTURAL PANELSa, b, c, d
tural element of a building. Depending on the location
FASTENER SPACING (inches)
of these openings with respect to wind direction and
FASTENER TYPE
the amount of background porosity, external and Panel Span 4 feet < Panel 6 feet < Panel
 4 feet Span  6 feet Span  8 feet
internal pressures may act in the same direction to
produce higher forces on some walls and the roof. An No. 8 wood-screw-
example of this is shown in Commentary Figure based anchor with 2-
inch embedment 16 10 8
1609.1.2. In this scenario, as the wind flows over the length
building, pressures are developed on the external
surface, as shown. Introduction of an opening in the No. 10 wood-screw-
based anchor with 2-
windward wall causes the wind to rush into the build- inch embedment 16 12 9
ing, exerting internal pressures (positive) against all length
interior surfaces. This type of opening has the net 1
/4-inch diameter lag-
effect of producing potentially high internal pressures screw-based anchor
that will act in the same direction as the external pres- with 2-inch embed- 16 16 16
sures on the roof, side and leeward walls. Consider- ment length
ing the high probability of wind-borne debris during a
hurricane and the effect of an unintended opening in For SI: 1 inch = 25.4 mm, 1 foot = 304.8 mm, 1 pound = 4.448 N, 1 mile per
hour = 0.447 m/s.
the building envelope, the code requires glazing in a. This table is based on 140 mph wind speeds and a 45-foot mean roof
designated regions to be protected. height.
Where wind-borne debris protection is provided, b. Fasteners shall be installed at opposing ends of the wood structural panel.
the section specifies two types of tests to demon- Fasteners shall be located a minimum of 1 inch from the edge of the panel.
strate adequate resistance: the large missile test to c. Anchors shall penetrate through the exterior wall covering with an
simulate large debris up to 30 feet (9144 mm) above embedment length of 2 inches minimum into the building frame.
Fasteners shall be located a minimum of 21/2 inches from the edge of
grade and the small missile test to simulate smaller concrete block or concrete.
debris up to 60 feet (18 288 mm) above grade, both d. Where panels are attached to masonry or masonry/stucco, they shall be
of which are common during very high winds. An attached using vibration-resistant anchors having a minimum ultimate
example of small debris is gravel from the surround- withdrawal capacity of 1,500 pounds.
ing area that becomes air borne.  This table provides the connections for the wood
Impact-resistant coverings or glazing must meet structural panel impact-resistant covering that is
the test requirements of an approved impact standard described in the exception to Section 1609.1.2. The
or ASTM E1886 and ASTM E1996. Other impact table lists the spacing of the screws around the
standards the building official may consider are perimeter of the panel for the indicated panel spans.
SBCCI SSTD 12 or Florida Building Code Test Proto- Note that Table 1609.1.2 is only applicable to build-
col TAS 201, TAS 202 and TAS 203. These stan- ings with a mean roof height of 33 feet (10 058 mm)
dards specify similar-type testing with a large missile or less.
test (2 by 4), small missile test (2 gram balls) and
1609.1.2.1 Louvers. Louvers protecting intake and exhaust
cyclic pressure loading test. ASTM E1886 and ASTM
ventilation ducts not assumed to be open that are located
E1996 work together with the standard test method
within 30 feet (9144 mm) of grade shall meet the require-
(E1886) and the test specification (E1996), including
ments of AMCA 540.
scoping, technical requirements and pass/fail criteria.
Exception 1 permits the use of 7/16-inch (11.1 mm)  This section provides direction for impact testing of
wood structural panels with maximum spans of 8 feet louvers that cover intake or exhaust duct openings in
(2438 mm) as an impact-resistant covering for build- wind-borne debris regions. Louvers often have
ings having a mean roof height of not more than 33 blades or slats affixed to and covering an opening in
feet (10 058 mm). Panel attachments have to be the exterior envelope, making them similar to certain
designed to resist the component and cladding pres- types of porous shutters used to protect glazed open-
sure from ASCE 7 or attached in accordance with ings. When a louver in an exterior wall is damaged by
Table 1609.1.2. This protective system has been wind-borne debris during a high-wind event, the air-
tested and meets the requirements of SBCCI SSTD leakage-rated damper inside the ventilation duct may
12. The intent is that precut panel coverings and also be exposed to damage.
attachment hardware are provided on site. The scope of ASTM E1996 covers impact testing of
Exception 2 exempts low-hazard (Risk Category I) exterior building features, such as windows, glazed
buildings from this requirement for protecting open- curtain walls, doors and storm shutters, in buildings
ings against wind-borne debris. located in geographic regions that are prone to hurri-
Exception 3 exempts openings in buildings that are canes, simulating impact by both large and small mis-
classified in Risk Category II, III or IV where the open- siles. For glazed openings and nonporous shutters
ing locations meet the stated conditions. that protect the fenestration assembly, the impact

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Figure 1609.1.2
EFFECTS OF OPENINGS IN THE BUILDING ENVELOPE

testing is followed by a cyclic loading test. There is no 1609.1.2.3 Garage doors. Garage door glazed opening pro-
specific provision in the standard for testing louvers tection for wind-borne debris shall meet the requirements of
that cover ventilation openings, either for impact or air an approved impact-resisting standard or ANSI/DASMA
pressure cycling. Nevertheless, in the absence of an 115.
appropriate specification and test method for louvers,
 This provision references a standard for the wind-
some jurisdictions have based their product approv-
borne debris resistance testing of glazing installed in
als on the performance criteria of the large missile
garage doors. Because ASTM E1886 and ASTM
test of ASTM E1886 and ASTM E1996. The Air
E1996 require interpretation regarding their applica-
Movement Control Association (AMCA) has devel-
tion to garage doors, DASMA 115 is the primary stan-
oped a standard specification for louvers that pro-
dard referenced for this purpose.
vides a uniform set of guidelines and a consistent
basis for evaluating the ability of the louver to main- 1609.2 Definitions. For the purposes of Section 1609 and as
tain its integrity during the large missile test of ASTM used elsewhere in this code, the following terms are defined
E1886 and ASTM E1996. in Chapter 2.
1609.1.2.2. Application of ASTM E1996. The text of Sec-  Definitions facilitate the understanding of code provi-
tion 6.2.2 of ASTM E1996 shall be substituted as follows: sions and minimize potential confusion. To that end,
this section lists definitions of terms associated with
6.2.2 Unless otherwise specified, select the wind zone
based on the strength design wind speed, Vult, as follows: wind loads. Note that these definitions are found in
Chapter 2. The use and application of defined terms,
6.2.2.1 Wind Zone 1—130 mph  ultimate design wind as well as undefined terms, are set forth in Section
speed, Vult < 140 mph. 201.
6.2.2.2 Wind Zone 2—140 mph  ultimate design wind

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HURRICANE-PRONE REGIONS.
speed, Vult < 150 mph at greater than one mile (1.6 km) WIND-BORNE DEBRIS REGION.
from the coastline. The coastline shall be measured from
the mean high water mark. WIND SPEED, Vult.
6.2.2.3 Wind Zone 3—150 mph (58 m/s) ultimate design WIND SPEED, Vasd.
wind speed, Vult 160 mph (63 m/s), or 140 mph (54 m/s) 1609.3 Ultimate design wind speed. The ultimate design
ultimate design wind speed, Vult  160 mph (63 m/s) and wind speed, Vult, in mph, for the determination of the wind
within one mile (1.6 km) of the coastline. The coastline loads shall be determined by Figures 1609.3(1), 1609.3(2)
shall be measured from the mean high water mark. and 1609.3(3). The ultimate design wind speed, Vult, for use in
6.2.2.4 Wind Zone 4— ultimate design wind speed, Vult the design of Risk Category II buildings and structures shall
>160 mph (63 m/s). be obtained from Figure 1609.3(1). The ultimate design wind
speed, Vult, for use in the design of Risk Category III and IV
 The purpose of this section is to correlate the wind buildings and structures shall be obtained from Figure
zones of ASTM E1996 with the new wind speed 1609.3(2). The ultimate design wind speed, Vult, for use in the
maps. It is needed to delineate the wind zones design of Risk Category I buildings and structures shall be
because ASTM E1996 does not use Vult. obtained from Figure 1609.3(3). The ultimate design wind

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Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 16-43
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

speed, Vult, for the special wind regions indicated near moun- 3. The use of multiple maps eliminates the
tainous terrain and near gorges shall be in accordance with confusion associated with the recurrence
local jurisdiction requirements. The ultimate design wind interval associated with the previous wind
speeds, Vult, determined by the local jurisdiction shall be in speed map—the map was not a uniform 50-
accordance with Section 26.5.1 of ASCE 7. year return period map. This created a situation
In nonhurricane-prone regions, when the ultimate design where the level of safety that was provided
wind speed, Vult, is estimated from regional climatic data, the within the overall design was not consistent
ultimate design wind speed, Vult, shall be determined in accor- along the hurricane coast.
dance with Section 26.5.3 of ASCE 7. Utilizing the new wind speed maps and integrating
their use into the code necessitated the introduction
 This section establishes the wind speed that is to be of the terms “Vult” and “Vasd” to be associated with the
used for design. Ultimate design wind speed maps “ultimate” design wind speed and the “nominal”
identify special wind regions where speeds vary sub- design wind speed, respectively. Because of the
stantially within a very short distance due to topo- number of different provisions that use the wind
graphic effects, such as mountains and valleys. This speed map to “trigger” different requirements, it was
section specifies appropriate recurrence interval cri- necessary to provide a conversion methodology in
teria to be used for estimating the ultimate design Section 1609.3.1 so that those provisions were not
wind speeds from regional climatic data in other than affected. The terms “ultimate design wind speed” and
hurricane-prone regions. See Section 26.5.3 of ASCE “nominal design wind speed” have been incorporated
7 for issues to be addressed in the data analysis and to clarify the different levels of wind speed.
the associated commentary for further details [also Prior to 1998, earlier editions of ASCE 7 as well as
see the commentary to Figures 1609.3(1), 1609.3(2) the legacy model codes incorporated fastest-mile
and 1609.3(3)]. wind speed maps. “Fastest mile” is defined as the
average speed of one mile of air that passes a spe-
FIGURES 1609.3(1), 1609.3(2) & 1609.3(3). See pages 16- cific reference point. It is important to recognize the
46 through 16-48. differences in averaging times between fastest-mile
 Over the past decade, new data and research have and the 3-second-gust maps. The averaging time for
indicated that the mapped hurricane wind speeds a 90-mph (40 m/s) fastest-mile wind speed is (t =
have been overly conservative. Significantly more 3,600/V) 40 seconds. Obviously, due to greater aver-
hurricane data have become available, which in turn aging time, for a given location the fastest-mile wind
allows for improvements in the hurricane simulation speed will be less than the 3-second-gust wind
model that is used to develop wind speed maps. The speed. The fact that the wind speed values are higher
new hurricane hazard model yields hurricane wind does not necessarily indicate higher wind loads.
speeds that are lower than those given in previous Buildings and structures resist wind loads, not wind
editions of ASCE 7 and the code, even though the speeds. Wind speed, although a significant contribu-
overall rate of intense storms (as defined by central tor, is only one of several variables and factors that
pressure) produced by the new model is increased affect wind forces. Wind loads are affected by atmo-
compared to those produced by the hurricane simula- sphere and aerodynamics. Other elements that affect
tion model used to develop previous maps. In prepar- actual wind forces as wind flows across a bluff body
ing new maps, it was decided to use multiple ultimate include shape factors (Ca), gust effect factors (G) and
event or strength design maps in conjunction with a the velocity pressure that is a function of wind speed,
wind load factor of 1.0 for strength design (see Sec- exposure and topography, among others.
tion 1605.2). For allowable stress design, the load The change from the fastest-mile wind speed map
factor has been reduced from 1.0 to 0.6 (see Section to a 3-second-gust map in the 2000 code (based on
1605.3). Several factors that are important to an the 1998 edition of ASCE 7) was necessary for the
accurate wind load standard led to this decision: following reasons: First, weather stations across the
United States no longer collect fastest-mile wind
1. An ultimate event or strength design wind speed data. Additionally, the perception of the gen-
speed map makes the overall approach eral public will be more favorable where the code
consistent with that used in seismic design in wind speeds are higher, although the design wind
that they both map ultimate events and use a pressures were not changed significantly.
load factor of 1.0 for strength design. The map includes a more complete analysis of hur-
ricane wind speeds than previous maps, since more
2. Utilizing different maps for the different risk data where available for sites away from the coast. In
categories eliminates the problems associated western states, the 85- to 90-mph (38 m/s to 40 m/s)
with using “importance factors” that vary with contour boundary follows along the Washington, Ore-
category. The difference in the importance gon and California eastern state lines. This is
factors in hurricane-prone and nonhurricane- because inland wind data were such that there was
prone regions for Risk Category I structures, no statistical basis to place them elsewhere. The ref-
which prompted many questions, is gone. erence to the 50-year MRI used in previous maps
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was removed, reflecting the fact that the MRI is 1609.4 Exposure category. For each wind direction consid-
greater than 50 years along the hurricane coastline. ered, an exposure category that adequately reflects the char-
However, nonhurricane wind speeds are based on a acteristics of ground surface irregularities shall be determined
50-year MRI, as Section 1609.3 specifically requires for the site at which the building or structure is to be con-
when estimating basic wind speeds from local cli- structed. Account shall be taken of variations in ground sur-
matic data. face roughness that arise from natural topography and
1609.3.1 Wind speed conversion. When required, the ulti- vegetation as well as from constructed features.
mate design wind speeds of Figures 1609.3(1), 1609.3(2) and  The concept of exposure categories provides a
1609.3(3) shall be converted to nominal design wind speeds, means of accounting for the relative roughness of the
Vasd, using Table 1609.3.1 or Equation 16-33. boundary layer. The earth’s surface exerts a horizon-
tal drag force on wind due to ground obstructions that
V asd = V ult 0.6 (Equation 16-33) retard the flow of air close to the ground. The reduc-
where: tion in the flow of air is a function of height above
ground and terrain roughness. Wind speeds increase
Vasd = Nominal design wind speed applicable to methods
with height above ground, and the relationship
specified in Exceptions 4 and 5 of Section 1609.1.1.
between height above ground and wind speed is
Vult = Ultimate design wind speeds determined from Figures exponential. The rate of increase in wind speeds with
1609.3(1), 1609.3(2) or 1609.3(3). height is a function of the terrain features. The
 Because many code provisions are driven by wind rougher the terrain (such as large city centers), the
speed, it is necessary to include a mechanism that shallower the slope of the wind speed profile. The
provides a comparable wind speed so that the provi- smoother the terrain (open water), the steeper the
sions triggered by wind speed are not affected. The slope of the wind speed profile.
terms “ultimate design wind speed” and “nominal The definitions of exposure and roughness catego-
design wind speed” have been incorporated in ries are used to account for this roughness in the
numerous locations to help the code user distinguish boundary layer and are intended to provide an ade-
between them. For example, in a case where the quate assessment of surface roughness for most sit-
code previously imposed requirements where the uations. Exposure B is considered the roughest
basic wind speed exceeds 100 mph (45 m/s), it now boundary layer condition. Exposure D is considered
imposes the requirements where Vasd exceeds 100 the smoothest boundary layer condition. Accordingly,
mph (45 m/s). A nominal design speed, Vasd, equal to calculated wind loads are less for Exposure B, which
100 mph (45 m/s) corresponds to an ultimate design has more surface obstructions, as compared to Expo-
wind speed, Vult, equal to 129 mph (58 m/s). The con- sure D, with all other variables the same (see ASCE 7
version between the two is accomplished using commentary for guidance on performing a more
Equation 16-33 or Table 1609.3.1. This conversion detailed analysis of surface roughness).
equation is the result of the wind load being propor- 1609.4.1 Wind directions and sectors. For each selected
tional to the square of the velocity pressure and the wind direction at which the wind loads are to be evaluated,
ASD wind load being 0.6 times the strength level the exposure of the building or structure shall be determined
wind load. for the two upwind sectors extending 45 degrees (0.79 rad)
It should be noted that the term “basic wind speed” either side of the selected wind direction. The exposures in
remains in ASCE 7, but it corresponds to the “ulti- these two sectors shall be determined in accordance with Sec-
mate design wind speed” in the code. For a compari- tions 1609.4.2 and 1609.4.3 and the exposure resulting in the
son of ASCE 7-93 fastest-mile wind speeds and highest wind loads shall be used to represent winds from that
ASCE 7-05 3-second gust (ASD) wind speeds to direction.
ASCE 7-10 3-second gust wind speeds, refer to  An exposure category must be determined for each
Table C26.5-6 in the ASCE 7-10. direction in which wind loading is being considered.
TABLE 1609.3.1. See below. This section describes the method for doing so, and
 The table converts the mapped ultimate wind speed requires use of the more restrictive exposure cate-
to nominal design wind speed for use where neces- gory where the two sectors in a given wind direction
sary, such as in the standards that are referenced in would be classified in different exposure categories.
Section 1609.1.1.
TABLE 1609.3.1
WIND SPEED CONVERSIONSa, b, c
Vult 100 110 120 130 140 150 160 170 180 190 200
Vasd 78 85 93 101 108 116 124 132 139 147 155
For SI: 1 mile per hour = 0.44 m/s.
a. Linear interpolation is permitted.
b. Vasd = nominal design wind speed applicable to methods specified in Exceptions 1 through 5 of Section 1609.1.1.
c. Vult = ultimate design wind speeds determined from Figure 1609.3(1), 1609.3(2) or 1609.3(3).

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ULTIMATE DESIGN WIND SPEEDS, vult, FOR RISK CATEGORY II BUILDINGS AND OTHER STRUCTURES
FIGURE 1609.3(1)
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Code Council
BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY INTERNATIONAL
FIGURE 1609.3(2)
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ULTIMATE DESIGN WIND SPEEDS, vult, FOR RISK CATEGORY III AND IV BUILDINGS AND OTHER STRUCTURES

16-47
STRUCTURAL DESIGN
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

ULTIMATE DESIGN WIND SPEEDS, vult, FOR RISK CATEGORY I BUILDINGS AND OTHER STRUCTURES
FIGURE 1609.3(3)
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1609.4.2 Surface roughness categories. A ground surface prevails in the upwind direction for a distance of at least
roughness within each 45-degree (0.79 rad) sector shall be 5,000 feet (1524 m) or 20 times the height of the building,
determined for a distance upwind of the site as defined in whichever is greater. Exposure D shall also apply where
Section 1609.4.3 from the categories defined below, for the the ground surface roughness immediately upwind of the
purpose of assigning an exposure category as defined in Sec- site is B or C, and the site is within a distance of 600 feet
tion 1609.4.3. (183 m) or 20 times the building height, whichever is
Surface Roughness B. Urban and suburban areas, greater, from an Exposure D condition as defined in the
wooded areas or other terrain with numerous closely previous sentence.
spaced obstructions having the size of single-family dwell-  This section defines the three exposure categories
ings or larger. that are used to determine various wind load parame-
Surface Roughness C. Open terrain with scattered ters. Exposure categories are used along with basic
obstructions having heights generally less than 30 feet wind speed elsewhere in the code as a threshold for
(9144 mm). This category includes flat open country, and wind requirements, such as establishing the need for
grasslands. structural observation in Section 1704.6.
Exposure B is the most common type of exposure
Surface Roughness D. Flat, unobstructed areas and water category in the country. A study by the National Asso-
surfaces. This category includes smooth mud flats, salt ciation of Home Builders (NAHB) indicated that per-
flats and unbroken ice. haps up to 80 percent of all buildings were located in
 This section defines three surface roughness catego- Exposure B.
ries that are used in evaluating each sector and, sub- 1609.5 Roof systems. Roof systems shall be designed and
sequently, in determining an exposure category. constructed in accordance with Sections 1609.5.1 through
These surface roughnesses were previously included 1609.5.3, as applicable.
in the corresponding exposure category definition.
The required upwind distance that must be consid-  This section clarifies the design wind loads that are
ered varies according to the exposure category defi- applied to roof decks and roof coverings.
nition in Section 1609.4.3. 1609.5.1 Roof deck. The roof deck shall be designed to with-
A significant philosophical change in determination stand the wind pressures determined in accordance with
of exposure categories occurred with the inclusion of ASCE 7.
shorelines in hurricane-prone regions in the definition
of Exposure Category C (Surface Roughness C).  This section specifies the wind load criteria for the
Exposure Category D (Surface Roughness D) had roof deck. The roof deck is a structural component of
been used for wind flowing over open water until fur- the building and must resist the applicable wind pres-
ther research determined that wave action at the sures of ASCE 7. This section is referenced by Sec-
water’s surface in a hurricane had produced, tion 1609.5.2 as the criteria for the wind design for
because of the intensity of the turbulence, substantial roof coverings that are relatively impermeable.
surface obstructions and friction that reduces the 1609.5.2 Roof coverings. Roof coverings shall comply with
wind profile values to be more in line with Surface Section 1609.5.1.
Roughness C as opposed to Surface Roughness D.
Exception: Rigid tile roof coverings that are air permeable
Surface Roughness D would still apply to inland
and installed over a roof deck complying with Section
waterways and shorelines that are not in the hurri-
1609.5.1 are permitted to be designed in accordance with
cane-prone regions, such as coastal California, Ore-
Section 1609.5.3.
gon, Washington and Alaska.
1609.4.3 Exposure categories. An exposure category shall Asphalt shingles installed over a roof deck complying with
be determined in accordance with the following: Section 1609.5.1 shall comply with the wind-resistance
requirements of Section 1504.1.1.
Exposure B. For buildings with a mean roof height of less
than or equal to 30 feet (9144 mm), Exposure B shall  This section establishes the wind design criteria for
apply where the ground surface roughness, as defined by roof coverings. The exception references the use of
Surface Roughness B, prevails in the upwind direction for Section 1609.5.3 for air-permeable rigid tile roof cov-
a distance of at least 1,500 feet (457 m). For buildings erings. If the roof deck is relatively impermeable, wind
with a mean roof height greater than 30 feet (9144 mm), pressures will act through it to the building frame sys-
Exposure B shall apply where Surface Roughness B pre- tem. The roof covering may or may not be subjected
vails in the upwind direction for a distance of at least to the same wind pressures as the roof deck. If the
2,600 feet (792 m) or 20 times the height of the building, roof covering is also relatively impermeable and fas-
whichever is greater. tened to the roof deck, the two components will react
to and resist the same wind pressures. If the roof cov-
Exposure C. Exposure C shall apply for all cases where ering is not impermeable, the wind pressures will be
Exposure B or D does not apply. able to develop on both the top of, and underneath,
Exposure D. Exposure D shall apply where the ground the roof covering. This “venting action” will negate
surface roughness, as defined by Surface Roughness D, some wind pressure on the roof covering.
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1609.5.3 Rigid tile. Wind loads on rigid tile roof coverings 8. Roof tiles using mortar set or adhesive set systems shall
shall be determined in accordance with the following equa- have at least two-thirds of the tile’s area free of mortar
tion: or adhesive contact.
Ma = qhCLbLLa[1.0 - GCp] (Equation 16-34)  This section includes the wind design method for clay
For SI: or concrete rigid tile roofs. The method consists of the
calculation of the aerodynamic uplift moment from the
q h C L bLL a  1.0 – GC p  wind that acts to raise the end of the tile. This section
M a = ------------------------------------------------------
-
1 000 includes the characteristics and the type of installa-
where: tion of the concrete or clay roof tile that are required
for the use of the design method.
b = Exposed width, feet (mm) of the roof tile. In certain types of installations, the roof covering is
CL = Lift coefficient. The lift coefficient for concrete and not exposed to the same wind loads as the roof deck.
clay tile shall be 0.2 or shall be determined by test in Concrete and clay roof tiles are typical of this type of
accordance with Section 1504.2.1. installation and are not subject to wind loads that
GCp= Roof pressure coefficient for each applicable roof zone would be obtained from current wind-loading criteria.
determined from Chapter 30 of ASCE 7. Roof This is because gaps at the tile joints allow some
coefficients shall not be adjusted for internal pressure. equalization of pressure between the inner and outer
face of the tiles, leading to reduced loads. A proce-
L = Length, feet (mm) of the roof tile. dure has been developed through research for deter-
La = Moment arm, feet (mm) from the axis of rotation to mining the uplift moment on loose-laid and
the point of uplift on the roof tile. The point of uplift mechanically fastened roof tiles when laid over
shall be taken at 0.76L from the head of the tile and the sheathing with an underlayment. The procedure is
middle of the exposed width. For roof tiles with nails based on practical measurements on real tiles to
or screws (with or without a tail clip), the axis of determine the effect of air being able to penetrate the
rotation shall be taken as the head of the tile for direct roof covering.
deck application or as the top edge of the batten for 1609.6 Alternate all-heights method. The alternate wind
battened applications. For roof tiles fastened only by a design provisions in this section are simplifications of the
nail or screw along the side of the tile, the axis of ASCE 7 Directional Procedure.
rotation shall be determined by testing. For roof tiles
installed with battens and fastened only by a clip near  In response to concerns from design engineers on
the tail of the tile, the moment arm shall be determined the complexity of wind design procedures, member
about the top edge of the batten with consideration organizations of the National Council of Standard
given for the point of rotation of the tiles based on Engineering Associations (NCSEA) assembled this
straight bond or broken bond and the tile profile. alternative method for determining wind loads. The
procedure has been developed to give results equal
Ma = Aerodynamic uplift moment, feet-pounds (N-mm) to or more conservative than the Directional Proce-
acting to raise the tail of the tile. dure that is found in ASCE 7. The intention is to
qh = Wind velocity pressure, psf (kN/m2) determined from reduce the effort required in determining wind forces
Section 27.3.2 of ASCE 7. for the main windforce-resisting system, as well as for
Concrete and clay roof tiles complying with the following components and cladding (C & C).
limitations shall be designed to withstand the aerodynamic 1609.6.1 Scope. As an alternative to ASCE 7 Chapters 27 and
uplift moment as determined by this section. 30, the following provisions are permitted to be used to deter-
1. The roof tiles shall be either loose laid on battens, mine the wind effects on regularly shaped buildings, or other
mechanically fastened, mortar set or adhesive set. structures that are regularly shaped, that meet all of the fol-
lowing conditions:
2. The roof tiles shall be installed on solid sheathing that
has been designed as components and cladding. 1. The building or other structure is less than or equal to
75 feet (22 860 mm) in height with a height-to-least-
3. An underlayment shall be installed in accordance with width ratio of 4 or less, or the building or other struc-
Chapter 15. ture has a fundamental frequency greater than or equal
4. The tile shall be single lapped interlocking with a mini- to 1 hertz.
mum head lap of not less than 2 inches (51 mm). 2. The building or other structure is not sensitive to
5. The length of the tile shall be between 1.0 and 1.75 feet dynamic effects.
(305 mm and 533 mm). 3. The building or other structure is not located on a site
6. The exposed width of the tile shall be between 0.67 and for which channeling effects or buffeting in the wake of
1.25 feet (204 mm and 381 mm). upwind obstructions warrant special consideration.
7. The maximum thickness of the tail of the tile shall not 4. The building shall meet the requirements of a simple
exceed 1.3 inches (33 mm). diaphragm building as defined in ASCE 7 Section 26.2,

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where wind loads are only transmitted to the main using the Directional Procedure of ASCE 7. A gust
windforce-resisting system (MWFRS) at the dia- factor of 0.85 is used for the tabulated Cnet values, as
phragms. Section 26.9.2 of ASCE 7 permits for rigid structures.
5. For open buildings, multispan gable roofs, stepped TABLE 1609.6.2. See pages 16-52 through 16-55.
roofs, sawtooth roofs, domed roofs, roofs with slopes
 Net pressure coefficients are tabulated for both
greater than 45 degrees (0.79 rad), solid free-standing enclosed and partially enclosed structures (see Sec-
walls and solid signs, and rooftop equipment, apply
tion 26.10 of ASCE 7).
ASCE 7 provisions. For main windforce-resisting system roofs, Table
 While ASCE 7 already includes a simplified proce- 1609.6.2 refers to Conditions 1 and 2 for “windward
dure, it necessarily includes numerous limitations. roof slopes,” which correspond to the two values of
Similarly, this alternative design procedure is limited, Cp listed in Figure 27.4.1-1 of ASCE 7 (Note 3 at the
though it was developed to apply to a broader range bottom of that figure also refers to “both conditions”).
of buildings. The basis is Cnet = Kd [(G) (Cp) – (GCpi)] (see Sec-
Note that Item 1 limits application to buildings with tion 1609.6.2) and the values obtained for Cp. When
a frequency of at least 1 hertz. In other words, this considering the wind loads on the “windward roof
can only be used for rigid structures (see definition of slope,” see Figure 27.4.1-1 of ASCE 7. On the wind-
“Rigid buildings and other structures” in Section 26.2 ward side of a sloping roof for “Gable, hip roof,” there
of ASCE 7). Item 1 also allows any building up to 75 are two wind load conditions, one “upward” and the
feet (22 860 mm) in height that has a height-to-least- other “downward” as indicated by the two arrows.
width ratio of 4 or less to qualify without calculating Two conditions on the windward roof slope provide
the frequency. Buildings must also be regularly two values of Cp, and thereby two values of Cnet
shaped, simple diaphragm buildings with envelopes shown in Table 1609.6.2.
classified as either enclosed or partially enclosed. 1609.6.3 Design equations. When using the alternative all-
Item 5 provides a partial list of structures that must be heights method, the MWFRS, and components and cladding
analyzed using the ASCE 7 provisions. of every structure shall be designed to resist the effects of
1609.6.1.1 Modifications. The following modifications shall wind pressures on the building envelope in accordance with
be made to certain subsections in ASCE 7: in Section Equation 16-35.
1609.6.2, symbols and notations that are specific to this sec-
Pnet = 0.00256V2KzCnetKzt (Equation 16-35)
tion are used in conjunction with the symbols and notations in
ASCE 7 Section 26.3. Design wind forces for the MWFRS shall be not less than
16 psf (0.77 kN/m2) multiplied by the area of the structure
 These alternative provisions are an adaptation of the projected on a plane normal to the assumed wind direction
ASCE 7 analytical procedure. In providing the (see ASCE 7 Section 27.4.7 for criteria). Design net wind
intended simplifications, this section alerts the code pressure for components and cladding shall be not less than
user that these are modifications to the ASCE 7 pro- 16 psf (0.77 kN/m2) acting in either direction normal to the
cedure. surface.
1609.6.2 Symbols and notations. Coefficients and variables
used in the alternative all-heights method equations are as  This section provides the formula that is used for the
follows: design wind pressure. It also incorporates the ASCE
7 minimum wind pressure for main windforce-resist-
Cnet = Net-pressure coefficient based on Kd [(G) (Cp) - ing systems and components and cladding.
(GCpi)], in accordance with Table 1609.6.2.
1609.6.4 Design procedure. The MWFRS and the compo-
G = Gust effect factor for rigid structures in accordance nents and cladding of every building or other structure shall
with ASCE 7 Section 26.9.1. be designed for the pressures calculated using Equation 16-
Kd = Wind directionality factor in accordance with ASCE 7 35.
Table 26-6.  Using Equation 16-35, the design pressures can be
Pnet = Design wind pressure to be used in determination of calculated for the main windforce-resisting system.
Similarly, the components and cladding design pres-
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wind loads on buildings or other structures or their


components and cladding, in psf (kN/m2). sures are calculated for the various portions of the
building envelope.
 The primary simplification is accomplished by gener-
1609.6.4.1 Main windforce-resisting systems. The MWFRS
ating a table of net pressure coefficients (Cnet), com-
shall be investigated for the torsional effects identified in
bining a number of parameters in a simple, yet
ASCE 7 Figure 27.4-8.
conservative manner. These are shown in the defini-
tion of notation Cnet. Application of the tabulated net  A reference is made to the ASCE 7 figure that illus-
pressure coefficients reduces the number of steps trates the design wind load cases that must be con-
required for performing a wind analysis, resulting in sidered, specifically making mention of the torsional
net wind forces that meet or exceed those calculated load cases.

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Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 16-51
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

TABLE 1609.6.2
NET PRESSURE COEFFICIENTS, Cneta, b
STRUCTURE OR
DESCRIPTION Cnet FACTOR
PART THEREOF
Enclosed Partially enclosed
+ Internal - Internal + Internal - Internal
Walls: pressure pressure pressure pressure
Windward wall 0.43 0.73 0.11 1.05
Leeward wall -0.51 -0.21 -0.83 0.11
Sidewall -0.66 -0.35 -0.97 -0.04
Windward 1.28 1.28
Parapet wall
Leeward -0.85 -0.85
Roofs: Enclosed Partially enclosed
+ Internal - Internal + Internal - Internal
Wind perpendicular to ridge pressure pressure pressure pressure
Leeward roof or flat roof -0.66 -0.35 -0.97 -0.04
Windward roof slopes:
Condition 1 -1.09 -0.79 -1.41 -0.47
Slope < 2:12 (10°)
Condition 2 -0.28 0.02 -0.60 0.34
Condition 1 -0.73 -0.42 -1.04 -0.11
Slope = 4:12 (18°)
Condition 2 -0.05 0.25 -0.37 0.57

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Condition 1 -0.58 -0.28 -0.90 0.04
Slope = 5:12 (23°)
Condition 2 0.03 0.34 -0.29 0.65
1. Main windforce-
resisting frames and Condition 1 -0.47 -0.16 -0.78 0.15
systems Slope = 6:12 (27°)
Condition 2 0.06 0.37 -0.25 0.68
Condition 1 -0.37 -0.06 -0.68 0.25
Slope = 7:12 (30°)
Condition 2 0.07 0.37 -0.25 0.69
Condition 1 -0.27 0.04 -0.58 0.35
Slope = 9:12 (37°)
Condition 2 0.14 0.44 -0.18 0.76
Slope = 12:12 (45°) 0.14 0.44 -0.18 0.76
Wind parallel to ridge and flat roofs -1.09 -0.79 -1.41 -0.47
Nonbuilding Structures: Chimneys, Tanks and Similar Structures:
h/D
1 7 25
Square (Wind normal to face) 0.99 1.07 1.53
Square (Wind on diagonal) 0.77 0.84 1.15
Hexagonal or octagonal 0.81 0.97 1.13
Round 0.65 0.81 0.97
Open signs and lattice frameworks Ratio of solid to gross area
< 0.1 0.1 to 0.29 0.3 to 0.7
Flat 1.45 1.30 1.16
Round 0.87 0.94 1.08

(continued)

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TABLE 1609.6.2—continued
NET PRESSURE COEFFICIENTS, Cneta, b
STRUCTURE OR PART
DESCRIPTION Cnet FACTOR
THEREOF

Roof elements and slopes Enclosed Partially enclosed

Gable of hipped configurations (Zone 1)


Flat < Slope < 6:12 (27°) See ASCE 7 Figure 30.4-2B Zone 1
10 square feet or less 0.58 0.89
Positive
100 square feet or more 0.41 0.72
10 square feet or less -1.00 -1.32
Negative
100 square feet or more -0.92 -1.23
Overhang: Flat < Slope < 6:12 (27°) See ASCE 7 Figure 30.4-2A Zone 1
10 square feet or less -1.45
Negative 100 square feet or more -1.36
500 square feet or more -0.94
6:12 (27°) < Slope < 12:12 (45°) See ASCE 7 Figure 30.4-2C Zone 1
2. Components and
cladding not in areas Positive 10 square feet or less 0.92 1.23
of discontinuity— 100 square feet or more 0.83 1.15
roofs and overhangs
10 square feet or less -1.00 -1.32
Negative
100 square feet or more -0.83 -1.15
Monosloped configurations (Zone 1) Enclosed Partially enclosed

Flat < Slope < 7:12 (30°) See ASCE 7 Figure 30.4-5B Zone 1
10 square feet or less 0.49 0.81
Positive
100 square feet or more 0.41 0.72
10 square feet or less -1.26 -1.57
Negative
100 square feet or more -1.09 -1.40
Tall flat-topped roofs h > 60 feet Enclosed Partially enclosed

Flat < Slope < 2:12 (10°) (Zone 1) See ASCE 7 Figure 30.8-1 Zone 1
10 square feet or less -1.34 -1.66
Negative
500 square feet or more -0.92 -1.23
Gable or hipped configurations at ridges, eaves and rakes (Zone 2)
Flat < Slope < 6:12 (27°) See ASCE 7 Figure 30.4-2B Zone 2
10 square feet or less 0.58 0.89
Positive
100 square feet or more 0.41 0.72
10 square feet or less -1.68 -2.00
Negative
100 square feet or more -1.17 -1.49
Overhang for Slope Flat < Slope < 6:12 (27°) See ASCE 7 Figure 30.4-2B Zone 2
3. Components and 10 square feet or less -1.87
cladding in areas of Negative
discontinuity—roofs 100 square feet or more -1.87
and overhangs (con-
tinued) 6:12 (27°) < Slope < 12:12 (45°) Figure 30.4-2C Enclosed Partially enclosed

10 square feet or less 0.92 1.23


Positive
100 square feet or more 0.83 1.15
10 square feet or less -1.17 -1.49
Negative
100 square feet or more -1.00 -1.32
Overhang for 6:12 (27°) < Slope < 12:12 (45°) See ASCE 7 Figure 30.4-2C Zone 2
10 square feet or less -1.70
Negative
500 square feet or more -1.53

(continued)
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STRUCTURAL DESIGN

TABLE 1609.6.2—continued
NET PRESSURE COEFFICIENTS, Cneta, b
STRUCTURE OR PART
DESCRIPTION Cnet FACTOR
THEREOF
Roof elements and slopes Enclosed Partially enclosed
Monosloped configurations at ridges, eaves and rakes (Zone 2)
Flat < Slope < 7:12 (30°) See ASCE 7 Figure 30.4-5B Zone 2
10 square feet or less 0.49 0.81
Positive
100 square feet or more 0.41 0.72
10 square feet or less -1.51 -1.83
Negative
100 square feet or more -1.43 -1.74
Tall flat topped roofs h > 60 feet Enclosed Partially enclosed
Flat < Slope < 2:12 (10°) (Zone 2) See ASCE 7 Figure 30.8-1 Zone 2
10 square feet or less -2.11 -2.42
Negative
500 square feet or more -1.51 -1.83
Gable or hipped configurations at corners (Zone 3) See ASCE 7 Figure 30.4-2B Zone 3
Flat < Slope < 6:12 (27°) Enclosed Partially enclosed
10 square feet or less 0.58 0.89
Positive
100 square feet or more 0.41 0.72
10 square feet or less -2.53 -2.85
Negative
100 square feet or more -1.85 -2.17
Overhang for Slope Flat < Slope < 6:12 (27°) See ASCE 7 Figure 30.4-2B Zone 3
3. Components and clad- 10 square feet or less -3.15
ding in areas of discontinu- Negative
ity—roofs and overhangs 100 square feet or more -2.13
6:12 (27°) < 12:12 (45°) See ASCE 7 Figure 30.4-2C Zone 3
10 square feet or less 0.92 1.23
Positive
100 square feet or more 0.83 1.15
10 square feet or less -1.17 -1.49
Negative
100 square feet or more -1.00 -1.32
Overhang for 6:12 (27°) < Slope < 12:12 (45°) Enclosed Partially enclosed

--`,`,,,,,,`,,,,`,````,`,,,,,``-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---
10 square feet or less -1.70
Negative
100 square feet or more -1.53
Monosloped Configurations at corners (Zone 3) See ASCE 7 Figure 30.4-5B Zone 3
Flat < Slope < 7:12 (30°)
10 square feet or less 0.49 0.81
Positive
100 square feet or more 0.41 0.72
10 square feet or less -2.62 -2.93
Negative
100 square feet or more -1.85 -2.17
Tall flat topped roofs h > 60 feet Enclosed Partially enclosed
Flat < Slope < 2:12 (10°) (Zone 3) See ASCE 7 Figure 30.8-1 Zone 3
10 square feet or less -2.87 -3.19
Negative
500 square feet or more -2.11 -2.42
Wall Elements: h  60 feet (Zone 4) ASCE 7 Figure 30.4-1 Enclosed Partially enclosed
10 square feet or less 1.00 1.32
Positive
4. Components and clad- 500 square feet or more 0.75 1.06
ding not in areas of discon- 10 square feet or less -1.09 -1.40
tinuity—walls and Negative
parapets 500 square feet or more -0.83 -1.15
(continued) Wall Elements: h > 60 feet (Zone 4) See ASCE 7 Figure 30.6-1 Zone 4
20 square feet or less 0.92 1.23
Positive
500 square feet or more 0.66 0.98

(continued)

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TABLE 1609.6.2—continued
NET PRESSURE COEFFICIENTS, Cnet a, b
STRUCTURE OR
DESCRIPTION Cnet FACTOR
PART THEREOF

20 square feet or less -0.92 -1.23


Negative
4. Components and clad- 500 square feet or more -0.75 -1.06
ding not in areas of discon- Parapet Walls
tinuity—walls and
parapets Positive 2.87 3.19
Negative -1.68 -2.00
Wall elements: h  60 feet (Zone 5) ASCE 7 Figure 30.4-1 Enclosed Partially enclosed
10 square feet or less 1.00 1.32
Positive
500 square feet or more 0.75 1.06
10 square feet or less -1.34 -1.66
Negative
500 square feet or more -0.83 -1.15
5. Components and Wall elements: h > 60 feet (Zone 5) See ASCE 7 Figure 30.6-1 Zone 4
cladding in areas of
discontinuity—walls and Positive 20 square feet or less 0.92 1.23
parapets 500 square feet or more 0.66 0.98
20 square feet or less -1.68 -2.00
Negative
500 square feet or more -1.00 -1.32
Parapet walls
Positive 3.64 3.95
Negative -2.45 -2.76
For SI: 1 foot = 304.8 mm, 1 square foot = 0.0929m2, 1 degree = 0.0175 rad.
a. Linear interpolation between values in the table is permitted.
b. Some Cnet values have been grouped together. Less conservative results may be obtained by applying ASCE 7 provisions.

1609.6.4.2 Determination of Kz and Kzt. Velocity pressure 1609.6.4.4 Application of wind pressures. When using the
exposure coefficient, Kz, shall be determined in accordance alternative all-heights method, wind pressures shall be
with ASCE 7 Section 27.3.1 and the topographic factor, Kzt, applied simultaneously on, and in a direction normal to, all
shall be determined in accordance with ASCE 7 Section 26.8. building envelope wall and roof surfaces.
1. For the windward side of a structure, Kzt and Kz shall be  This section clarifies how the wind pressures are
based on height z. applied relative to the surfaces of the building enve-
2. For leeward and sidewalls, and for windward and lee- lope.
ward roofs, Kzt and Kz shall be based on mean roof 1609.6.4.4.1 Components and cladding. Wind pressure for
height h. each component or cladding element is applied as follows
using Cnet values based on the effective wind area, A, con-
 For the velocity pressure exposure coefficient, the
user is referred to the corresponding ASCE 7 section. tained within the zones in areas of discontinuity of width and/
or length “a,” “2a” or “4a” at: corners of roofs and walls;
For the topographic factor, the user is referred to the
corresponding ASCE 7 section. Note that these are edge strips for ridges, rakes and eaves; or field areas on walls
or roofs as indicated in figures in tables in ASCE 7 as refer-
evaluated only at the mean roof height for leeward
walls, sidewalls and roofs. enced in Table 1609.6.2 in accordance with the following:
1609.6.4.3 Determination of net pressure coefficients, Cnet. 1. Calculated pressures at local discontinuities acting over
For the design of the MWFRS and for components and clad- specific edge strips or corner boundary areas.
ding, the sum of the internal and external net pressure shall be 2. Include “field” (Zone 1, 2 or 4, as applicable) pressures
based on the net pressure coefficient, Cnet. applied to areas beyond the boundaries of the areas of
1. The pressure coefficient, Cnet, for walls and roofs shall discontinuity.
be determined from Table 1609.6.2. 3. Where applicable, the calculated pressures at disconti-
2. Where Cnet has more than one value, the more severe nuities (Zone 2 or 3) shall be combined with design
wind load condition shall be used for design. pressures that apply specifically on rakes or eave over-
hangs.
 The tabulated Cnet values represent the sum of exter-
nal and internal pressure coefficients as shown in the  The Cnet values for C & C pressures are separately
notation defined in Section 1609.6.2. tabulated for roof and walls. These portions of the
structure are further divided into those that are in
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®
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Code Council BUILDING CODE COMMENTARY 16-55
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

areas of discontinuities and those that are not. Effec- top by flexible diaphragms shall be permitted to be
tive wind area is another factor in selecting the cor- designed for active pressure.
rect C & C value. While the lateral-load-resisting  Nominal loads attributable to lateral earth pressures
system design may be controlled by earthquake are determined in accordance with this section. This
forces, it is necessary to consider these C & C wind section provides lateral loads for various soil types.
pressures, which can control the design of the com- This section requires that foundation and retaining
ponent and attachments. walls be designed to be capable of resisting the lat-
eral soil loads specified by Table 1610.1 where a
specific soil investigation has not been performed.
SECTION 1610
Consideration must be given to additional lateral soil
SOIL LATERAL LOADS
pressures caused by surcharge loads that result from
1610.1 General. Foundation walls and retaining walls shall sloping backfill, driveways or parking spaces that are
be designed to resist lateral soil loads. Soil loads specified in close to a foundation wall, as well as the foundation
Table 1610.1 shall be used as the minimum design lateral soil of an adjacent structure.
loads unless determined otherwise by a geotechnical investi-
gation in accordance with Section 1803. Foundation walls TABLE 1610.1. See below.
and other walls in which horizontal movement is restricted at  The table lists at-rest and active soil pressures for a
the top shall be designed for at-rest pressure. Retaining walls number of different types of moist soils. The basis of
free to move and rotate at the top shall be permitted to be the soil classification into the various types listed is
designed for active pressure. Design lateral pressure from ASTM D2487. Soils identified by Note b in Table
surcharge loads shall be added to the lateral earth pressure 1610.1 have unpredictable characteristics. These are
load. Design lateral pressure shall be increased if soils at the called expansive soils. Because of their ability to
site are expansive. Foundation walls shall be designed to sup- absorb water, they shrink and swell to a higher
port the weight of the full hydrostatic pressure of undrained degree than other soils. As expansive soils swell,
backfill unless a drainage system is installed in accordance they are capable of exerting large forces on soil-
with Sections 1805.4.2 and 1805.4.3. retaining structures; thus, these types of soils are not
Exception: Foundation walls extending not more than 8 to be used as backfill.
feet (2438 mm) below grade and laterally supported at the

TABLE 1610.1
LATERAL SOIL LOAD
DESIGN LATERAL SOIL LOADa
UNIFIED SOIL (pound per square foot per foot of depth)
DESCRIPTION OF BACKFILL MATERIALc
CLASSIFICATION
Active pressure At-rest pressure

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Well-graded, clean gravels; gravel-sand mixes GW 30 60
Poorly graded clean gravels; gravel-sand mixes GP 30 60
Silty gravels, poorly graded gravel-sand mixes GM 40 60
Clayey gravels, poorly graded gravel-and-clay mixes GC 45 60
Well-graded, clean sands; gravelly sand mixes SW 30 60
Poorly graded clean sands; sand-gravel mixes SP 30 60
Silty sands, poorly graded sand-silt mixes SM 45 60
Sand-silt clay mix with plastic fines SM-SC 45 100
Clayey sands, poorly graded sand-clay mixes SC 60 100
Inorganic silts and clayey silts ML 45 100
Mixture of inorganic silt and clay ML-CL 60 100
Inorganic clays of low to medium plasticity CL 60 100
Organic silts and silt clays, low plasticity OL Note b Note b
Inorganic clayey silts, elastic silts MH Note b Note b
Inorganic clays of high plasticity CH Note b Note b
Organic clays and silty clays OH Note b Note b
For SI: 1 pound per square foot per foot of depth = 0.157 kPa/m, 1 foot = 304.8 mm.
a. Design lateral soil loads are given for moist conditions for the specified soils at their optimum densities. Actual field conditions shall govern. Submerged or
saturated soil pressures shall include the weight of the buoyant soil plus the hydrostatic loads.
b. Unsuitable as backfill material.
c. The definition and classification of soil materials shall be in accordance with ASTM D2487.

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SECTION 1611 ured such that water will not collect on the roof, there
RAIN LOADS is no requirement for a secondary drainage system
1611.1 Design rain loads. Each portion of a roof shall be [see Commentary Figure 1611.1(1)]. Likewise, there
designed to sustain the load of rainwater that will accumulate would be no rain load required in the design of the
on it if the primary drainage system for that portion is roof.
blocked plus the uniform load caused by water that rises It is not uncommon to find that roof drains have
above the inlet of the secondary drainage system at its design become blocked by debris, leading to ponding of rain-
flow. The design rainfall shall be based on the 100-year water where the roof construction is conducive to
hourly rainfall rate indicated in Figure 1611.1 or on other retaining water. While the objective of providing roof
rainfall rates determined from approved local weather data. drainage is typically to prevent the accumulation of
water, the code also recognizes controlled drainage
R = 5.2(ds + dh) (Equation 16-36) systems that are engineered to retain rainwater (see
For SI: R = 0.0098(ds + dh) Section 1611.3). The important point is that wherever
where: the potential exists for the accumulation of rainwater
on a roof, whether it is intentional or otherwise, the
dh = Additional depth of water on the undeflected roof roof must be designed for this load. Furthermore,
above the inlet of secondary drainage system at its Section 1101.7 of the IPC requires the maximum
design flow (i.e., the hydraulic head), in inches (mm). depth of water to be determined, assuming all pri-
ds = Depth of water on the undeflected roof up to the inlet mary roof drainage to be blocked. The water will rise
of secondary drainage system when the primary above the primary roof drain until it reaches the ele-
drainage system is blocked (i.e., the static head), in vation of the roof edge, scuppers or another service-
inches (mm). able drain. At the design rainfall intensity, this depth
will be based on the flow rate of the secondary drain-
R = Rain load on the undeflected roof, in psf (kN/m2).
age system. This depth, referred to as the hydraulic
When the phrase “undeflected roof” is used,
head, can be determined from Commentary Figure
deflections from loads (including dead loads) shall not
1611.1(2) for various types of drains and flow rates.
be considered when determining the amount of rain on
Its use is illustrated in the example on page 16-59.
the roof.
Section 1108 of the IPC specifically requires a sec-
 The nominal rain load, R, is determined in accor- ondary roof drainage system where the building con-
dance with this section. It represents the weight of struction extends above the roof at the perimeter.
accumulated rainwater, assuming a blockage of the This applies to parapet walls, stepped buildings or
primary roof drainage system. The design of the roof any other construction that would allow rainwater to
drainage systems must be in accordance with Chap- pond on the roof. The sizing of a secondary drainage
ter 11 of the International Plumbing Code® (IPC®). system is identical to the process used for the pri-
The primary roof drainage system can include roof mary system. Instead of using a “piped” secondary
drains, leaders, conductors and horizontal storm system, designers may prefer to install scuppers to
drains within the structure. Drainage system design is allow rainwater to overflow the roof. Examples of both
based on a specified design rainfall intensity, as well types of secondary systems are shown in Commen-
as the roof area it drains. The criteria for sizing the tary Figure 1611.1(3). Also note that the IPC requires
components of the drainage system are provided in a secondary system to be completely separate and to
Section 1106 of the IPC. Where the building is config- discharge above grade. Since the secondary system

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Figure 1611.1(1)
SECONDARY ROOF DRAINAGE NOT REQUIRED

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Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 16-57
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

serves as an emergency backup, requiring it to dis- of roof drainage becomes blocked. Blockages are
charge above grade provides a means of signaling typically caused by debris at the inlet to the primary
that there is a blockage of the primary drainage sys- roof drains, but they can occur anywhere along the
tem. primary piping system, such as an under-slab pipe
Some roof failures have been attributed to the collapse. Computation of rain load, R, is in accor-
increased loads from ponding water. This section dance with Equation 16-36. The coefficient of that
requires the roof to be capable of resisting the maxi- equation is merely the conversion of the unit weight
mum water depth that can occur if the primary means of water to an equivalent unit load per inch of water

FLOW RATE (gpm)


Depth of water above drain inlet (hydraulic head)
DRAINAGE SYSTEM
(inches)
1 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 5 7 8

4-inch-diameter drain 80 170 180


6-inch-diameter drain 100 190 270 380 540
8-inch-diameter drain 125 230 340 560 850 1,100 1,170
6-inch-wide, open-top scupper 18 50 * 90 * 140 ** 194 321 393
24-inch-wide, open-top scupper 72 200 * 360 * 560 * 776 1,284 1,572
6-inch-wide, 4-inch-high, closed-top scupper 18 50 * 90 * 140 * 177 231 253
24-inch-wide, 4-inch-high, closed-top scupper 72 200 * 360 * 560 * 708 924 1,012
6-inch-wide, 6-inch-high, closed-top scupper 18 50 * 90 * 140 * 194 303 343
24-inch-wide, 6-inch-high, closed-top scupper 72 200 * 360 * 560 * 776 1,212 1,372
For SI: 1 inch = 25.4 mm, 1 gallon per minute = 3.785 L/m.
Source: Factory Mutual Engineering Corp. Loss Prevention Data 1-54.

Figure 1611.1(2)
FLOW RATE, IN GALLONS PER MINUTE, OF VARIOUS ROOF DRAINS AT
VARIOUS WATER DEPTHS AT DRAIN INLETS (INCHES)
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Figure 1611.1(3)
SEPARATE PRIMARY AND SECONDARY ROOF DRAINS

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STRUCTURAL DESIGN

depth as Commentary Figure 1611.1(4) illustrates. Determine:


Two variables are considered to determine rain load:
the depth of the water on the undeflected roof, as Hydraulic head, dh
measured from the low point elevation to the inlet ele- Rain load, R
vation of the secondary drain; and the additional
depth of water at the secondary drainage flow, Calculate required flow rate, Q, at scupper in gallons
respectively referred to as static head and hydraulic per minute (gpm).
head. The sum of these depths is the design depth Q = A × i = 5,400 square feet (502 m2) ×
for computing rain load, R, as indicated in Equation 0.2083 feet/hour
16-36. An example of the computation of rain load is
= 1125 cubic feet/hour (31.9 m3/hr)
provided in the following example [also see Commen-
tary Figure 1611.1(5)]. = 18.75 cubic feet/minute (0.531 m3/min)
= 140.25 gpm (531 L/m)
EXAMPLE
Rain Load on Roof with Overflow Scuppers Look up hydraulic head using Table 1611.1(2).
Given: For 6 inches wide, 6 inches (152 mm) high scupper,
find 140 gpm. (530 L/m)
Primary roof drain and overflow scupper shown in
Commentary Figure 1611.1(5). dh = 4 inches (102 mm)
Static head, ds = 7 inches (178 mm) Determine rain load, R
2
Tributary area, A = 5,400 square feet (502 m ) Total head = (ds + dh) = 11 inches (279 mm)
Rainfall rate, i = 2.5 inches/hour R = 5.2 (ds + dh)
= 0.208333 feet/hour R = 57.2 psf (2.74 kN/m2)
(0.0635 m/hr)

For SI: 1 inch = 25.4 mm, 1 foot = 304.8 mm,


1 cubic foot = 0.02832 m2, 1 pound = 0.454 kg,
1 pound per square foot = 47.88 Pa.
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Figure 1611.1(4)
EQUATION 16-36 COEFFICIENT

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Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 16-59
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

FIGURE 1611.1. See pages 16-61 through 16-65. ponding instability at susceptible bays (see definition
in Section 202). A ponding instability check is to be
 Including these IPC maps in the code provides the
made assuming the primary roof drains are blocked.
structural designer with design criteria that are essen-
The determination of ponding instability is typically
tial for determining the rain load. Figure 1611.1 con-
done by an iterative structural analysis where the
sists of five maps for various regions of the country.
incremental deflection is determined and the resulting
This figure provides the rainfall rates for a storm of 1-
increased rain load from the deflection is added to the
hour duration that has a 100-year return period. Rain-
original rain load.
fall rates indicate the maximum rate of rainfall within
the given period of time occurring at the stated fre- 1611.3 Controlled drainage. Roofs equipped with hardware
quency. For example, the map indicates a rainfall rate to control the rate of drainage shall be equipped with a sec-
of 2.1 inches (53 mm) per hour for Burlington, Ver- ondary drainage system at a higher elevation that limits accu-
mont. Thus, it is estimated that it will rain 2.1 inches mulation of water on the roof above that elevation. Such roofs
(53 mm) within 1 hour once every 100 years. The shall be designed to sustain the load of rainwater that will
rainfall rates are calculated by a statistical analysis of accumulate on them to the elevation of the secondary drain-
weather records. Because the statistics are based on age system plus the uniform load caused by water that rises
previous or historical weather conditions, it is possi- above the inlet of the secondary drainage system at its design
ble to have more than one 100-year storm in a much flow determined from Section 1611.1. Such roofs shall also
shorter time frame. The probability of this occurring, be checked for ponding instability in accordance with Section
however, is low. 1611.2.
1611.2 Ponding instability. Susceptible bays of roofs shall  Controlled drainage is the limitation of the drainage
be evaluated for ponding instability in accordance with Sec- flow rate to a rate that is less than the rainfall rate
tion 8.4 of ASCE 7. such that the depth of the water intentionally builds
up on the roof during a design rainfall. Controlled flow
 In roofs lacking sufficient framing stiffness, a condi-
roof drain systems must be designed in accordance
tion known as “ponding instability” can occur where
with Section 1110 of the IPC. A secondary roof drain
increasingly larger deflections caused by the contin-
system is needed to limit the buildup of water to a
ued accumulation of rainwater are large enough to
specific depth for roof design. The depth of water on
overload the structure and result in a roof collapse.
the roof is also to include the depth of the water
This must be countered by providing adequate stiff-
above the inlet of the secondary drain when the
ness in order to prevent increasingly larger deflec-
design flow rate is reached. Consideration of the
tions due to the buildup of rainwater. Another means
effect of the accumulated rainwater is identical to
to minimize the accumulation of rainwater is to cam-
assuming a blockage in the primary drainage system
ber the roof framing. This section requires a check for
as discussed under Section 1611.1.

For SI: 1 inch = 25.4 mm.


Figure 1611.1(5)
RAIN LOAD EXAMPLE

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[P] FIGURE 1611.1


100-YEAR, 1-HOUR RAINFALL (INCHES) WESTERN UNITED STATES
For SI: 1 inch = 25.4 mm.
Source: National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Washington, DC.

Copyright International2015 INTERNATIONAL


Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 16-61
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

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[P] FIGURE 1611.1—continued


100-YEAR, 1-HOUR RAINFALL (INCHES) CENTRAL UNITED STATES
For SI: 1 inch = 25.4 mm.
Source: National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Washington, DC.

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[P] FIGURE 1611.1—continued


100-YEAR, 1-HOUR RAINFALL (INCHES) EASTERN UNITED STATES
For SI: 1 inch = 25.4 mm.
Source: National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Washington, DC.

Copyright International2015 INTERNATIONAL


Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 16-63
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

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[P] FIGURE 1611.1—continued


100-YEAR, 1-HOUR RAINFALL (INCHES) ALASKA
For SI: 1 inch = 25.4 mm.
Source: National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Washington, DC.

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Copyright International2015
Code Council
BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY INTERNATIONAL
[P] FIGURE 1611.1—continued
100-YEAR, 1-HOUR RAINFALL (INCHES) HAWAII
For SI: 1 inch = 25.4 mm.
Source: National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Washington, DC.

16-65
STRUCTURAL DESIGN
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

SECTION 1612 New buildings and structures, and substantial


FLOOD LOADS improvements to existing buildings and structures,
1612.1 General. Within flood hazard areas as established in are to be designed and constructed to resist flood
Section 1612.3, all new construction of buildings, structures forces to minimize damage. Flood forces include flo-
and portions of buildings and structures, including substantial tation, lateral (hydrostatic) pressures, moving water
improvement and restoration of substantial damage to build- (hydrodynamic) pressures, wave impact and debris
ings and structures, shall be designed and constructed to resist impact. Flood-related hazards may include erosion
the effects of flood hazards and flood loads. For buildings and scour.

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that are located in more than one flood hazard area, the pro- Many states and communities have elected to reg-
visions associated with the most restrictive flood hazard area ulate floodplain development to a higher standard
shall apply. than the minimum required to participate in the NFIP.
Communities considering using the code and other
 This section addresses requirements for all buildings International Codes® to meet the floodplain manage-
and structures in flood hazard areas. These areas are ment requirements of the NFIP are advised to consult
commonly referred to as “floodplains” and are shown with their NFIP state coordinator or the appropriate
on a community’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) FEMA regional office. A number of flood provisions in
prepared by FEMA, or on another flood hazard map the International Codes® (in part, by reference to
adopted by the jurisdiction. Code users should be ASCE 24), are more stringent requirements and
aware that floods often affect areas outside the flood some are more specific than the minimum require-
hazard area boundaries shown on FIRMs and can ments specified in the NFIP regulations (see Flood
exceed the base flood elevation. Provisions of the International Code Series: Higher
Through the adoption of the code, communities Standards and More Specific Requirements than the
meet a significant portion of the floodplain manage- Minimum Requirements of the National Flood Insur-
ment regulation requirements necessary to partici- ance Program).
pate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). If located in flood hazard areas, buildings and
To participate in the NFIP, a jurisdiction must adopt structures that are damaged by any cause are to be
regulations that at least meet the requirements of fed- evaluated by the building official to determine if the
eral regulations in Section 60.3 of 44 CFR. This damage constitutes substantial damage, in which the
requirement can be satisfied by adopting the Interna- cost to repair or restore the building or structure to its
tional Building Code® (IBC®) (including Appendix G) predamaged condition equals or exceeds 50 percent
and the International Residential Code® (IRC®). The of its market value before the damage occurred. All
International Existing Building Code® (IEBC®) also substantial improvements and repairs of buildings
has provisions that are consistent with the NFIP and structures that are substantially damaged must
requirements for existing buildings. If Appendix G meet the flood-resistant provisions of the code. For
(Flood-resistant Construction) is not adopted, its pro- additional guidance, see FEMA P-758, Substantial
visions must be captured in a companion floodplain Improvement/Substantial Damage Desk Reference.
management ordinance adopted by the community. Some buildings are proposed to be located such
The NFIP requires communities to regulate all devel- that either they are in more than one flood zone or
opment in flood hazard areas. Section 201.2 of only a portion of the building is in a flood zone. Where
Appendix G defines “Development” as “any man- this occurs, the entire building or structure is required
made change to improved or unimproved real estate, to be designed and constructed according to the
including but not limited to buildings or other struc- requirements of the more restrictive flood zone. For
tures; temporary or permanent storage of materials; example, if a building is partially in a coastal high-
mining; dredging; filling; grading; paving; excava- hazard area (V zone), then the entire building must
tions; operations and other land-disturbing activities.” meet the requirements for that area. Similarly, if a
For additional guidance on how to use the I-Codes to building is partially in a flood hazard area and partially
participate in the NFIP, see Reducing Flood Losses out of the mapped flood hazard area, then the entire
through the International Codes: Coordinating Build- building must be designed and constructed in accor-
ing Codes and Floodplain Management Regulations. dance with the flood-resistant provisions of the code.
The NFIP was established to reduce flood losses,
1612.2 Definitions. The following terms are defined in Chap-
to better indemnify individuals from flood losses and
ter 2:
to reduce federal expenditures for disaster assis-
tance. A community that has been determined to BASE FLOOD.
have flood hazard areas elects to participate in the BASE FLOOD ELEVATION.
NFIP to protect health, safety and property, so that its
citizens can purchase federally backed flood insur- BASEMENT.
ance. FEMA administers the NFIP, which includes COASTAL A ZONE.
monitoring community compliance with the flood plain COASTAL HIGH-HAZARD AREA.
management requirements of the NFIP.

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STRUCTURAL DESIGN

DESIGN FLOOD. policy may require adoption of the paper map as the
DESIGN FLOOD ELEVATION. official record.
When maps are revised and flood hazard areas,
DRY FLOODPROOFING. base flood elevations and flood zones are changed,
EXISTING STRUCTURE. FEMA involves the community and provides a formal
opportunity to review the documents. Once the revi-
FLOOD or FLOODING.
sions are finalized, FEMA requires the community to
FLOOD DAMAGE-RESISTANT MATERIALS. adopt the revised maps. Communities may be able to
FLOOD HAZARD AREA. minimize having to adopt each revision by referenc-
ing the date of the current effective map and study
FLOOD INSURANCE RATE MAP (FIRM). and “any revisions thereto.” This is a method by
FLOOD INSURANCE STUDY. which subsequent revisions to flood maps and stud-
FLOODWAY. ies may be automatically adopted administratively
without requiring legislative action on the part of the
LOWEST FLOOR. community. Communities will need to determine
SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD AREA. whether this “adoption by reference” approach is
START OF CONSTRUCTION. allowed under their state’s enabling authority and due
process requirements. If not allowed, communities
SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGE. are to follow their state’s requirements, which typi-
SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT. cally require public notices, hearings and specific
adoption of revised maps by the community’s legisla-
 Definitions facilitate the understanding of code provi- tive body.
sions and minimize potential confusion. To that end,
this section lists definitions of terms associated with 1612.3.1 Design flood elevations. Where design flood eleva-
flood requirements. Note that these definitions are tions are not included in the flood hazard areas established in
found in Chapter 2. The use and application of Section 1612.3, or where floodways are not designated, the
defined terms, as well as undefined terms, are set building official is authorized to require the applicant to:
forth in Section 201. 1. Obtain and reasonably utilize any design flood eleva-
1612.3 Establishment of flood hazard areas. To establish tion and floodway data available from a federal, state or
flood hazard areas, the applicable governing authority shall other source; or
adopt a flood hazard map and supporting data. The flood haz- 2. Determine the design flood elevation and/or floodway
ard map shall include, at a minimum, areas of special flood in accordance with accepted hydrologic and hydraulic
hazard as identified by the Federal Emergency Management engineering practices used to define special flood haz-

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Agency in an engineering report entitled “The Flood Insur- ard areas. Determinations shall be undertaken by a reg-
ance Study for [INSERT NAME OF JURISDICTION],” dated istered design professional who shall document that the
[INSERT DATE OF ISSUANCE], as amended or revised with the technical methods used reflect currently accepted engi-
accompanying Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) and Flood neering practice.
Boundary and Floodway Map (FBFM) and related supporting
data along with any revisions thereto. The adopted flood haz-  The purpose of this provision is to clarify how design
ard map and supporting data are hereby adopted by reference flood elevations are to be determined for those flood
and declared to be part of this section. hazard areas that do not have the flood elevation
already specified. Section 107.2 requires that the
 Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and studies are construction documents submitted are to be accom-
prepared by FEMA and are to be used as a commu- panied by a site plan, which must show flood hazard
nity’s official map, unless the community chooses to areas, floodways, and design flood elevations, as
adopt a map that shows more extensive flood hazard applicable. While flood elevations are often available,
areas. Most communities have multiple flood map a large percentage of areas that are mapped by
panels, all of which may be listed in the adopting ordi- FEMA do not have base flood elevations or do not
nance by panel number and date so that the appro- have floodway designations. This section clarifies the
priate effective map is used. authority of the building official to require use of other
From time to time, FEMA may revise and republish data, which may be obtained from other sources, or
FIRMs and studies. New FIRMs and revised FIRMs to require the applicant to develop flood hazard data.
are produced in digital format. Affected communities This section is based on the NFIP regulation in 44
also receive paper maps to support legal adoption of CFR §60.3(b)(4).
the maps and supporting data. Communities that pre- 1612.3.2 Determination of impacts. In riverine flood hazard
fer to cite the digital data should obtain a legal opinion areas where design flood elevations are specified but flood-
as to whether doing so is acceptable. Federal law ways have not been designated, the applicant shall provide a
and FEMA policy allow use of the paper or digital floodway analysis that demonstrates that the proposed work
maps. However, in some cases, state or local law or will not increase the design flood elevation more than 1 foot

Copyright International2015 INTERNATIONAL


Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 16-67
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

(305 mm) at any point within the jurisdiction of the applica- 1612.5 Flood hazard documentation. The following docu-
ble governing authority. mentation shall be prepared and sealed by a registered design
professional and submitted to the building official:
 This section requires a floodway analysis to deter-
mine impacts. Development in riverine floodplains 1. For construction in flood hazard areas other than
can increase flood levels and loads on other proper- coastal high-hazard areas or coastal A zones:
ties, especially if it occurs in areas known as “flood- 1.1. The elevation of the lowest floor, including the
ways” that must be reserved to convey flood flows. basement, as required by the lowest floor eleva-
Commercial software for these analyses is readily tion inspection in Section 110.3.3 and for the
available and FEMA provides technical guidance at final inspection in Section 110.3.10.1.
http://www.fema.gov/software.
This section provides consistency with the NFIP, 1.2. For fully enclosed areas below the design flood
which requires applicants to demonstrate whether elevation where provisions to allow for the
their proposed work will increase flood levels in flood- automatic entry and exit of floodwaters do not
plains where the NFIP’s FIRM shows base flood ele- meet the minimum requirements in Section
vations, but floodways are not shown. A small 2.6.2.1 of ASCE 24, construction documents
percentage of riverine floodplains where FEMA has shall include a statement that the design will
specified base flood elevations do not have desig- provide for equalization of hydrostatic flood
nated floodways. forces in accordance with Section 2.6.2.2 of
ASCE 24.
1612.4 Design and construction. The design and construc-
tion of buildings and structures located in flood hazard areas, 1.3. For dry floodproofed nonresidential buildings,
including coastal high hazard areas and coastal A zones, construction documents shall include a state-
shall be in accordance with Chapter 5 of ASCE 7 and ASCE ment that the dry floodproofing is designed in
24. accordance with ASCE 24.
 FEMA uses multiple designations for flood hazard 2. For construction in coastal high-hazard areas and
areas shown on each FIRM, including A, AO, AH, A1- coastal A zones:
30, AE, A99, AR, AR/A1-30, AR/AE, AR/A0, AR/AH, 2.1. The elevation of the bottom of the lowest hori-
AR/A, VO or V1-30, VE and V. Along many open zontal structural member as required by the
coasts and lake shorelines where wind-driven waves lowest floor elevation inspection in Section
are predicted, the flood hazard area is commonly 110.3.3 and for the final inspection in Section
referred to as the “V zone.” Flood hazard areas that 110.3.10.1.
are inland of areas subject to high-velocity wave 2.2. Construction documents shall include a state-
action and flood hazard areas along rivers and ment that the building is designed in accordance
streams are commonly referred to as “A zones.” with ASCE 24, including that the pile or col-
Because of waves, the flood loads in coastal high- umn foundation and building or structure to be
hazard areas differ from those in other flood hazard attached thereto is designed to be anchored to
areas. Since 2009, FIRMs prepared for coastal com- resist flotation, collapse and lateral movement
munities show the “Limit of Moderate Wave Action,” due to the effects of wind and flood loads acting
which is the inland extent of the 1.5-foot (457 mm) simultaneously on all building components, and
wave height. In ASCE 7 and ASCE 24, as well as in other load requirements of Chapter 16.
common usage, the area between the V zone and the
Limit of Moderate Wave Action is called “Coastal A 2.3. For breakaway walls designed to have a resis-
Zone.” tance of more than 20 psf (0.96 kN/m2) deter-
ASCE 24 outlines in detail the specific require- mined using allowable stress design,
ments that are to be applied to buildings and struc- construction documents shall include a state-
tures in all flood hazard areas. Communities that ment that the breakaway wall is designed in
have AR zones and A99 zones shown on their FIRMs accordance with ASCE 24.
should consult with the appropriate state agency or  The NFIP requires certain documentation to be submit-
FEMA regional office for guidance on the require- ted by the applicant in order to demonstrate compliance
ments that apply. AR zones are areas that result from with provisions of the code that cannot be easily veri-
the decertification of a previously accredited flood fied during a site inspection. The most common,
protection system (such as a levee) that is deter- described in Items 1.1 and 2.1, is the documentation of
mined to be in the process of being restored to pro- elevations. Elevation is one of the most important
vide base flood protection. A99 zones are areas aspects of flood-resistant construction and is a signifi-
subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual-chance cant factor used to determine flood insurance premium
flood event, but which will ultimately be protected rates. FEMA Form 086-0-33, Elevation Certificate,
upon completion of an under-construction federal which includes illustrations and instructions, is recom-
flood protection system.

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mended (download from http://www.fema.gov/national- only for specific situations in which properly elevated
flood-insurance-program-2/elevation-certificate). buildings in coastal high-hazard areas and Coastal A
Building owners need elevation certificates to obtain Zones have enclosures beneath them, and then only if
NFIP flood insurance, and insurance agents use the the walls of the enclosures are designed to resist more
certificates to compute the proper flood insurance pre- than 20 psf (0.96 kN/m2) determined using ASD.
mium rates. Because breakaway walls will fail under flood condi-
The criteria for the minimum number and size of tions, building materials can become water-borne
flood openings to allow free inflow and outflow of flood- debris that may damage adjacent buildings. Refer to
waters under all types of flood conditions are set in FEMA TB #5, Free-of-Obstruction Requirements for
ASCE 24. The statement described in Item 1.2 is Buildings Located in Coastal High-Hazard Areas, and
required in the construction documents if the engi- FEMA TB #9, Design and Construction Guidance for
neered openings are used (see Section 2.7.2.2 of Breakaway Walls Below Elevated Buildings in Coastal
ASCE 24); this statement is not required if nonengi- High-Hazard Areas.
neered (prescriptive) openings meet the criteria of
Section 2.7.2.1 of ASCE 24. For further guidance, refer
to FEMA TB #1, Openings in Foundation Walls and SECTION 1613
Walls of Enclosures Below Elevated Buildings in Spe- EARTHQUAKE LOADS
cial Flood Hazard Areas. 1613.1 Scope. Every structure, and portion thereof, including
The statement described in Item 1.3 must be nonstructural components that are permanently attached to
included in the construction documents for nonresiden- structures and their supports and attachments, shall be
tial buildings that are designed to be dry floodproofed. designed and constructed to resist the effects of earthquake
It is important to note that dry floodproofing is allowed motions in accordance with ASCE 7, excluding Chapter 14
only for nonresidential buildings (and nonresidential and Appendix 11A. The seismic design category for a struc-
portions of mixed-use buildings) and only if those ture is permitted to be determined in accordance with Section
structures are not located in coastal high-hazard areas 1613 or ASCE 7.
and Coastal A Zones. The registered design profes-
sional who seals the construction documents is indi- Exceptions:
cating that, based on development or review of the 1. Detached one- and two-family dwellings, assigned
structural design, specifications and plans for con- to Seismic Design Category A, B or C, or located
struction, the design and methods of construction are where the mapped short-period spectral response
in accordance with accepted standards of practice in acceleration, SS, is less than 0.4 g.
ASCE 24 to meet the following provisions: 1. The 2. The seismic force-resisting system of wood-frame
structure, together with attendant utilities and sanitary buildings that conform to the provisions of Section
facilities, is water tight to the floodproofed design ele- 2308 are not required to be analyzed as specified in
vation indicated with walls that are substantially imper- this section.
meable to the passage of water; and 2. All structural
components are capable of resisting hydrostatic and 3. Agricultural storage structures intended only for
hydrodynamic flood forces, including the effects of incidental human occupancy.
buoyancy and anticipated debris impact forces. The 4. Structures that require special consideration of their
use of FEMA Form 086-0-34, Floodproofing Certifi- response characteristics and environment that are
cate, is recommended (download from http:// not addressed by this code or ASCE 7 and for which
www.fema.gov/floodplain-management/floodproofing- other regulations provide seismic criteria, such as
certificate). This certificate is used by insurance agents vehicular bridges, electrical transmission towers,
to determine NFIP flood insurance premium rates for hydraulic structures, buried utility lines and their
dry floodproofed nonresidential buildings. Insurance appurtenances and nuclear reactors.
rates are higher for buildings that use dry floodproofing
measures that require human intervention. For further  These code provisions provide the requirements
guidance, refer to FEMA TB #3, Nonresidential Flood- essential to determining a building’s seismic design
proofing—Requirements and Certification for Buildings category. The balance of the earthquake load provi-
Located in Special Flood Hazard Areas. sions are contained in the ASCE 7 load standard.
The statement described in Item 2.2 is included in The chapters that are noted as excluded from the
the construction documents to indicate that the design ASCE 7 referenced standard are those that can cre-
meets the flood load provisions of ASCE 24 and other ate conflicts with Chapters 17 through 23. The bal-
loads required by this chapter. Buildings located in ance of ASCE 7 earthquake load provisions are as
follows:
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coastal high-hazard areas and Coastal A Zones are


expected to experience significant flood and wind Chapter Subject
loads simultaneously. FEMA and coastal communities
report significant damage to buildings that are not built 11 Seismic Design Criteria
to current code. 12 Seismic Design Requirements for Building
The documentation described in Item 2.3 is used Structures

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13 Seismic Design Requirements for Ss, less than 0.4g. The latter condition is derived from
Nonstructural Components the ASCE 7 seismic provisions. Since it is based
15 Seismic Design Requirements for Non- solely on the mapped value for short periods, it may
building Structures allow structures to qualify more directly for this excep-
tion than will the first condition. In other words, the
16 Seismic Response History Procedures value of Ss should be checked first. If the structure
17 Seismic Design Requirements for Seismically qualifies based on Ss, then it is not necessary to
Isolated Structures check the seismic design category.
18 Seismic Design Requirements for Structures Exception 2 exempts conventional light-frame
with Damping Systems wood construction from the seismic requirements in
this chapter. It should be noted that the limitations for
19 Soil Structure Interaction for Seismic Design
conventional light-frame wood construction are
20 Site Classification Procedure for Seismic included in Section 2308.2. There is no limitation on
Design the use of the structure, except that Risk Category IV
21 Site-specific Ground Motion Procedures for structures are not permitted to be constructed using
Seismic Design conventional light-frame wood construction provi-
sions. Similarly, irregular portions of Seismic Design
22 Seismic Ground Motion and Long-Period
Transition Maps Category D and E structures are very limited when
using conventional light-frame wood construction
23 Seismic Design Reference Documents (see commentary, Sections 2308.6.8.1 and
These seismic requirements are based, for the 2308.6.8.2). The conventional light-frame wood con-
most part, on the NEHRP Recommended Provisions struction provisions are deemed to provide equivalent
for Seismic Regulations for New Buildings and Other seismic resistance as compared to construction
Structures. A new set of NEHRP recommended pro- designed in accordance with the requirements of this
visions has been prepared by the BSSC approxi- chapter based on the history of such conventional
mately every three years since the first edition in construction.
1985. The code uses the NEHRP recommended pro- In Exception 3, agricultural buildings are exempt
visions as the technical basis for seismic design because they present a minimal life-safety hazard
requirements because of the nationwide input into the due to the low probability of human occupancy.
development of these design criteria. The NEHRP Exception 4 corresponds to an ASCE 7 exception
recommended provisions present up-to-date criteria regarding structures that are covered under other
for the design and construction of buildings subject to regulations, making it unnecessary to comply with the
earthquake ground motions that are applicable any- earthquake load requirements of the code.
where in the nation. The requirements are intended to 1613.2 Definitions. The following terms are defined in Chap-
minimize the hazard to life for all buildings, increase ter 2:
the expected performance of higher-occupancy build-
ings as compared to ordinary buildings, and improve  Definitions facilitate the understanding of code provi-
the capability of essential facilities to function during sions and minimize potential confusion. To that end,
and after an earthquake. These minimum criteria are this section lists definitions of terms associated with
considered to be prudent and economically justified earthquake loads. Note that these definitions are
for the protection of life safety in buildings subject to found in Chapter 2. The use and application of
earthquakes. Achieving the intended performance defined terms, as well as undefined terms, are set
depends on a number of factors, including the type of forth in Section 201.
structural framing, configuration, construction materi- DESIGN EARTHQUAKE GROUND MOTION.
als and as-built details of construction. ORTHOGONAL.
Detailed descriptions of changes made for the
2009 NEHRP Recommended Provisions for Seismic RISK-TARGETED MAXIMUM CONSIDERED
Regulations for New Building and Other Structures EARTHQUAKE (MCER) GROUND MOTION
are available at www.bssconline.org under the expla- RESPONSE ACCELERATION.
nation of changes made for the 2009 edition of the SEISMIC DESIGN CATEGORY.
Provisions. SEISMIC FORCE-RESISTING SYSTEM.
There are four exceptions to the seismic design
requirements included in this section. The following SITE CLASS.
discussion addresses each of the exceptions. SITE COEFFICIENTS.
Exception 1 exempts detached one- and two-family
1613.3 Seismic ground motion values. Seismic ground
dwellings under two conditions. The first applies to
motion values shall be determined in accordance with this
structures assigned to Seismic Design Category A, B
or C (meaning that both SDS < 0.5g and SDI < 0.2g). section.
The second is for structures having a value for  The design earthquake ground motion levels deter-
mapped short-period spectral response acceleration, mined in this section may result in damage, both

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structural and nonstructural, from the high stresses adopted for the 2009 NEHRP Recommended Seis-
that occur because of the dynamic nature of seismic mic Provisions for New Buildings and Other Struc-
events. For most structures, damage from the design tures (FEMA P-750). In the NEHRP update process,
earthquake ground motion would be repairable, but the title for these maps was revised from “Maximum
might be so costly as to make it economically unde- Considered Earthquake (MCE) Ground Motions” to
sirable. For essential facilities, it is expected that “Risk-Targeted Earthquake (RTE) Ground Motions.”
damage from the design earthquake ground motion The seismic hazard maps incorporate new informa-
would not be so severe as to prevent continued occu- tion on earthquake sources and ground motion pre-
pancy and function of the facility. For ground motions diction equations, including the new Next Generation
greater than the design levels, the intent is that there Attenuation (NGA) relations. The ground motion
be a low likelihood of structural collapse. maps further incorporate technical changes that
1613.3.1 Mapped acceleration parameters. The parameters reflect the use of: 1. Risk-targeted ground motions; 2.
SS and S1 shall be determined from the 0.2 and 1-second spec- Maximum direction ground motions; and 3. Near-
tral response accelerations shown on Figures 1613.3.1(1) source 84th percentile ground motions.
through 1613.3.1(8). Where S1 is less than or equal to 0.04 Precise design values can be obtained from a
and SS is less than or equal to 0.15, the structure is permitted USGS web site (http://earthquake.usgs.gov/research/
to be assigned Seismic Design Category A. hazmaps/design/index.php) using the longitude and
latitude of the building site, obtained from GPS map-
 The mapped maximum considered earthquake spec- ping programs or web sites.
tral response accelerations at 0.2-second period (Ss)
1613.3.2 Site class definitions. Based on the site soil proper-
and 1-second period (S1) for a particular site are to be
ties, the site shall be classified as Site Class A, B, C, D, E or F
determined from Figures 1613.3.1(1) through (8).
in accordance with Chapter 20 of ASCE 7.
Where a site is between contours, as would usually
be the case, straight-line interpolation or the value of Where the soil properties are not known in sufficient detail
the higher contour may be used. Areas that are con- to determine the site class, Site Class D shall be used unless
sidered to have a low seismic risk based solely on the the building official or geotechnical data determines Site
mapped ground motions are placed directly into Seis- Class E or F soils are present at the site.
mic Design Category A.  Each site is to be classified as one of six site classes
The mapped maximum considered earthquake (A through F), as defined in ASCE 7, based on one of
spectral response accelerations for a site may also three soil properties measured over the top 100 feet
be obtained using a seismic parameter program that (30 480 mm) of the site. If the top 100 feet (30 480
has been developed by the United States Geological mm) are not homogeneous, the ASCE 7 provisions
Survey (USGS) in cooperation with BSSC and address how to determine average properties. Site
FEMA. This program is available on the USGS earth- Class A is hard rock typically found in the eastern
quake hazards web site. The data are interpolated for United States. Site Class B is softer rock, typical of the
a specific latitude-longitude or zip code, which the western parts of the country. Site Class C, D or E indi-
user enters. Output for an entry uses the built-in data- cates progressively softer soils. From an earthquake-
base to interpolate for the specific site. Caution resistance perspective, rock is the best material for
should be used when using a zip code. In regions most structures to be founded on. Site Class F indi-
with highly variable mapped ground motions, the cates soil so poor that site-specific geotechnical inves-
design parameters within a zip code may vary consid- tigation and dynamic site-response analysis are
erably from the value at the centroid of the zip code needed to determine appropriate site coefficients.
area. The code/NEHRP maximum considered earth- The three soil properties forming the basis of site
quake (MCE) output for a site are the two spectral classification are: shear wave velocity, standard pene-
values required for design. The user may also use tration resistance or blow count (determined in accor-
the program to calculate an MCE response spectrum, dance with ASTM D1586), and undrained shear
with or without site coefficients. Site coefficients can strength (determined in accordance with ASTM
be calculated and included in calculations by simply D2166 or ASTM D2850). Site Class A and B designa-
selecting the site class; the program then calculates tions must be based on shear wave velocity measure-
the site coefficient. ments or estimates.
FIGURES 1613.3.1(1) through 1613.3.1(8). See pages 16- Where soil property measurements to a depth of
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72 through 16-81. 100 feet (30 480 mm) are not feasible, the registered
 These code figures provide the 5-percent damped design professional performing the geotechnical
spectral response accelerations at 0.2-second period investigation may estimate appropriate soil properties
(Ss), as well as at 1-second period (Si) for Site Class based on known geologic conditions.
When soil properties are not known in sufficient
B soil profiles. The code has incorporated updated
earthquake ground motion maps that reflect the 2008 detail to determine the site class, the default site class
is D, unless the building official determines that Site
maps developed by the USGS National Seismic Haz-
ard Mapping Project as well as technical changes Class E or F soil may exist at the site.

Copyright International2015 INTERNATIONAL


Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 16-71
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

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FIGURE 1613.3.1(1)
RISK-TARGETED MAXIMUM CONSIDERED EARTHQUAKE (MCER) GROUND MOTION RESPONSE
ACCELERATIONS FOR THE CONTERMINOUS UNITED STATES OF 0.2-SECOND SPECTRAL RESPONSE ACCELERATION
(5% OF CRITICAL DAMPING), SITE CLASS B

(continued)

16-72 Code Council


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FIGURE 1613.3.1(1)—continued
RISK-TARGETED MAXIMUM CONSIDERED EARTHQUAKE (MCER) GROUND MOTION RESPONSE
ACCELERATIONS FOR THE CONTERMINOUS UNITED STATES OF 0.2-SECOND SPECTRAL RESPONSE ACCELERATION
(5% OF CRITICAL DAMPING), SITE CLASS B

Copyright International2015 INTERNATIONAL


Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 16-73
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

FIGURE 1613.3.1(2)
RISK-TARGETED MAXIMUM CONSIDERED EARTHQUAKE (MCER) GROUND MOTION RESPONSE
ACCELERATIONS FOR THE CONTERMINOUS UNITED STATES OF 1-SECOND SPECTRAL RESPONSE ACCELERATION
(5% OF CRITICAL DAMPING), SITE CLASS B

(continued)
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FIGURE 1613.3.1(2)—continued
RISK-TARGETED MAXIMUM CONSIDERED EARTHQUAKE (MCER) GROUND MOTION RESPONSE
ACCELERATIONS FOR THE CONTERMINOUS UNITED STATES OF 1-SECOND SPECTRAL RESPONSE ACCELERATION
(5% OF CRITICAL DAMPING), SITE CLASS B
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Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 16-75
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

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FIGURE 1613.3.1(3)
RISK-TARGETED MAXIMUM CONSIDERED EARTHQUAKE (MCER) GROUND MOTION RESPONSE
ACCELERATIONS FOR HAWAII OF 0.2- AND 1-SECOND SPECTRAL RESPONSE ACCELERATION
(5% OF CRITICAL DAMPING), SITE CLASS B

16-76 Code Council


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Code Council
BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY INTERNATIONAL
FIGURE 1613.3.1(4)
RISK-TARGETED MAXIMUM CONSIDERED EARTHQUAKE (MCER) GROUND MOTION RESPONSE
ACCELERATIONS FOR ALASKA OF 0.2-SECOND SPECTRAL RESPONSE ACCELERATION
--`,`,,,,,,`,,,,`,````,`,,,,,``-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

16-77
(5% OF CRITICAL DAMPING), SITE CLASS B
STRUCTURAL DESIGN
Copyright International
16-78 Code Council
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

FIGURE 1613.3.1(5)
RISK-TARGETED MAXIMUM CONSIDERED EARTHQUAKE (MCER) GROUND MOTION RESPONSE
ACCELERATIONS FOR ALASKA OF 1.0-SECOND SPECTRAL RESPONSE ACCELERATION
(5% OF CRITICAL DAMPING), SITE CLASS B

2015 INTERNATIONAL BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY


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STRUCTURAL DESIGN

FIGURE 1613.3.1(6)
RISK-TARGETED MAXIMUM CONSIDERED EARTHQUAKE (MCER) GROUND MOTION RESPONSE ACCELERATIONS
FOR PUERTO RICO AND THE UNITED STATES VIRGIN ISLANDS OF 0.2- AND 1-SECOND SPECTRAL RESPONSE ACCELERATION
--`,`,,,,,,`,,,,`,````,`,,,,,``-`-`

(5% OF CRITICAL DAMPING), SITE CLASS B

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Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 16-79
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

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FIGURE 1613.3.1(7)
RISK-TARGETED MAXIMUM CONSIDERED EARTHQUAKE (MCER) GROUND MOTION RESPONSE ACCELERATIONS
FOR GUAM AND THE NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS OF 0.2- AND 1-SECOND SPECTRAL RESPONSE ACCELERATION
(5% OF CRITICAL DAMPING), SITE CLASS B

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FIGURE 1613.3.1(8)
RISK-TARGETED MAXIMUM CONSIDERED EARTHQUAKE (MCER) GROUND MOTION RESPONSE ACCELERATIONS FOR
AMERICAN SAMOA OF 0.2- AND 1-SECOND SPECTRAL RESPONSE ACCELERATION (5% OF CRITICAL DAMPING), SITE CLASS B

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®
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STRUCTURAL DESIGN

1613.3.3 Site coefficients and adjusted maximum consid- caused by the stiffer soils. For Site Classes C through
ered earthquake spectral response acceleration parame- E, both site coefficients, with the exception of Fa for
ters. The maximum considered earthquake spectral response Site Class E where Ss  1.00, are larger than 1, indi-
acceleration for short periods, SMS, and at 1-second period, cating amplification of benchmark Site Class B
SM1, adjusted for site class effects shall be determined by ground motion on softer soils. For the same site
Equations 16-37 and 16-38, respectively: class, each site coefficient is typically larger in areas
SMS = FaSs (Equation 16-37) of low seismicity than in areas of high seismicity. The
basis of this lies in observations that low-magnitude
SM1 = Fv S1 (Equation 16-38) subsurface rock motion is amplified to a larger extent
where: by overlying softer soils than is high-magnitude rock
motion. The site coefficients typically become larger
Fa = Site coefficient defined in Table 1613.3.3(1). for progressively softer soils. The only exception is
Fv = Site coefficient defined in Table 1613.3.3(2). provided by the short-period site coefficient in areas
SS = The mapped spectral accelerations for short periods as of high seismicity (Ss > 0.75), which remain
determined in Section 1613.3.1. unchanged or even decrease as the site class
changes from D to E. The basis for this also lies in
S1 = The mapped spectral accelerations for a 1-second observations that very soft soils are not capable of
period as determined in Section 1613.3.1. amplifying the short-period components of subsur-
 Table 1613.3.3(1) defines an acceleration-related or face rock motion. Deamplification, in fact, takes place
short-period site coefficient, Fa, as a function of site when the subsurface rock motion is high in magni-
class and the mapped spectral response acceleration tude.
at 0.2-second period, Ss. Table 1613.3.3(2) similarly TABLE 1613.3.3(1). See below.
defines a velocity-related or long-period site coeffi-
cient, Fv, as a function of site class and the mapped  Fa, the acceleration-related or short-period site coeffi-
spectral response acceleration at 1-second period, cient, is defined in this table as a function of site class
S1. The acceleration-related or short-period site coef- and the seismicity at the site in the form of the
ficient, Fa times Ss, is SMS, the 5-percent damped soil- mapped spectral response acceleration at 0.2-sec-
modified maximum considered earthquake spectral ond period, Ss.
response acceleration at short periods. The velocity- TABLE 1613.3.3(2). See page 16-83.
related or long-period site coefficient, Fv times S1, is  Fv, the velocity-related or long-period site coefficient,
SM1, the 5-percent damped soil-modified maximum is defined in this table as a function of site class and
considered earthquake spectral response accelera- the seismicity at the site in the form of the mapped
tion at 1-second period. Such modification by site spectral response acceleration at 1-second period,
coefficients is necessary because the mapped quan- S1.
tities are for Site Class B soils. Softer soils (Site
Classes C through E) would typically amplify, and 1613.3.4 Design spectral response acceleration parame-
stiffer soils (Site Class A) would deamplify ground ters. Five-percent damped design spectral response accelera-
motion referenced to Site Class B. tion at short periods, SDS, and at 1-second period, SD1, shall be
As one would expect, both the short-period site determined from Equations 16-39 and 16-40, respectively:
coefficient, Fa, and the long-period site coefficient, Fv, 2
are equal to unity for the benchmark Site Class B, S DS = --- S MS (Equation 16-39)
3
irrespective of seismicity of the site. For Site Class A,
both coefficients are smaller than unity, indicating 2
S D1 = --- S M1 (Equation 16-40)
reduction of benchmark Site Class B ground motion 3

TABLE 1613.3.3(1)
VALUES OF SITE COEFFICIENT Fa a
MAPPED SPECTRAL RESPONSE ACCELERATION AT SHORT PERIOD
SITE CLASS
Ss  0.25 Ss = 0.50 Ss = 0.75 Ss = 1.00 Ss 1.25
A 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8
B 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0
C 1.2 1.2 1.1 1.0 1.0
D 1.6 1.4 1.2 1.1 1.0
E 2.5 1.7 1.2 0.9 0.9
F Note b Note b Note b Note b Note b
a. Use straight-line interpolation for intermediate values of mapped spectral response acceleration at short period, Ss.
b. Values shall be determined in accordance with Section 11.4.7 of ASCE 7.
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where: response accelerations, but also the site soil profile


SMS = The maximum considered earthquake spectral and the nature of the structure’s risk category (see
response accelerations for short period as determined the step-by-step description of this process under the
in Section 1613.3.3. definition of “Seismic design category”). It is impor-
tant to note that there are two tables that are used in
SM1 = The maximum considered earthquake spectral order to establish the most restrictive seismic design
response accelerations for 1-second period as category classification.
determined in Section 1613.3.3. There are two conditions that allow the seismic
 The design spectral response acceleration at 0.2-sec- design category to be determined based upon
ond period, SDS, is two-thirds of the SMS value calcu- mapped spectral accelerations, making it unneces-
lated in accordance with Section 1613.3.3. The sary to go through the process described above. The
design spectral response acceleration at 1-second first is Section 1613.3.1, which identifies areas that
period, SD1, is two-thirds of the SM1 value calculated in have a low seismic risk and are classified as Seismic
accordance with Section 1613.3.3 and the reciprocal Design Category A without the need to go through
of two-thirds is 1.5. Thus, the design ground motion is the usual steps. The second instance is an area that
the soil-modified maximum considered earthquake is close to a major active fault where S1 is greater
ground motion divided by 1.5. This is in recognition of than or equal to 0.75g. These areas are deemed to
the inherent margin contained in the NEHRP provi- be areas of considerable seismic risk, and the seis-
sions that would make collapse unlikely under 1.5 mic design category is classified as E or F depending
times the design-level ground motion. The idea is to on the structure’s risk category.
avoid collapse when a structure is subjected to the The seismic design category classification is a key
soil-modified maximum considered earthquake criterion in using and understanding the seismic
ground motion. requirements because the analysis method, general
design, structural material detailing and the struc-
1613.3.5 Determination of seismic design category. Struc-
ture’s component and system design requirements
tures classified as Risk Category I, II or III that are located
are determined, at least in part, by the seismic design
where the mapped spectral response acceleration parameter at
category. Some of the special inspection require-
1-second period, S1, is greater than or equal to 0.75 shall be
ments in Section 1705.12 and structural observation
assigned to Seismic Design Category E. Structures classified
requirements in Section 1704.6 are dependent on the
as Risk Category IV that are located where the mapped spec-
seismic design category classification, as well.
tral response acceleration parameter at 1-second period, S1, is
greater than or equal to 0.75 shall be assigned to Seismic TABLE 1613.3.5(1). See page 16-84.
Design Category F. All other structures shall be assigned to a  This table defines seismic design category as a function
seismic design category based on their risk category and the of risk category and the short-period (0.2 second) spec-
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design spectral response acceleration parameters, SDS and SD1, tral response acceleration at the site of a structure. As
determined in accordance with Section 1613.3.4 or the site- the value of SDS increases, the structure is assigned a
specific procedures of ASCE 7. Each building and structure higher seismic design category and the earthquake
shall be assigned to the more severe seismic design category design requirements become more stringent.
in accordance with Table 1613.3.5(1) or 1613.3.5(2), irre-
spective of the fundamental period of vibration of the struc- TABLE 1613.3.5(2). See page 16-84.
ture, T.  This table defines seismic design category as a function
 The seismic design category classification provides a of risk category and the long-period (1-second) spectral
relative scale of earthquake risk to structures. The response acceleration at the site of a structure. As the
seismic design category considers not only the seis- value of SM1 increases, the structure is assigned a
micity of the site in terms of the mapped spectral higher seismic design category and the earthquake
design requirements become more stringent.

TABLE 1613.3.3(2)
VALUES OF SITE COEFFICIENT FV a
MAPPED SPECTRAL RESPONSE ACCELERATION AT 1-SECOND PERIOD
SITE CLASS
S1  0.1 S1 = 0.2 S1 = 0.3 S1 = 0.4 S1  0.5
A 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8
B 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0
C 1.7 1.6 1.5 1.4 1.3
D 2.4 2.0 1.8 1.6 1.5
E 3.5 3.2 2.8 2.4 2.4
F Note b Note b Note b Note b Note b
a. Use straight-line interpolation for intermediate values of mapped spectral response acceleration at 1-second period, S1.
b. Values shall be determined in accordance with Section 11.4.7 of ASCE 7.

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1613.3.5.1 Alternative seismic design category determina- stand-alone version of a simplified earthquake analy-
tion. Where S1 is less than 0.75, the seismic design category sis for simple bearing wall or building frame systems
is permitted to be determined from Table 1613.3.5(1) alone that comply with the 12 limitations listed in Section
when all of the following apply: 12.14.1.1 of ASCE 7. For structures that qualify to
1. In each of the two orthogonal directions, the approxi- use this method of analysis, the simplified procedure
mate fundamental period of the structure, Ta, in each of permits the determination of the seismic design cate-
the two orthogonal directions determined in accordance gory to be based solely on the short-period design
with Section 12.8.2.1 of ASCE 7, is less than 0.8 Ts spectral coefficient, SDS.
determined in accordance with Section 11.4.5 of ASCE 1613.4 Alternatives to ASCE 7. The provisions of Section
7. 1613.4 shall be permitted as alternatives to the relevant provi-
sions of ASCE 7.
2. In each of the two orthogonal directions, the fundamen-
tal period of the structure used to calculate the story  This section is intended to provide permitted alterna-
drift is less than Ts. tives to the corresponding ASCE 7 requirements. As
3. Equation 12.8-2 of ASCE 7 is used to determine the such, they should be viewed as options that are avail-
seismic response coefficient, Cs. able to the design professional in demonstrating com-
pliance with the earthquake provisions.
4. The diaphragms are rigid or are permitted to be ideal-
1613.4.1 Additional seismic force-resisting systems for
ized as rigid in accordance with Section 12.3.1 of
seismically isolated structures. Add the following exception
ASCE 7 or, for diaphragms permitted to be idealized as
to the end of Section 17.5.4.2 of ASCE 7:
flexible in accordance with Section 12.3.1 of ASCE 7,
the distances between vertical elements of the seismic Exception: For isolated structures designed in accordance
force-resisting system do not exceed 40 feet (12 192 with this standard, the structural system limitations includ-
mm). ing structural height limits, in Table 12.2-1 for ordinary
steel concentrically braced frames (OCBFs) as defined in
 This section permits the seismic design category of
Chapter 11 and ordinary moment frames (OMFs) as
short-period structures meeting the four listed condi- defined in Chapter 11 are permitted to be taken as 160 feet
tions to be based solely on the short-period design
(48 768 mm) for structures assigned to Seismic Design
spectral coefficient, SDS. This is similar to the Category D, E or F, provided that the following conditions
approach taken in mapping seismic design catego-
are satisfied:
ries for use in the IRC, as well as for the simplified
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earthquake analysis procedure. 1. The value of RI as defined in Chapter 17 is taken as


1.
1613.3.5.2 Simplified design procedure. Where the alter-
nate simplified design procedure of ASCE 7 is used, the seis- 2. For OMFs and OCBFs, design is in accordance with
mic design category shall be determined in accordance with AISC 341.
ASCE 7.  The ASCE 7 provisions include requirements for
 A simplified earthquake procedure was first intro- structures that utilize seismic base isolation. It is
duced under the 1997 UBC and continued, with minor worth noting that use of seismic isolation is never
changes, through the first two editions of the code. required by the code. This method is an optional
The 2005 edition of ASCE 7 introduced the first method of design for earthquake loading that has

TABLE 1613.3.5(1)
SEISMIC DESIGN CATEGORY BASED ON SHORT-PERIOD (0.2 second) RESPONSE ACCELERATION
RISK CATEGORY
VALUE OF SDS
I or II III IV

SDS < 0.167g A A A


0.167g  SDS < 0.33g B B C
0.33g  SDS < 0.50g C C D
0.50g  SDS D D D

TABLE 1613.3.5(2)
SEISMIC DESIGN CATEGORY BASED ON 1-SECOND PERIOD RESPONSE ACCELERATION
RISK CATEGORY
VALUE OF SD1
I or II III IV
SD1 < 0.067g A A A
0.067g  SD1 < 0.133g B B C
0.133g  SD1 < 0.20g C C D
0.20g  SD1 D D D

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been recognized under legacy model codes, such as vertical forces as required by Section 1605, using a coeffi-
the UBC. The modification adds an exception to the cient of friction determined by acceptable engineering princi-
ASCE 7 requirements for structural systems above ples. In structures assigned to Seismic Design Category C, D,
the isolation system. It corrects an oversight that E or F, ballasted nonpenetrating systems shall be designed to
unnecessarily changes prior practice by restricting accommodate seismic displacement determined by nonlinear
the use of certain seismic force-resisting systems that response-history analysis or shake-table testing, using input
have been used successfully. As modified, it would motions consistent with ASCE 7 lateral and vertical seismic
allow ordinary concentric-braced frames and ordinary forces for nonstructural components on roofs.
moment frame systems with heights up to 160 feet  In general, nonstructural rooftop elements that have
(48 768 mm) when the stated conditions are met. significant mass or sail area are required to be posi-
1613.5 Amendments to ASCE 7. The provisions of Section tively anchored to competent structural elements.
1613.5 shall be permitted as an amendment to the relevant Photovoltaic panel systems that have sufficient
provisions of ASCE 7. weight to preclude sliding and uplift from wind need
 This section deals with specific amendments to not be positively anchored to resist seismic loads pro-
ASCE 7 seismic provisions. vided that the slope of the roof is low, and provided
that the systems are designed to accommodate the
1613.5.1 Transfer of anchorage forces into diaphragm. anticipated seismic displacement (i.e., sliding).
Modify ASCE 7 Section 12.11.2.2.1 as follows:

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12.11.2.2.1 Transfer of anchorage forces into diaphragm.
Diaphragms shall be provided with continuous ties or SECTION 1614
struts between diaphragm chords to distribute these ATMOSPHERIC ICE LOADS
anchorage forces into the diaphragms. Diaphragm connec- 1614.1 General. Ice-sensitive structures shall be designed for
tions shall be positive, mechanical or welded. Added atmospheric ice loads in accordance with Chapter 10 of
chords are permitted to be used to form subdiaphragms to ASCE 7.
transmit the anchorage forces to the main continuous
cross-ties. The maximum length-to-width ratio of a wood,  This section provides charging text in the code in
wood structural panel or untopped steel deck sheathed conjunction with technical provisions in ASCE 7 for
structural subdiaphragm that serves as part of the continu- computing atmospheric ice loads. Section 202 pro-
ous tie system shall be 2.5 to 1. Connections and anchor- vides a definition of and technical basis for identifying
ages capable of resisting the prescribed forces shall be ice-sensitive structures. Such an identification
provided between the diaphragm and the attached compo- prompts the need to comply with the applicable provi-
nents. Connections shall extend into the diaphragm a suffi- sions of ASCE 7.
cient distance to develop the force transferred into the
diaphragm.
SECTION 1615
 This section modifies ASCE 7 Section 12.11.2.2.1 by STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY
effectively adding “wood, wood structural panel or
1615.1 General. High-rise buildings that are assigned to Risk
untopped steel deck sheathed structural subdia-
Category III or IV shall comply with the requirements of this
phragm that serves as part of the continuous tie sys-
section. Frame structures shall comply with the requirements
tem” to the existing language in ASCE 7. This
of Section 1615.3. Bearing wall structures shall comply with
requirement originated in the 1997 UBC, where it was
the requirements of Section 1615.4.
added to address the relatively poor performance of
nailed wood-sheathed diaphragms observed in prior  The requirements in the codes and standards
earthquakes. When the IBC was developed, this limi- together with the common structural design and con-
tation was dropped, resulting in the aspect-ratio struction practices prevalent in the United States
restriction being applied to all diaphragm types, have provided the overwhelming majority of struc-
including concrete, composite deck with concrete fill, tures with adequate levels of reliability and safety.
and other diaphragm types where such a requirement Many buildings simply do not have integrity issues.
is not considered necessary for good performance. Low-rise buildings do not pose the same risk as high-
Although untopped steel decking was not included in rise buildings. The structural integrity provisions
the original UBC wording, it is included here because reflect this relative risk. By limiting this requirement to
of similarities in construction and perceived structural Risk Category III and IV buildings that are also high-
behavior. rise buildings, the provision does not affect buildings
1613.6 Ballasted photovoltaic panel systems. Ballasted, that are commonly built and do not exhibit integrity
roof-mounted photovoltaic panel systems need not be rigidly issues.
attached to the roof or supporting structure. Ballasted non- 1615.2 Definitions. The following words and terms are
penetrating systems shall be designed and installed only on defined in Chapter 2:
roofs with slopes not more than one unit vertical in 12 units  Definitions facilitate the understanding of code provi-
horizontal. Ballasted nonpenetrating systems shall be sions and minimize potential confusion. To that end,
designed to resist sliding and uplift resulting from lateral and this section lists definitions of terms associated with

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these provisions for structural integrity. Note that concrete elements shall conform to the requirements of this
these definitions are found in Chapter 2. The use and section.
application of defined terms, as well as undefined
 The provisions contained in this section have been
terms, are set forth in Section 201.
adapted from requirements contained in the ACI 318
BEARING WALL STRUCTURE. standard for many years. By adapting those require-
ments to structural steel, open web steel joists, joist
FRAME STRUCTURE.
girders or composite steel and concrete frame struc-
1615.3 Frame structures. Frame structures shall comply tures, their overall structural integrity is enhanced.
with the requirements of this section. 1615.3.2.1 Columns. Each column splice shall have the min-
 These provisions enhance the overall structural integ- imum design strength in tension to transfer the design dead
rity and resistance of frame structures by establishing and live load tributary to the column between the splice and
minimum requirements for tying together the primary the splice or base immediately below.
structural elements.  The additional requirement for the tensile strength of
1615.3.1 Concrete frame structures. Frame structures con- column splices enhances the column’s performance
structed primarily of reinforced or prestressed concrete, either in unforeseen events.
cast-in-place or precast, or a combination of these, shall con- 1615.3.2.2 Beams. End connections of all beams and girders
form to the requirements of Section 4.10 of ACI 318. Where shall have a minimum nominal axial tensile strength equal to
ACI 318 requires that nonprestressed reinforcing or prestress- the required vertical shear strength for allowable stress
ing steel pass through the region bounded by the longitudinal design (ASD) or two-thirds of the required shear strength for
column reinforcement, that reinforcing or prestressing steel load and resistance factor design (LRFD) but not less than 10
shall have a minimum nominal tensile strength equal to two- kips (45 kN). For the purpose of this section, the shear force
thirds of the required one-way vertical strength of the connec- and the axial tensile force need not be considered to act
tion of the floor or roof system to the column in each direc- simultaneously.
tion of beam or slab reinforcement passing through the Exception: Where beams, girders, open web joist and joist
column. girders support a concrete slab or concrete slab on metal
Exception: Where concrete slabs with continuous rein- deck that is attached to the beam or girder with not less
forcement having an area not less than 0.0015 times the than 3/8-inch-diameter (9.5 mm) headed shear studs, at a
concrete area in each of two orthogonal directions are spacing of not more than 12 inches (305 mm) on center,
present and are either monolithic with or equivalently averaged over the length of the member, or other attach-
bonded to beams, girders or columns, the longitudinal ment having equivalent shear strength, and the slab con-
reinforcing or prestressing steel passing through the col- tains continuous distributed reinforcement in each of two
umn reinforcement shall have a nominal tensile strength of orthogonal directions with an area not less than 0.0015
one-third of the required one-way vertical strength of the times the concrete area, the nominal axial tension strength
connection of the floor or roof system to the column in of the end connection shall be permitted to be taken as half
each direction of beam or slab reinforcement passing the required vertical shear strength for ASD or one-third of
through the column. the required shear strength for LRFD, but not less than 10
kips (45 kN).
 This section refers to ACI 318 requirements for struc-
tural integrity that are applicable to concrete frames.  Providing the required tensile strength for all beam
These provisions establish minimum requirements for and girder connections provides some ability to carry,
tying together the primary structural elements. These transfer and/or redistribute load in the event there is
ACI 318 structural integrity requirements are already loss of support. The exception allows a reduced ten-
incorporated in the code by the general reference to sile strength in the beam and girder connection where
ACI 318 in Section 1901.2 for the design and con- a concrete slab is utilized.
struction of structural concrete. The only additional 1615.4 Bearing wall structures. Bearing wall structures
requirement for concrete frame structures is the mini- shall have vertical ties in all load-bearing walls and longitudi-
mum nominal tensile strength that is established for nal ties, transverse ties and perimeter ties at each floor level
reinforcement that must pass through the longitudinal in accordance with this section and as shown in Figure
column reinforcement. The exception reduces this 1615.4.
minimum nominal tensile strength for slab construc-
tion that meets certain conditions.  These provisions enhance the overall structural integ-
rity and resistance of bearing wall structures by
1615.3.2 Structural steel, open web steel joist or joist establishing minimum requirements for tying together
girder, or composite steel and concrete frame structures. the primary structural elements.
Frame structures constructed with a structural steel frame or a
frame composed of open web steel joists, joist girders with or FIGURE 1615.4. See page 16-87.
without other structural steel elements or a frame composed  This figure illustrates the ties that are required in Sec-
of composite steel or composite steel joists and reinforced tions 1614.4.1 through 1614.4.2.4.

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1615.4.1 Concrete wall structures. Precast bearing wall minimum nominal tensile strength shall be permitted to be
structures constructed solely of reinforced or prestressed con- taken as 1.5 times the allowable tensile stress times the area
crete, or combinations of these shall conform to the require- of the tie.
ments of Sections 16.2.4 and 16.2.5 of ACI 318. TT = w LS T S (Equation 16-41)
 This section refers to the ACI 318 requirements that where:
are applicable to concrete wall structures. These pro-
visions establish minimum requirements for tying L = The span of the horizontal element in the direction of
together the primary structural elements. These ACI the tie, between bearing walls, feet (m).
318 structural integrity requirements are already w = The weight per unit area of the floor or roof in the span
incorporated into the code by the general reference to being tied to or across the wall, psf (N/m2).
ACI 318 in Section 1901.2 for the design and con- S = The spacing between ties, feet (m).
struction of structural concrete.
T = A coefficient with a value of 1,500 pounds per foot
1615.4.2 Other bearing wall structures. Ties in bearing
(2.25 kN/m) for masonry bearing wall structures and a
wall structures other than those covered in Section 1615.4.1
value of 375 pounds per foot (0.6 kN/m) for structures
shall conform to this section.
with bearing walls of cold-formed steel light-frame
 The provisions contained in this section have been construction.
adapted from requirements contained within the ACI
 Requirements for tying together horizontal elements
318 standard for many years. By adapting those
in the longitudinal direction (spanning between bear-
requirements to other bearing wall structures, these
ing walls—noted as “L” in Commentary Figure
provisions enhance their overall structural integrity.
1615.4) provide for transfer and/or redistribution of
1615.4.2.1 Longitudinal ties. Longitudinal ties shall consist loads in the event there is loss of support.
of continuous reinforcement in slabs; continuous or spliced
1615.4.2.2 Transverse ties. Transverse ties shall consist of
decks or sheathing; continuous or spliced members framing
continuous reinforcement in slabs; continuous or spliced
to, within or across walls; or connections of continuous fram-
decks or sheathing; continuous or spliced members framing
ing members to walls. Longitudinal ties shall extend across
to, within or across walls; or connections of continuous fram-
interior load-bearing walls and shall connect to exterior load-
ing members to walls. Transverse ties shall be placed no far-
bearing walls and shall be spaced at not greater than 10 feet
ther apart than the spacing of load-bearing walls. Transverse
(3038 mm) on center. Ties shall have a minimum nominal
ties shall have minimum nominal tensile strength TT, given by
tensile strength, TT, given by Equation 16-41. For ASD the
Equation 16-41. For ASD the minimum nominal tensile

FIGURE 1615.4
LONGITUDINAL, PERIMETER, TRANSVERSE AND VERTICAL TIES
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®
Copyright International2015 INTERNATIONAL
Code Council BUILDING CODE COMMENTARY 16-87
STRUCTURAL DESIGN

strength shall be permitted to be taken as 1.5 times the allow- AWC WFCM-15, Wood Frame Construction Manual for
able tensile stress times the area of the tie. One- and Two-family Dwellings. Leesburg, VA:
 Requirements for ties in the transverse direction at American Wood Council, 2015.
bearing walls (noted as “T” in Commentary Figure
1615.4) provide for transfer and/or redistribution of AISC 341-10, Seismic Provisions for Structural Steel
loads in the event there is loss of support. Buildings. Chicago: American Institute of Steel
1615.4.2.3 Perimeter ties. Perimeter ties shall consist of con- Construction, Inc., 2010.
tinuous reinforcement in slabs; continuous or spliced decks or AISC 360-10, Specification for Structural Steel
sheathing; continuous or spliced members framing to, within
Buildings. Chicago, IL: American Institute of Steel
or across walls; or connections of continuous framing mem-
bers to walls. Ties around the perimeter of each floor and roof Construction, Inc., 2010.
shall be located within 4 feet (1219 mm) of the edge and shall ASCE 7-10, Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and
provide a nominal strength in tension not less than Tp, given
Other Structures Including Supplement No. 1. New
by Equation 16-42. For ASD the minimum nominal tensile
strength shall be permitted to be taken as 1.5 times the allow- York: American Society of Civil Engineers, 2010.
able tensile stress times the area of the tie. ASCE 24-13, Flood-resistance Design and Construction
Tp = 200w T (Equation 16-42) Standard. Reston, VA: American Society of Civil
For SI: Tp= 90.7w T Engineers, 2013.
where: ASTM E1886-05, Test Method for Performance of
w = As defined in Section 1615.4.2.1. Exterior Windows, Curtain Walls, Doors and Storm
T = A coefficient with a value of 16,000 pounds (7200 kN) Shutters Impacted by Missiles and Exposed to Cyclic
for structures with masonry bearing walls and a value Pressure Differentials. West Conshohocken, PA:
of 4,000 pounds (1300 kN) for structures with bearing ASTM International, 2005.
walls of cold-formed steel light-frame construction.
ASTM E1996-12A, Specification for Performance of
 Requirements for tying together horizontal elements Exterior Windows, Curtain Walls, Doors and Storm
at the perimeter in both the longitudinal and trans- Shutters Impacted by Wind-borne Debris in
verse directions (noted as “P/L” and “P/T” in Com- Hurricanes. West Conshohocken, PA: ASTM
mentary Figure 1615.4) provide for transfer and/or
International, 2012.
redistribution of loads in the event there is loss of
support. FEMA 44 CFR, Parts 59-73, National Flood Insurance
1615.4.2.4 Vertical ties. Vertical ties shall consist of contin- Program (NFIP). Washington, DC: Federal
uous or spliced reinforcing, continuous or spliced members, Emergency Management Agency.
--`,`,,,,,,`,,,,`,````,`,,,,,``-`-`,,`,,`,`,,`---

wall sheathing or other engineered systems. Vertical tension


ties shall be provided in bearing walls and shall be continuous FEMA (various dates). NFIP Technical Bulletin Series.
over the height of the building. The minimum nominal tensile Washington, DC: National Flood Insurance Program.
strength for vertical ties within a bearing wall shall be equal Available at www.fema.gov,plan/prevent/floodplain/
to the weight of the wall within that story plus the weight of techbul.shtm.
the diaphragm tributary to the wall in the story below. No
fewer than two ties shall be provided for each wall. The FEMA Form 086-0-33. NFIP Elevation Certificate.
strength of each tie need not exceed 3,000 pounds per foot Washington, DC: Federal Emergency Management
(450 kN/m) of wall tributary to the tie for walls of masonry Agency, 2012.
construction or 750 pounds per foot (140 kN/m) of wall tribu-
FEMA Form 086-0-34, Floodproofing Certificate. Wash-
tary to the tie for walls of cold-formed steel light-frame con-
ington, DC: Federal Emergency Management
struction.
Agency, 2012.
 The additional requirement for continuous vertical ties
enhances the performance of bearing walls in unfore- FEMA P-750-1, NEHRP Recommended Provisions for
seen events (noted as “V” in Commentary Figure Seismic Regulations for New Buildings and Other
1615.4). Structures, Part 1. Washington, DC: Prepared by the
Building Seismic Safety Council for the Federal
Bibliography Emergency Management Agency, 2009.
The following resource materials were used in the FEMA P-750-2, NEHRP Recommended Provisions for
preparation of the commentary for this chapter of the Seismic Regulations for New Buildings and Other
code. Structures, Part 2 Commentary. Washington, DC:
ADA, Accessibility Guidelines for Building and Facilities. Prepared by the Building Seismic Safety Council for
28 CFR, Part 36 revised, July 1, 1994. the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2009.

16-88 Code Council


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STRUCTURAL DESIGN

FEMA P-758, Substantial Improvement/Substantial


Damage Desk Reference. Washington, DC: Federal
Emergency Management Agency, 2009.
FEMA TB #1, Openings in Foundation Walls and Walls
of Enclosures Below Elevated Buildings Located in
Special Flood Hazard Areas. Washington, DC:
Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2008.
FEMA TB #3, Nonresidential Floodproofing
Requirements and Certification for Buildings Located
in Special Flood Hazard Areas. Washington, DC:
Federal Emergency Management Agency, 1993.
FEMA TB #5, Free-of-Obstruction Requirements for
Buildings Located in Coastal High-hazard Areas.
Washington, DC: Federal Emergency Management
Agency, 2008.
FEMA TB #9, Design and Construction Guidance for
Breakaway Walls Below Elevated Coastal Buildings.
Washington, DC: Federal Emergency Management
Agency, 2008.
ICC 600-08, Standard for Residential Construction in
High-wind Regions. Washington, DC: International
Code Council, 2008.
Reducing Flood Losses Through the International Code
Series: Meeting the Requirements of the National
Flood Insurance Program (3rd ed.). Washington, DC:
International Code Council, 2008.
SEAW’s Handbook of a Rapid-solutions Methodology
for Wind Design. Redwood City, CA: Structural
Engineers Association of Washington, Applied
Technology Council, 2004.
SEAW/ATC 60, SEAW Commentary on Wind Code
Provisions, Volume 1. Redwood City, CA: Applied
Technology Council, 2004.
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Provisions, Volume 2—Example Problems.
Redwood City, CA: Applied Technology Council,
2004.
Taly, Narendra. Loads and Load Paths in Buildings:
Principles of Structural Design. Washington, DC:
International Code Council, 2003.
Taly, Narendra. Loads and Load Paths in Buildings:
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Solutions. Washington, DC: International Code
Council, 2005.
Williams, Alan. Seismic- and Wind-forces Structural
Design Examples, Second Edition. Washington, DC:
International Code Council, 2005.

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Code Council BUILDING CODE COMMENTARY 16-89
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Chapter 17:
Special Inspections and Tests
General Comments strengths of materials are in Section 1706.
Section 1707 provides for an alternative test proce-
In this chapter, the code sets minimum quality stan- dure in the absence of approved standards.
dards for the acceptance of materials used in building Section 1708 includes requirements for field load test-
construction. It also establishes requirements for spe- ing of a structure.
cial inspections, structural observations and load test- Preconstruction load testing of materials and meth-
ing. ods of construction that are not capable of being
Section 1701 contains the scope statement and gen- designed by an approved analysis is covered by Sec-
eral statement for testing of new materials. tion 1709.
The terms primarily related to this chapter are listed in Chapter 17 provides information regarding the evalu-
Section 1702 and their definitions are provided in Chap- ation, inspection and approval process for any material
ter 2. or system proposed for use as a component of a struc-
Section 1703 addresses the approval process and ture. These are general requirements that expand on
labeling by approved agencies. Special inspections, the requirements of Chapter 1 relating to the roles and
contractor responsibility and structural observation are responsibilities of the building official regarding approval
specified in Section 1704. of building components. Additionally, the chapter
Section 1704 also includes detailed requirements includes general requirements relating to the roles and
pertaining to the statement of special inspections. responsibilities of the owner, contractor, special inspec-
Section 1705 contains detailed special inspection and tors and architects or engineers.
verification requirements for various building elements
based on the type of construction involved. Included are
special inspection and verification requirements for Purpose
steel, concrete, masonry, wood, soils, deep founda- This chapter provides procedures and criteria for: test-
tions, wind, seismic, fire resistance, Exterior Insulation ing materials or assemblies; labeling materials; systems
and Finish Systems (EIFS) and smoke control. Struc- and assemblies; and special inspection and verification
tural testing and qualification for seismic resistance is of structural assemblies.
also addressed in Section 1705.
The general requirements for determining the design

SECTION 1701 for in this code, and any material of questioned suitability
GENERAL proposed for use in the construction of a building or structure,
1701.1 Scope. The provisions of this chapter shall govern the shall be subjected to the tests prescribed in this chapter and in
quality, workmanship and requirements for materials cov- the approved rules to determine character, quality and limita-
ered. Materials of construction and tests shall conform to the tions of use.
applicable standards listed in this code.  Testing is required to be performed on materials that
 This chapter gives provisions for quality, workman- are not specifically provided for in the code. For
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ship, testing and labeling of all materials covered example, suppose a manufacturer of a sandwich
within. In general, all construction materials and tests panel consisting of aluminum skins and a foam plas-
must conform to the standards, or portions thereof, tic core wishes to use this panel as an exterior
that are referenced in the code. This chapter provides weather covering. The material does not conform to
requirements for materials and tests when there are any of the standards referenced in Chapter 14, so an
no applicable standards. Specific tests and standards appropriate test protocol must be developed. The
are referenced in other chapters of the code. Addi- same provision for acceptance of alternative materi-
tionally, this chapter provides basic requirements for als is already given in Section 104.11. That section
labeling construction materials and assemblies, and provides a strong, definitive statement for perfor-
for special inspection and verification of structural mance requirements for alternative materials, requir-
systems and components. ing the proposed alternative to be equivalent to that
prescribed by the code in quality, strength, effective-
1701.2 New materials. New building materials, equipment, ness, durability and safety. Section 1701.2 simply
appliances, systems or methods of construction not provided reasserts that alternative materials (new materials)

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may be used, as long as the performance character- avoid conflicts of interest, the inspection agency must
istics and quality can be established. be independent from the contractor performing the
work. In cases where the contractor hires and coordi-
nates the special inspector, the conflict of interest can
SECTION 1702 be mitigated if the owner pays for the special inspec-
DEFINITIONS tor. In some instances, the contractor is also the
1702.1 Definitions. The following terms are defined in Chap- owner. In those cases, care should be exercised to
ter 2: verify that the special inspector is not influenced by
the conflict of interest.
 Definitions facilitate the understanding of code provi- For example, suppose that ACME Agency is the
sions and minimize potential confusion. To that end, inspection agency employed by Builders, Inc. for fac-
this section lists definitions of terms associated with tory-built fireplaces. During an investigation of the
special inspections and testing. Note that these defi- agency, it is discovered that ACME and Builders are
nitions are found in Chapter 2. The use and applica- subsidiaries of the same parent company, Conglom-
tion of defined terms, as well as undefined terms, are erate, Inc. The inspection agency and manufacturer
set forth in Section 201. clearly have a relationship that is undesirable from
APPROVED AGENCY. the standpoint of independence. Similarly, suppose

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APPROVED FABRICATOR. that a general contractor hires an inspection agency
to perform inspection services. This could also create
CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE. a conflict of interest situation if the inspection agency
DESIGNATED SEISMIC SYSTEM. needs to reject the work of the firm that is paying
FABRICATED ITEM. them.
1703.1.2 Equipment. An approved agency shall have ade-
INTUMESCENT FIRE-RESISTANT COATINGS.
quate equipment to perform required tests. The equipment
MAIN WINDFORCE-RESISTING SYSTEM. shall be periodically calibrated.
MASTIC FIRE-RESISTANT COATINGS.  As part of judging the ability of a testing or inspection
SPECIAL INSPECTION. agency, the building official should assess whether
the agency has the proper equipment to perform the
Continuous special inspection.
required tests or inspections.
Periodic special inspection. 1703.1.3 Personnel. An approved agency shall employ expe-
SPECIAL INSPECTOR. rienced personnel educated in conducting, supervising and
SPRAYED FIRE-RESISTANT MATERIALS. evaluating tests and special inspections.
STRUCTURAL OBSERVATION.  The competence of an inspection or testing agency is
also based on the experience and training of its per-
sonnel. If the personnel lack the requisite experience,
SECTION 1703 they are less likely to catch critical errors.
APPROVALS If the services being provided by the inspection or
1703.1 Approved agency. An approved agency shall provide test agency come within the purview of the profes-
all information as necessary for the building official to deter- sional registration laws of the state in which the build-
mine that the agency meets the applicable requirements spec- ing is being constructed, the building official should
ified in Sections 1703.1.1 through 1703.1.3. request evidence that the personnel are qualified to
perform the work in accordance with this professional
 This section specifies the information that an registration law.
approved agency must provide to the building official 1703.2 Written approval. Any material, appliance, equip-
to enable him or her to determine whether the agency ment, system or method of construction meeting the require-
and its personnel have the requisite qualifications to ments of this code shall be approved in writing after
provide adequate quality control. satisfactory completion of the required tests and submission
1703.1.1 Independence. An approved agency shall be objec- of required test reports.
tive, competent and independent from the contractor respon-
sible for the work being inspected. The agency shall also  So that there is a documented record of the approval
disclose to the building official and the registered design pro- and basis for it, including any conditions or limita-
fessional in responsible charge possible conflicts of intere0st tions, the building official must approve the submis-
so that objectivity can be confirmed. sion in writing. The code also requires the approval to
be granted within a reasonable period of time, after
 As part of the basis for a building official’s approval of all documentation has been satisfactorily developed
a particular inspection agency, the agency must dem- and submitted, so as to avoid any unnecessary delay
onstrate its competence and objectivity. The compe- in completion of construction.
tence of the agency is judged by its experience and 1703.3 Record of approval. For any material, appliance,
organization, and the experience of its personnel. To equipment, system or method of construction that has been

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approved, a record of such approval, including the conditions reports are not code text. They are advisory only and
and limitations of the approval, shall be kept on file in the intended for technical reference.
building official’s office and shall be available for public 1703.5 Labeling. Products, materials or assemblies required
review at appropriate times. to be labeled shall be labeled in accordance with the proce-
 Written approvals must be kept on file by the building dures set forth in Sections 1703.5.1 through 1703.5.4.
official, and be available and open to the public. This  This section provides requirements for third-party
provides reasonable access to the records on inspection of a manufacturer of a material or assem-
approvals of materials and systems should there be bly when the code says that the material or assembly
any subsequent investigation or further evaluation. must be labeled. The materials or assemblies
1703.4 Performance. Specific information consisting of test required to be labeled are given in other chapters of
reports conducted by an approved agency in accordance with the code, the International Mechanical Code® (IMC® ),
the appropriate referenced standards, or other such informa- the International Fire Code® (IFC® ) and the Interna-
tion as necessary, shall be provided for the building official to tional Plumbing Code® (IPC® ). Labeling provides a
determine that the product, material or assembly meets the readily available source of information that is useful
applicable code requirements. for field inspection of installed products. The label
identifies the product or material and provides other
 When conformance to the code is predicated on the information that can be investigated further if there is
performance and quality of products, materials or any question as to its suitability for the specific instal-
assemblies, the building official must require the sub- lation.
mittal of testing reports from an approved agency. Some examples are gas appliances, fire doors,
1703.4.1 Research and investigation. Sufficient technical prefabricated construction (when the building official
data shall be submitted to the building official to substantiate does not inspect it), electrical appliances, glass, fac-
the proposed use of any product, material or assembly. If it is tory-built fireplaces, plywood and other wood mem-
determined that the evidence submitted is satisfactory proof bers when used structurally, lumber and foam
of performance for the use intended, the building official shall plastics.
approve the use of the product, material or assembly subject 1703.5.1 Testing. An approved agency shall test a represen-
to the requirements of this code. The costs, reports and inves- tative sample of the product, material or assembly being
tigations required under these provisions shall be paid by the labeled to the relevant standard or standards. The approved
owner or the owner’s authorized agent. agency shall maintain a record of the tests performed. The
record shall provide sufficient detail to verify compliance
 This section is usually used in conjunction with Sec-
with the test standard.
tion 104.11 when analysis of any construction mate-
rial, such as new and innovative materials, is required  As a basis for the allowed use of an agency’s label, the
to determine code compliance. The analysis is based agency is required to perform testing on the material or
entirely upon technical data. All costs of testing and product in accordance with the standard(s) referenced
investigations must be paid by the applicant. by the code. For example, Section 903.1 of the IMC
1703.4.2 Research reports. Supporting data, where neces- requires that factory-built fireplaces be tested in accor-
sary to assist in the approval of products, materials or assem- dance with the referenced standard UL 127 and states
blies not specifically provided for in this code, shall consist of that factory-built fireplaces are required to be listed
valid research reports from approved sources. and labeled by an approved agency.
1703.5.2 Inspection and identification. The approved
 Reports prepared by approved agencies, such as agency shall periodically perform an inspection, which shall
those published by organizations affiliated with model be in-plant if necessary, of the product or material that is to be
code groups, may be accepted as part of the informa- labeled. The inspection shall verify that the labeled product,
tion needed by the building official to evaluate pro- material or assembly is representative of the product, material
posed construction and form the basis for approval. or assembly tested.
Such reports can supplement building department
resources by eliminating the need for the building offi-  The approved agency whose label is to be applied to
cial to conduct a detailed analysis on each new prod- a product must perform periodic inspections. The pri-
uct, material or system. It is important that such mary objective of these inspections is to determine
material be truly objective and credible, and not con- that the manufacturer is, indeed, making the same
sist merely of the manufacturer’s brochures or similar product that was tested. For example, using the fac-
proprietary information. It is also important to note tory-built fireplace discussed in the commentary to
that when the building official is utilizing research Section 1703.5.1, if the fire chamber wall in the test
reports in evaluating compliance with the code, such was 3/8-inch-thick (9.5 mm) steel, the inspection
as those issued by organizations affiliated with model agency must check to see that this thickness is being
code groups, he or she is not mandated to approve used. If the manufacturer has decided to use 1/4-inch
these reports just because the code is the legally (6.4 mm) steel, then the inspection agency would be
adopted building code in the jurisdiction. These required to withdraw the use of its label and listing.

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1703.5.3 Label information. The label shall contain the 1703.6.1 Follow-up inspection. The owner or the owner’s
manufacturer’s identification, model number, serial number authorized agent shall provide for special inspections of fab-
or definitive information describing the performance charac- ricated items in accordance with Section 1704.2.5.
teristics of the product, material or assembly and the
 The owner is required to provide special inspections
approved agency’s identification.
of fabricated assemblies at the fabrication plant in
 This section lists the information that is required on a accordance with Section 1704.2.5. The intent of the
label (see Commentary Figure 1703.5.3). The pur- special inspections is to verify that the assemblies are
pose is to provide sufficient information for the constructed properly, with particular attention paid to
inspector to verify that the installed product is consis- those elements that cannot be easily observed after
tent with what was approved during the plan review fabrication.
process. 1703.6.2 Test and inspection records. Copies of necessary
test and special inspection records shall be filed with the
building official.
 All testing and inspection records related to a fabri-
cated assembly must be filed with the building official
so as to maintain a complete and legal record of the
assembly and erection of the building components.

SECTION 1704
SPECIAL INSPECTIONS AND TESTS,
CONTRACTOR RESPONSIBILITY AND
STRUCTURAL OBSERVATION
1704.1 General. Special inspections and tests, statements of
special inspections, responsibilities of contractors, submittals
to the building official and structural observations shall meet
the applicable requirements of this section.
 Section 1704 provides minimum requirements for
Figure 1703.5.3 special inspections and tests, including what is
TYPICAL LABEL INFORMATION required to be included in the statement of special
inspections, the conditions that would require struc-
tural observation as well as contractor responsibility
1703.5.4 Method of labeling. Information required to be per-
manently identified on the product, material or assembly shall requirements related to construction of the lateral
be acid etched, sand blasted, ceramic fired, laser etched, force-resisting systems for wind and seismic loads.
embossed or of a type that, once applied, cannot be removed 1704.2 Special inspections and tests. Where application is
without being destroyed. made to the building official for construction as specified in
Section 105, the owner or the owner’s authorized agent, other
 The section requires that permanent labeling be of a
than the contractor, shall employ one or more approved agen-
nature that cannot be removed, and specifies accept-
cies to provide special inspections and tests during construc-
able methods of permanent labeling.
tion on the types of work specified in Section 1705 and
1703.6 Evaluation and follow-up inspection services. identify the approved agencies to the building official. These
Where structural components or other items regulated by this special inspections and tests are in addition to the inspections
code are not visible for inspection after completion of a pre- by the building official that are identified in Section 110.
fabricated assembly, the owner or the owner’s authorized
agent shall submit a report of each prefabricated assembly. Exceptions:
The report shall indicate the complete details of the assembly, 1. Special inspections and tests are not required for
including a description of the assembly and its components, construction of a minor nature or as warranted by
the basis upon which the assembly is being evaluated, test conditions in the jurisdiction as approved by the
results and similar information and other data as necessary building official.
for the building official to determine conformance to this
2. Unless otherwise required by the building official,
code. Such a report shall be approved by the building official.
special inspections and tests are not required for
 As an alternative to physical inspection by the build- Group U occupancies that are accessory to a resi-
ing official in the plant or location where prefabricated dential occupancy including, but not limited to,
components such as modular homes, trusses, etc., those listed in Section 312.1.
are manufactured, the building official has the option
3. Special inspections and tests are not required for
of accepting an evaluation report from an approved
portions of structures designed and constructed in
agency detailing such inspections.
accordance with the cold-formed steel light-frame
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construction provisions of Section 2211.7 or the require special inspection, the building official has the
conventional light-frame construction provisions of authority to require special inspection in such cases.
Section 2308. Exception 3 waives the requirement for special
4. The contractor is permitted to employ the approved inspections for portions of structures designed and
agencies where the contractor is also the owner. constructed in accordance with the prescriptive provi-
sions of Section 2211.7 for cold-formed steel light-
 Special inspections provide a means of quality assur- frame structures or Section 2308 for conventional
ance. Structural properties of concrete or steel are light-frame wood structures.
not usually discernible by a mere visual inspection. 1704.2.1 Special inspector qualifications. Prior to the start
Typically, construction materials must be tested and of the construction, the approved agencies shall provide writ-
their installation must be monitored in order to pro- ten documentation to the building official demonstrating the
vide a finished structure that performs in accordance competence and relevant experience or training of the special
with the design professional’s intent. Trained special- inspectors who will perform the special inspections and tests
ists performing these inspections give the building during construction. Experience or training shall be consid-
official and engineer an indication that the intended ered relevant where the documented experience or training is
structural performance will be achieved. According to related in complexity to the same type of special inspection
Section 105.1, the permit applicant may be the owner or testing activities for projects of similar complexity and
or authorized agent in connection with the project material qualities. These qualifications are in addition to
(see Section 105.1 for further details). qualifications specified in other sections of this code.
Neither special inspections nor observations by the
design professional replace inspections performed by The registered design professional in responsible charge
the jurisdiction. Rather, they are intended as an and engineers of record involved in the design of the project
enhancement to those inspections. Similarly, obser- are permitted to act as the approved agency and their person-
vations by the design professional do not replace nel are permitted to act as special inspectors for the work
special inspections, though the building official may designed by them, provided they qualify as special inspec-
accept inspections by the design professional if the tors.
design professional is sufficiently competent to per-  This section attempts to standardize special inspector
form the inspections. qualifications in an effort to provide for the availability
Exceptions to the requirement for special inspec- of an adequate pool of qualified and knowledgeable
tions include minor work, Group U occupancies special inspectors. The code requires the special
accessory to residential occupancies and prescriptive inspector to demonstrate competence to the satisfac-
light-frame construction consisting of cold-formed tion of the building official. There are many certifica-
steel or wood framing. Minor work is work that, if not tion and training programs for various facets of
performed properly, will not result in a life-safety haz- special inspections that may provide guidance to the
ard and will not adversely affect the performance of building official in making this judgment. The provi-
the finished product to meet its design intent. As an sion allows the registered design professional in
example, in a nonstructural application such as a responsible charge and engineers of record who
sidewalk, a designer may specify higher strength designed the project to act as an approved agency
concrete than required for nonstructural work. The and perform special inspections for work designed by
concrete may not require special inspection if failure them, provided they also satisfy the qualification
to meet the higher strength will not result in a life- requirements for special inspectors.
safety hazard and is unlikely to result in adverse per-
formance. 1704.2.2 Access for special inspection. The construction or
In addition to exempting minor work, Exception 1 work for which special inspection or testing is required shall
refers to “conditions in the jurisdiction” as a possible remain accessible and exposed for special inspection or test-
exception. The primary “condition” envisioned is one ing purposes until completion of the required special inspec-
in which the jurisdiction has the resources and skills tions or tests.
to perform these inspection tasks. This exception  This section is similar to Section 110.1 in requiring
should not be interpreted as one that can be invoked that work remain accessible to the special inspector
by the permit applicant. A jurisdiction should not be until any required inspections or testing have been
obligated to allow this exception. The purpose of this performed.
exception is merely to allow jurisdictions to perform 1704.2.3 Statement of special inspections. The applicant
these inspections to the extent they are capable of shall submit a statement of special inspections in accordance
doing so, rather than requiring a special inspector. with Section 107.1 as a condition for permit issuance. This
Exception 2 eliminates the special inspection statement shall be in accordance with Section 1704.3.
requirement for Group U occupancies that are acces-
sory to a residential occupancy and where allowed by Exception: A statement of special inspections is not
the building official. Because Group U occupancies required for portions of structures designed and con-
could have elements or structural systems that structed in accordance with the cold-formed steel light-

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frame construction provisions of Section 2211.7 or the a fabricator’s shop, special inspections of the fabricated items
conventional light-frame construction provisions of Sec- shall be performed during fabrication.
tion 2308. Exceptions:
 The applicant must submit for approval a list showing 1. Special inspections during fabrication are not
what special inspections are required, in addition to required where the fabricator maintains approved
other construction documents, before issuance of the detailed fabrication and quality control procedures
building permit. This section refers to Section 1704.3 that provide a basis for control of the workmanship
for specific details, while Section 1704.3.1 identifies and the fabricator’s ability to conform to approved
the materials, components and work to be covered in construction documents and this code. Approval
the statement of special inspections. The list of shall be based upon review of fabrication and qual-
required special inspections may be included on the ity control procedures and periodic inspection of
design drawings. fabrication practices by the building official.
Since special inspections are not required for struc-
tures and portions thereof designed and constructed 2. Special inspections are not required where the fabri-
in accordance with the prescriptive provisions of Sec- cator is registered and approved in accordance with
tion 2211.7 for cold-formed steel light-frame struc- Section 1704.2.5.1.
tures or Section 2308 for conventional light-frame  Inspection of in-plant fabrications and the require-
wood structures, a special inspection statement is not ments for special inspections are addressed herein.
required for these structures. This section should be used in conjunction with Sec-
1704.2.4 Report requirement. Approved agencies shall keep tion 1703.6 relating to evaluation and follow-up
records of special inspections and tests. The approved agency inspections. The special inspector is required to verify
shall submit reports of special inspections and tests to the not only that the fabricator complies with the design
building official and to the registered design professional in details and in-house quality control procedures at the
responsible charge. Reports shall indicate that work plant, but also that the plant has the capability to con-
inspected or tested was or was not completed in conformance struct/fabricate according to the approved drawings,
to approved construction documents. Discrepancies shall be standards and specifications. An example of this
brought to the immediate attention of the contractor for cor- would be an inspection of proper placement and roll-
rection. If they are not corrected, the discrepancies shall be ing of truss-plate connectors at a wood-truss manu-
brought to the attention of the building official and to the reg- facturing plant. Improper procedures could result in
istered design professional in responsible charge prior to the the connectors “popping out” or “peeling back” after
completion of that phase of the work. A final report docu- the truss is concealed and loaded, thus causing
menting required special inspections and tests, and correction structural failure. Another example is the fabrication
of any discrepancies noted in the inspections or tests, shall be of precast, prestressed, concrete members (e.g., hol-
submitted at a point in time agreed upon prior to the start of low-core slabs), which is subject to the special
work by the owner or the owner’s authorized agent to the inspections required by Section 1705.10 as well as
building official. those of Section 1705.3 for concrete construction.
Note that Item 9 of Table 1705.3 specifies inspection
 Records of each inspection must be submitted to the of prestressed concrete. Special inspections are not
building official so as to compile a complete legal necessary where an approved independent agency
record of the project. These records must include all conducts in-house inspections during fabrication.
inspections made, any violations noted and discrep-
ancies. Before a certificate of occupancy is issued, a 1704.2.5.1 Fabricator approval. Special inspections during
final report must be submitted indicating that all spe- fabrication are not required where the work is done on the
cial inspections have been made and all discrepan- premises of a fabricator registered and approved to perform
cies have been addressed in order to show such work without special inspection. Approval shall be
compliance with the applicable code requirements. It based upon review of the fabricator’s written procedural and
is the responsibility of the special inspector to docu- quality control manuals and periodic auditing of fabrication
ment and submit inspection records to the building practices by an approved agency. At completion of fabrica-
official and the registered design professional in tion, the approved fabricator shall submit a certificate of com-
responsible charge of the project. Examples of pliance to the owner or the owner’s authorized agent for
reports of special inspections and tests submitted by submittal to the building official as specified in Section
approved agencies are: tests of concrete for strength, 1704.5 stating that the work was performed in accordance
slump and air content (see Table 1705.3); tests of with the approved construction documents.
masonry units, grout and mortar; and strength tests of  “Approved fabricator” is defined in Section 202, and
shotcrete. this section provides the basis for such approval by
1704.2.5 Special inspection of fabricated items. Where fab- the building official. If the fabricator is approved by
rication of structural, load-bearing or lateral load-resisting the building official, then its internal quality control
members or assemblies is being conducted on the premises of procedures are deemed to be sufficient without the

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need for a special inspection. A certificate of compli- 1704.3.2 Seismic requirements in the statement of special
ance provides the building official with evidence on inspections. Where Section 1705.12 or 1705.13 specifies
each project that the work has been performed in special inspections or tests for seismic resistance, the state-
accordance with the code and construction docu- ment of special inspections shall identify the designated seis-
ments. mic systems and seismic force-resisting systems that are
1704.3 Statement of special inspections. Where special subject to the special inspections or tests.
inspections or tests are required by Section 1705, the regis-  Where special inspection or testing for seismic resis-
tered design professional in responsible charge shall prepare tance is required, the statement of special inspec-
a statement of special inspections in accordance with Section tions must identify the designated seismic systems
1704.3.1 for submittal by the applicant in accordance with and seismic force-resisting systems that are required
Section 1704.2.3. to have special inspection.
Exception: The statement of special inspections is permit- 1704.3.3 Wind requirements in the statement of special
ted to be prepared by a qualified person approved by the inspections. Where Section 1705.11 specifies special inspec-
building official for construction not designed by a regis- tion for wind resistance, the statement of special inspections
tered design professional. shall identify the main windforce-resisting systems and wind-
 The statement of special inspections is required to be resisting components that are subject to special inspections.
prepared by the registered design professional  Where special inspection for wind resistance is
responsible for the building or structure. This is required, the statement of special inspections must
because the special inspections statement relates identify the main wind-force-resisting systems and
directly to the construction documents, which are the components and cladding that are required to have
responsibility of the registered design professional. special inspection.
The exception states conditions under which the 1704.4 Contractor responsibility. Each contractor responsi-
statement of special inspections may be prepared by ble for the construction of a main wind- or seismic force-
someone other than the registered design profes- resisting system, designated seismic system or a wind- or
sional. The section outlines the basic content seismic force-resisting component listed in the statement of
required to be included in the statement of special special inspections shall submit a written statement of
inspections as well as the specific requirements for responsibility to the building official and the owner or the
seismic and wind resistance, arranging them in logi- owner’s authorized agent prior to the commencement of work
cal order. The intent is to document the required on the system or component. The contractor’s statement of
inspections and testing in order to foster a systematic responsibility shall contain acknowledgement of awareness
approach that helps to achieve the goal of a finished of the special requirements contained in the statement of spe-
structure that meets or exceeds the minimum perfor- cial inspections.
mance expectations.
 The statement of contractor responsibility is required
1704.3.1 Content of statement of special inspections. The
statement of special inspections shall identify the following: wherever the statement of special inspections
includes additional wind- or seismic-resistance
1. The materials, systems, components and work required inspections. This statement by the contractor is sepa-
to have special inspections or tests by the building offi- rate from the statement of special inspections. It is
cial or by the registered design professional responsi- the contractor’s acknowledgment of the special
ble for each portion of the work. inspections or testing that are beyond what is typi-
2. The type and extent of each special inspection. cally required.
3. The type and extent of each test. 1704.5 Submittals to the building official. In addition to the

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submittal of reports of special inspections and tests in accor-
4. Additional requirements for special inspections or tests dance with Section 1704.2.4, reports and certificates shall be
for seismic or wind resistance as specified in Sections submitted by the owner or the owner’s authorized agent to the
1705.11, 1705.12 and 1705.13. building official for each of the following:
5. For each type of special inspection, identification as to 1. Certificates of compliance for the fabrication of struc-
whether it will be continuous special inspection, peri- tural, load-bearing or lateral load-resisting members or
odic special inspection or performed in accordance assemblies on the premises of a registered and
with the notation used in the referenced standard where approved fabricator in accordance with Section
the inspections are defined. 1704.2.5.1.
 This section details the areas to be addressed in the 2. Certificates of compliance for the seismic qualification
statement of special inspection. It requires a list of of nonstructural components, supports and attachments
materials and work that is subject to special inspec- in accordance with Section 1705.13.2.
tion or testing, the type and frequency of inspections
and whether the inspections are continuous or peri- 3. Certificates of compliance for designated seismic sys-
odic. tems in accordance with Section 1705.13.3.

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4. Reports of preconstruction tests for shotcrete in accor- ten statement that the site visits have been made and identify
dance with Section 1908.5. any reported deficiencies that, to the best of the structural
5. Certificates of compliance for open web steel joists and observer’s knowledge, have not been resolved.
joist girders in accordance with Section 2207.5.  This section requires that a registered design profes-
6. Reports of material properties verifying compliance sional such as an engineer or architect be employed
with the requirements of AWS D1.4 for weldability as by the owner to provide on-site visits to observe com-
specified in Section 26.5.4 of ACI 318 for reinforcing pliance with the structural drawings when required by
bars in concrete complying with a standard other than Section 1704.6.1 or 1704.6.2. Structural observations
ASTM A706 that are to be welded; and are required under certain conditions in high-seismic
and high-wind locations (see Section 202 for the defi-
7. Reports of mill tests in accordance with Section nition of “Structural observation”), providing an addi-
20.2.2.5 of ACI 318 for reinforcing bars complying tional level of inspections beyond those provided by
with ASTM A615 and used to resist earthquake- the building inspector or a special inspector. The
induced flexural or axial forces in the special moment intent of requiring structural observations by a regis-
frames, special structural walls or coupling beams con- tered design professional for these structures is to
necting special structural walls of seismic force-resist- verify that the structural systems are constructed in
ing systems in structures assigned to Seismic Design general conformance with the approved construction
Category B, C, D, E or F. documents.
 The purpose of this section is to comprehensively This section provides guidance on the frequency of
specify the requirements for submittal of reports and observations. It requires submittal of a written state-
certificates related to construction that is subject to ment by the structural observer to the building official
special inspections and tests required primarily in prior to the commencement of observations identify-
Chapter 17. Typically, these documents certify or oth- ing the frequency and extent of structural observa-
erwise verify that a material or product meets certain tions. The determination of the frequency of structural
special requirements, or is an alternative to the gen- observations should be by the structural observer
eral requirements, of the building code. The listed and the owner in consultation with the local building
items are typically references to provisions elsewhere official. The structural observer must also submit a
in the building code or a referenced standard. The written statement to the building official at the conclu-
charging language of the new section specifies the sion of the work included in the permit.
requirements for submittal to the building official (e.g., 1704.6.1 Structural observations for seismic resistance.
by whom, after review and acceptance, and before Structural observations shall be provided for those structures
the work begins) and the requirements apply equally assigned to Seismic Design Category D, E or F where one or
to each listed submittal. The referenced provisions, more of the following conditions exist:
however, contain additional requirements unique to
each situation. The charging statement also clarifies 1. The structure is classified as Risk Category III or IV.
that the submittals are in addition to the submittal of 2. The height of the structure is greater than 75 feet (22
reports that are the responsibility of approved agen- 860 mm) above the base as defined in ASCE 7.
cies and are already covered under Section 1704.2.4. 3. The structure is assigned to Seismic Design Category
By contrast, the submittals listed in this section are E, is classified as Risk Category I or II, and is greater
the responsibility of the owner or owner’s authorized than two stories above grade plane.
agent.
4. When so designated by the registered design profes-
1704.6 Structural observations. Where required by the pro- sional responsible for the structural design.
visions of Section 1704.6.1 or 1704.6.2, the owner or the
owner’s authorized agent shall employ a registered design 5. When such observation is specifically required by the
professional to perform structural observations. Structural building official.
observation does not include or waive the responsibility for  This section lists the thresholds of seismic risk that
the inspections in Section 110 or the special inspections in necessitate structural observation. Items 1 through 3
Section 1705 or other sections of this code. are specific conditions that require structural observa-
Prior to the commencement of observations, the structural tion, while Items 4 and 5 give discretion to the regis-
observer shall submit to the building official a written state- tered design professional or building official to require
ment identifying the frequency and extent of structural obser- structural observation in other instances (see com-
vations. mentary, Section 1704.6).
At the conclusion of the work included in the permit, the 1704.6.2 Structural observations for wind requirements.
structural observer shall submit to the building official a writ- Structural observations shall be provided for those structures

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sited where Vasd as determined in accordance with Section tures, and portions thereof shall be in accordance with this
1609.3.1 exceeds 110 mph (49 m/sec), where one or more of section.
the following conditions exist: Exception: Special inspections of the steel fabrication
1. The structure is classified as Risk Category III or IV. process shall not be required where the fabricator does not
2. The building height is greater than 75 feet (22 860 perform any welding, thermal cutting or heating operation
mm). of any kind as part of the fabrication process. In such
cases, the fabricator shall be required to submit a detailed
3. When so designated by the registered design profes- procedure for material control that demonstrates the fabri-
sional responsible for the structural design. cator’s ability to maintain suitable records and procedures
4. When such observation is specifically required by the such that, at any time during the fabrication process, the
building official. material specification and grade for the main stress-carry-
ing elements are capable of being determined. Mill test
 This section lists the thresholds of high-wind expo- reports shall be identifiable to the main stress-carrying ele-
sure that necessitate structural observation. Items 1 ments when required by the approved construction docu-
and 2 are specific conditions that require structural ments.
observation, while Items 3 and 4 give discretion to the
registered design professional or building official to  The required special inspections and testing for steel
require structural observation in other instances (see construction are covered in this section. The excep-
commentary, Section 1704.6). tion is allowed if the fabrication plant does not utilize
any facilities or methods that may alter the physical
characteristics or properties of the steel members or
SECTION 1705 components, such as welding, thermal cutting or
REQUIRED SPECIAL INSPECTIONS AND TESTS heating operations. The fabricator must, in any case,
1705.1 General. Special inspections and tests of elements provide evidence that procedures are used to verify
and nonstructural components of buildings and structures that the proper material specification and grade for
shall meet the applicable requirements of this section. the main stress-carrying elements are met in accor-
dance with the job specifications and shop drawings.
 The specific elements that require verification by spe-
1705.2.1 Structural steel. Special inspections and nonde-
cial inspection or testing are covered in Section 1705.
structive testing of structural steel elements in buildings,

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1705.1.1 Special cases. Special inspections and tests shall be structures and portions thereof shall be in accordance with the
required for proposed work that is, in the opinion of the build- quality assurance inspection requirements of AISC 360.
ing official, unusual in its nature, such as, but not limited to,
the following examples: Exception: Special inspection of railing systems com-
posed of structural steel elements shall be limited to weld-
1. Construction materials and systems that are alternatives ing inspection of welds at the base of cantilevered rail
to materials and systems prescribed by this code. posts.
2. Unusual design applications of materials described in  The 2010 edition of AISC 360, AISC Specification for
this code. Structural Steel Buildings, contains quality assurance
3. Materials and systems required to be installed in accor- and inspection requirements for structural steel build-
dance with additional manufacturer’s instructions that ings. This section references ASIC 360 for special
prescribe requirements not contained in this code or in inspection requirements related to structural steel.
standards referenced by this code. 1705.2.2 Cold-formed steel deck. Special inspections and
 This section requires special inspections for pro- qualification of welding special inspectors for cold-formed
posed work that is unique and not specifically steel floor and roof deck shall be in accordance with the qual-
addressed in the code or in standards that are refer- ity assurance inspection requirements of SDI QA/QC.
enced by the code. For example, a designer may The SDI QA/QC Standard contains provisions for
chooses to utilize a new shear wall anchorage sys- quality assurance inspections of steel floor and roof
tem that is not specifically covered by the code. deck, and is intended to coordinate with the require-
Because the product is approved as an alternative ments of AISC 360, which is referenced in Section
under Section 104.11, the inspector must rely on 1705.2.1. SDI QA/QC includes the prior requirements
installation requirements such as embedment, edge of the IBC for using AWS D1.3 for weld quality and
distances, etc., given in approved reports from the requiring material verification. The standard clarifies
manufacturer, provided that the system is previously the scope of required inspections for both the deck
approved for installation by the building official. installer’s quality control personnel and the quality
1705.2 Steel construction. The special inspections and non- assurance inspector.
destructive testing of steel construction in buildings, struc-

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1705.2.3 Open-web steel joists and joist girders. Special 2. Continuous concrete footings supporting walls of
inspections of open-web steel joists and joist girders in build- buildings three stories or less above grade plane that
ings, structures and portions thereof shall be in accordance are fully supported on earth or rock where:
with Table 1705.2.3. 2.1. The footings support walls of light-frame
 The purpose of this section is to require special construction.
inspections of particular aspects of the installation of 2.2. The footings are designed in accordance
open web steel joists and joist girders. The standard with Table 1809.7.
Steel Joist Institute specifications for open web steel
joists, joist girders and composite steel joists merely 2.3. The structural design of the footing is
contain provisions for inspections by the manufac- based on a specified compressive strength,
turer before shipment to verify compliance with the f c, not more than 2,500 pounds per square
requirements of the specifications. Because their inch (psi) (17.2 MPa), regardless of the
structural design is sufficiently complex to warrant compressive strength specified in the
inspection by a person with the expertise of a special approved construction documents or used
inspector, requirements for inspecting the installation in the footing construction.
of steel joists and joist girders are given in Table 3. Nonstructural concrete slabs supported directly on
1705.2.3. the ground, including prestressed slabs on grade,
TABLE 1705.2.3. See below. where the effective prestress in the concrete is less
than 150 psi (1.03 MPa).
 Requiring special inspections for the bearing seat
attachments and bridging attachments of open web 4. Concrete foundation walls constructed in accor-
steel joist and joist girder installation reflects the com- dance with Table 1807.1.6.2.
plexity of the structural designs and the importance of 5. Concrete patios, driveways and sidewalks, on grade.
these installation requirements.
 This section establishes criteria for special inspec-
1705.2.4 Cold-formed steel trusses spanning 60 feet or tions of elements of buildings and structures of con-
greater. Where a cold-formed steel truss clear span is 60 feet crete construction. Exceptions to the requirements of
(18 288 mm) or greater, the special inspector shall verify that this section address concrete components that have
the temporary installation restraint/bracing and the permanent little or no load-carrying requirements, such as non-
individual truss member restraint/bracing are installed in structural slabs on grade, driveways, patios or foot-
accordance with the approved truss submittal package. ings and foundations that require little or no
 Longer span trusses require additional care during reinforcement and carry relatively low loads.
handling and installation due to their size and weight. TABLE 1705.3. See page 17-11.
Special inspection of the bracing provides verification
 Required verifications and inspections during con-
that these critical elements are properly installed in
crete construction operations are listed in Table
accordance with the approved truss submittal.
1705.3. This table provides a complete list of the
1705.3 Concrete construction. Special inspections and tests types of inspections required, whether the inspection
of concrete construction shall be performed in accordance is continuous or periodic, and the applicable refer-
with this section and Table 1705.3. enced standards for the placing, curing, prestressing
Exception: Special inspections and tests shall not be and erection of concrete construction. Note a of the
required for: table references Section 1705.12 for any additional
special inspections related to seismic resistance.
1. Isolated spread concrete footings of buildings three
stories or less above grade plane that are fully sup- 1705.3.1 Welding of reinforcing bars. Special inspections
ported on earth or rock. of welding and qualifications of special inspectors for rein-
TABLE 1705.2.3
REQUIRED SPECIAL INSPECTIONS OF OPEN-WEB STEEL JOISTS AND JOIST GIRDERS
CONTINUOUS PERIODIC
TYPE SPECIAL SPECIAL REFERENCED STANDARDa
INSPECTION INSPECTION
1. Installation of open-web steel joists and joist girders.

a. End connections – welding or bolted. — X SJI specifications listed in


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Section 2207.1.
b. Bridging – horizontal or diagonal. —
SJI specifications listed in
1. Standard bridging. — X Section 2207.1.
2. Bridging that differs from the SJI specifications listed in
X
Section 2207.1.
For SI: 1 inch = 25.4 mm.
a. Where applicable, see also Section 1705.12, Special inspections for seismic resistance.

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forcing bars shall be in accordance with the requirements of dance with the appropriate standards and criteria for the
AWS D1.4 for special inspection and of AWS D1.4 for spe- material in Chapters 19 and 20 of ACI 318.
cial inspector qualification.
 Concrete materials, such as cement, aggregates and
 This section refers to AWS D1.4 for guidance on admixtures and water, must comply with the ACI 318,
welding inspection and welder inspector qualifica- which regulates materials and addresses specific
tions. standards. In the absence of sufficient data or docu-
1705.3.2 Material tests. In the absence of sufficient data or mentation, the building official must require testing in
documentation providing evidence of conformance to quality accordance with the standards listed in ACI 318.
standards for materials in Chapters 19 and 20 of ACI 318, the ASTM A706 is the standard for reinforcing steel
building official shall require testing of materials in accor- that is weldable, meaning that the chemical composi-

TABLE 1705.3
REQUIRED SPECIAL INSPECTIONS AND TESTS OF CONCRETE CONSTRUCTION
CONTINUOUS
PERIODIC SPECIAL REFERENCED IBC
TYPE SPECIAL
INSPECTION STANDARDa REFERENCE
INSPECTION
1. Inspect reinforcement, including prestressing ACI 318 Ch. 20, 25.2,
— X 25.3, 26.5.1-26.5.3 1908.4
tendons, and verify placement.
2. Reinforcing bar welding:
a. Verify weldability of reinforcing bars other — X
than ASTM A706; AWS D1.4 —
b. Inspect single-pass fillet welds, maximum X ACI 318: 26.5.4
5
/16; and
X
c. Inspect all other welds.
3. Inspect anchors cast in concrete. — X ACI 318: 17.8.2 —
4. Inspect anchors post-installed in hardened
concrete members.b
a. Adhesive anchors installed in horizontally
or upwardly inclined orientations to resist X ACI 318: 17.8.2.4 —
sustained tension loads.
b. Mechanical anchors and adhesive anchors X ACI 318: 17.8.2
not defined in 4.a.

5. Verify use of required design mix. — X ACI 318: Ch. 19, 1904.1, 1904.2,
26.4.3, 26.4.4 1908.2, 1908.3
6. Prior to concrete placement, fabricate speci-
mens for strength tests, perform slump and air ASTM C172
X — ASTM C31 1908.10
content tests, and determine the temperature of ACI 318: 26.4.5, 26.12
the concrete.
7. Inspect concrete and shotcrete placement for 1908.6, 1908.7,
X — ACI 318: 26.4.5 1908.8
proper application techniques.
8. Verify maintenance of specified curing tem-
— X ACI 318: 26.4.7-26.4.9 1908.9
perature and techniques.
9. Inspect prestressed concrete for:
a. Application of prestressing forces; and X — ACI 318: 26.9.2.1 —
b. Grouting of bonded prestressing tendons. X — ACI 318: 26.9.2.3
10. Inspect erection of precast concrete members. — X ACI 318: Ch. 26.8 —
11. Verify in-situ concrete strength, prior to stress-
ing of tendons in post-tensioned concrete and
— X ACI 318: 26.10.2 —
prior to removal of shores and forms from
beams and structural slabs.
12. Inspect formwork for shape, location and
dimensions of the concrete member being — X ACI 318: 26.10.1(b) —
formed.
For SI: 1 inch = 25.4 mm.
a. Where applicable, see also Section 1705.12, Special inspections for seismic resistance.
b. Specific requirements for special inspection shall be included in the research report for the anchor issued by an approved source in accordance with 17.8.2 in
ACI 318, or other qualification procedures. Where specific requirements are not provided, special inspection requirements shall be specified by the registered
design professional and shall be approved by the building official prior to the commencement of the work.
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tion and manufacturing processes are such that the 1705.4.2 Vertical masonry foundation elements. Special
material is well suited for an acceptable quality of inspections and tests of vertical masonry foundation elements
weld. ACI 318 states that any standard other than shall be performed in accordance with Section 1705.4.
ASTM A706 used for reinforcement material would  Vertical masonry foundation elements such as
need to be supplemented for weldability require- masonry foundation walls must meet the special
ments. The intent of this provision is that, where inspection requirements specified for other masonry
welding of reinforcing steel is required, the steel elements. The section refers to the general provi-
specified and delivered must be checked for weldabil- sions for special inspection of masonry structures in
ity. Section 1705.4. It should be noted that masonry foun-
1705.4 Masonry construction. Special inspections and tests dation walls constructed in accordance with the pre-
of masonry construction shall be performed in accordance scriptive provisions and tables in Section 1807.1.6
with the quality assurance program requirements of TMS are specifically exempted from special inspection.
402/ACI 530/ASCE 5 and TMS 602/ACI 530.1/ASCE 6. 1705.5 Wood construction. Special inspections of prefabri-
Exception: Special inspections and tests shall not be cated wood structural elements and assemblies shall be in
required for: accordance with Section 1704.2.5. Special inspections of site-
built assemblies shall be in accordance with this section.
1. Empirically designed masonry, glass unit masonry  The fabrication process of wood structural elements
or masonry veneer designed in accordance with Sec- and assemblies (such as wood trusses) that is being
tion 2109, 2110 or Chapter 14, respectively, where performed on the premises of a fabricator’s shop
they are part of a structure classified as Risk Cate- must have special inspection in accordance with Sec-
gory I, II or III. tion 1704.2.5. As noted in Section 1704.2.5.1, special
2. Masonry foundation walls constructed in accordance inspection is not required in an approved fabricator’s
with Table 1807.1.6.3(1), 1807.1.6.3(2), shop.
1807.1.6.3(3) or 1807.1.6.3(4). 1705.5.1 High-load diaphragms. High-load diaphragms
designed in accordance with Section 2306.2 shall be installed
3. Masonry fireplaces, masonry heaters or masonry
with special inspections as indicated in Section 1704.2. The
chimneys installed or constructed in accordance
special inspector shall inspect the wood structural panel
with Section 2111, 2112 or 2113, respectively.
sheathing to ascertain whether it is of the grade and thickness
 Because the Masonry Standards Joint Committee shown on the approved construction documents. Addition-
(MSJC) Code (TMS 402/ACI 530/ASCE 5) contains ally, the special inspector must verify the nominal size of
quality assurance and inspection requirements for framing members at adjoining panel edges, the nail or staple
masonry structures, this section references TMS 402/ diameter and length, the number of fastener lines and that the
ACI 530/ASCE 5 and TMS 602/ACI 530.1/ASCE 6 spacing between fasteners in each line and at edge margins
MSJC Code and Specification for special inspection agrees with the approved construction documents.
requirements related to masonry construction. The  This section requires special inspection of specific
three exceptions exempt special inspection for: 1. portions of high-load diaphragms with multiple rows
Empirically designed masonry, glass unit masonry or of fasteners that are designed in accordance with
masonry veneer in structures classified as Risk Cate- Section 2306.2 [see Table 2306.2(2)]. These “high-
gory I, II or III; 2. Prescriptive masonry foundation load” diaphragms have multiple rows of fasteners and
walls constructed in accordance with the tables in are designed to carry higher wind or seismic loads,
Section 1807.1.6.3; and 3. Masonry fireplaces, heat- making it necessary to have a special inspector verify
ers and chimneys constructed in accordance with the the installation details.
requirements of Chapter 21.
1705.5.2 Metal-plate-connected wood trusses spanning 60
1705.4.1 Empirically designed masonry, glass unit feet or greater. Where a truss clear span is 60 feet (18 288
masonry and masonry veneer in Risk Category IV. Spe- mm) or greater, the special inspector shall verify that the tem-
cial inspections and tests for empirically designed masonry, porary installation restraint/bracing and the permanent indi-
glass unit masonry or masonry veneer designed in accordance vidual truss member restraint/bracing are installed in
with Section 2109, 2110 or Chapter 14, respectively, where accordance with the approved truss submittal package.
they are part of a structure classified as Risk Category IV  Longer span wood trusses require additional care
shall be performed in accordance with TMS 402/ACI 530/ during handling and installation due to their size and
ASCE 5, Level B Quality Assurance. weight. Special inspection of the bracing provides
 This section defines the minimum level of special verification that these critical elements are properly
inspections required for empirically designed installed in accordance with the approved truss sub-
masonry, glass unit masonry and masonry veneer in mittal.
Risk Category IV buildings. The section requires 1705.6 Soils. Special inspections and tests of existing site soil
compliance with the Level B Quality Assurance provi- conditions, fill placement and load-bearing requirements
sions contained in TMS 402/ACI 530/ASCE 5. shall be performed in accordance with this section and Table

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1705.6. The approved geotechnical report and the construc- density. This evaluation is needed so that the com-
tion documents prepared by the registered design profession- paction methods result in adequate soil-bearing
als shall be used to determine compliance. During fill capacity.
placement, the special inspector shall verify that proper mate- 1705.7 Driven deep foundations. Special inspections and
rials and procedures are used in accordance with the provi- tests shall be performed during installation of driven deep
sions of the approved geotechnical report. foundation elements as specified in Table 1705.7. The
Exception: Where Section 1803 does not require report- approved geotechnical report and the construction documents
ing of materials and procedures for fill placement, the spe- prepared by the registered design professionals shall be used
cial inspector shall verify that the in-place dry density of to determine compliance.
the compacted fill is not less than 90 percent of the maxi-  Table 1705.7 lists the special inspection verifications
mum dry density at optimum moisture content determined that are required for installation and testing of driven
in accordance with ASTM D1557. elements of deep foundations. A geotechnical investi-
 The load-bearing capacity of the supporting soil has a gation is required by Section 1803.5.5. The section
significant impact on the structural integrity of any establishes specific criteria that the geotechnical
building. The amount and methods of compaction report should include, which would also serve as the
vary depending on the particular design. Use of basis for the field verifications by a special inspector.
proper compaction, lift and density, however, is criti- TABLE 1705.7. See page 17-14.
cal to achieving the desired bearing capacity (see
Table 1705.6 for the specific inspections that are  This table provides a concise list of requirements for
required). When required by Section 1803, a geo- inspection and verification of materials, testing and
technical report must be provided, which would list installation of driven deep foundation elements and
the soil criteria that must be verified. Section 1804.5 indicates whether the inspection is continuous or
clarifies that compacted fill used to support founda- periodic.
tions must be in accordance with the criteria of an 1705.8 Cast-in-place deep foundations. Special inspections
approved geotechnical report, except for fill depths of and tests shall be performed during installation of cast-in-
12 inches (305 mm) or less. The exception in this place deep foundation elements as specified in Table 1705.8.
section provides minimum verification requirements The approved geotechnical report and the construction docu-
of compacted fill when it is not necessary to provide a ments prepared by the registered design professionals shall
geotechnical report. be used to determine compliance.
TABLE 1705.6. See below.  Table 1705.8 lists the special inspections that are re-
 Tabular formatting of soil inspections clearly conveys quired for cast-in-place elements of deep founda-
the requirements for determining soil-bearing capac- tions. A geotechnical investigation is required by Sec-
ity and for testing inspection of soils for controlled fill. tion 1803.5.5. This section establishes specific
The verifications prior to fill placement include verify- criteria that the geotechnical report should include,
ing that the site preparation meets specified require- which would also serve as the basis for field verifica-
ments, including proper excavation depth, removal of tions by a special inspector.
all deleterious material and any other special require- TABLE 1705.8. See page 17-14.
ments that the soils engineer deems necessary for  This table provides a concise list of requirements for
the design (see Items 1, 2 and 5). Verifications of the inspection and verification of materials, testing and
fill material and the placement operation are treated installation of cast-in-place deep foundation elements
in Items 3 and 4. Without observing and documenting and indicates whether the inspection is continuous or
that the proper material is used and the specified periodic.
compaction techniques and lifts are employed, the
specified load-bearing capacity may not be achieved. 1705.9 Helical pile foundations. Continuous special inspec-
A major factor in the design of the fill is the in-place tions shall be performed during installation of helical pile
foundations. The information recorded shall include installa-

TABLE 1705.6
REQUIRED SPECIAL INSPECTIONS AND TESTS OF SOILS
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TYPE CONTINUOUS SPECIAL INSPECTION PERIODIC SPECIAL INSPECTION


1. Verify materials below shallow foundations are adequate to
— X
achieve the design bearing capacity.
2. Verify excavations are extended to proper depth and have
— X
reached proper material.
3. Perform classification and testing of compacted fill materials. — X
4. Verify use of proper materials, densities and lift thicknesses
X —
during placement and compaction of compacted fill.
5. Prior to placement of compacted fill, inspect subgrade and ver-
— X
ify that site has been prepared properly.

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Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 17-13
SPECIAL INSPECTIONS AND TESTS

tion equipment used, pile dimensions, tip elevations, final 1705.11.1 through 1705.11.3, unless exempted by the excep-
depth, final installation torque and other pertinent installation tions to Section 1704.2, are required for buildings and struc-
data as required by the registered design professional in tures constructed in the following areas:
responsible charge. The approved geotechnical report and 1. In wind Exposure Category B, where Vasd as determined
the construction documents prepared by the registered design in accordance with Section 1609.3.1 is 120 miles per
professional shall be used to determine compliance. hour (52.8 m/sec) or greater.
 Helical piles are premanufactured and installed by 2. In wind Exposure Category C or D, where Vasd as deter-
rotating them into the ground (see definition of “Heli- mined in accordance with Section 1609.3.1 is 110 mph
cal pile” in Section 202). As with other types of deep (49 m/sec) or greater.
foundation elements, special inspection must be pro-
vided to verify that their installation conforms with the  This section contains the additional required special
approved geotechnical report and construction docu- inspections in areas that are more likely to experi-
ments. ence higher wind forces. This section focuses on the
specific areas of concern with respect to wind resis-
1705.10 Fabricated items. Special inspections of fabricated
tance as detailed in Sections 1705.11.1 for structural
items shall be performed in accordance with Section
wood, Section 1705.11.2 for cold-formed steel and
1704.2.5.
Section 1705.11.3 for components and cladding.
 This section serves as a reminder that the inspection 1705.11.1 Structural wood. Continuous special inspection is
of fabricated items is generally required except where required during field gluing operations of elements of the
work is done on the premises of an approved fabrica- main windforce-resisting system. Periodic special inspection
tor in accordance with Section 1704.2.5. is required for nailing, bolting, anchoring and other fastening
1705.11 Special inspections for wind resistance. Special of elements of the main windforce-resisting system, including
inspections for wind resistance specified in Sections

TABLE 1705.7
REQUIRED SPECIAL INSPECTIONS AND TESTS OF DRIVEN DEEP FOUNDATION ELEMENTS
TYPE CONTINUOUS SPECIAL INSPECTION PERIODIC SPECIAL INSPECTION
1. Verify element materials, sizes and lengths comply with
X —
the requirements.
2. Determine capacities of test elements and conduct addi-
X —
tional load tests, as required.
3. Inspect driving operations and maintain complete and
X —
accurate records for each element.
4. Verify placement locations and plumbness, confirm
type and size of hammer, record number of blows per
foot of penetration, determine required penetrations to X —
achieve design capacity, record tip and butt elevations
and document any damage to foundation element.
5. For steel elements, perform additional special inspec-
— —
tions in accordance with Section 1705.2.
6. For concrete elements and concrete-filled elements, per-
form tests and additional special inspections in accor- — —
dance with Section 1705.3.
7. For specialty elements, perform additional inspections
as determined by the registered design professional in — —
responsible charge.

TABLE 1705.8
REQUIRED SPECIAL INSPECTIONS AND TESTS OF CAST-IN-PLACE DEEP FOUNDATION ELEMENTS
TYPE CONTINUOUS SPECIAL INSPECTION PERIODIC SPECIAL INSPECTION
1. Inspect drilling operations and maintain complete and
X —
accurate records for each element.
2. Verify placement locations and plumbness, confirm
element diameters, bell diameters (if applicable),
lengths, embedment into bedrock (if applicable) and X —
adequate end-bearing strata capacity. Record concrete
or grout volumes.
3. For concrete elements, perform tests and additional spe-
— —
cial inspections in accordance with Section 1705.3.
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wood shear walls, wood diaphragms, drag struts, braces and blown off, windows are broken or other parts of the
hold-downs. structure fail. These are major causes of insurance
Exception: Special inspections are not required for wood claims. While such damage is not necessarily life-
shear walls, shear panels and diaphragms, including nail- threatening to the occupants, it does result in costly
ing, bolting, anchoring and other fastening to other ele- repairs and renovations. Estimates from Hurricane
ments of the main windforce-resisting system, where the Andrew, for example, indicate that water damage
fastener spacing of the sheathing is more than 4 inches was responsible for roughly 60 percent of the insured
(102 mm) on center. losses.
1705.12 Special inspections for seismic resistance. Special
 The risk of damage in buildings having main wind- inspections for seismic resistance shall be required as speci-
force-resisting systems that are constructed of wood
fied in Sections 1705.12.1 through 1705.12.9, unless
warrants additional special inspections. The excep-
exempted by the exceptions of Section 1704.2.
tion relaxes the special inspection requirement where
demands are low, which is reflected by the sheathing Exception: The special inspections specified in Sections
fastener spacing of more than 4 inches (102 mm) on 1705.12.1 through 1705.12.9 are not required for struc-
center. tures designed and constructed in accordance with one of
1705.11.2 Cold-formed steel light-frame construction. the following:
Periodic special inspection is required for welding operations 1. The structure consists of light-frame construction;
of elements of the main windforce-resisting system. Periodic the design spectral response acceleration at short
special inspection is required for screw attachment, bolting, periods, SDS, as determined in Section 1613.3.4, does
anchoring and other fastening of elements of the main wind- not exceed 0.5; and the building height of the struc-
force-resisting system, including shear walls, braces, dia- ture does not exceed 35 feet (10 668 mm).
phragms, collectors (drag struts) and hold-downs.
2. The seismic force-resisting system of the structure
Exception: Special inspections are not required for cold- consists of reinforced masonry or reinforced con-
formed steel light-frame shear walls and diaphragms, crete; the design spectral response acceleration at
including screwing, bolting, anchoring and other fastening short periods, SDS, as determined in Section
to components of the windforce resisting system, where 1613.3.4, does not exceed 0.5; and the building
either of the following applies: height of the structure does not exceed 25 feet (7620
1. The sheathing is gypsum board or fiberboard. mm).
2. The sheathing is wood structural panel or steel 3. The structure is a detached one- or two-family
sheets on only one side of the shear wall, shear panel dwelling not exceeding two stories above grade
or diaphragm assembly and the fastener spacing of plane and does not have any of the following hori-
the sheathing is more than 4 inches (102 mm) on zontal or vertical irregularities in accordance with
center (o.c.). Section 12.3 of ASCE 7:
 The risk of damage in buildings having main wind- 3.1. Torsional or extreme torsional irregularity.
force-resisting systems that are constructed of cold- 3.2. Nonparallel systems irregularity.
formed steel warrants additional special inspections.
The exception relaxes the special inspection require- 3.3. Stiffness-soft story or stiffness-extreme
ment where demands are low, which is reflected by soft story irregularity.
the sheathing fastener spacing of more than 4 inches 3.4. Discontinuity in lateral strength-weak story
(102 mm) on center, or where gypsum board or fiber- irregularity.
board sheathing is used.
 The added special inspection requirements for seis-
1705.11.3 Wind-resisting components. Periodic special mic resistance in this section are an important consid-
inspection is required for fastening of the following systems eration in carrying out the intent of the seismic
and components: provisions of the code. A certain amount of inelastic
1. Roof covering, roof deck and roof framing connections. behavior is inherent in a building’s response to the
design earthquake. Strong ground shaking caused by
2. Exterior wall covering and wall connections to roof and
earthquakes tends to expose any underlying flaws in
floor diaphragms and framing.
a building’s construction or design. Thus, the code
 The hazard addressed by this section is the cladding specifies additional special inspections of various
on buildings and structures in areas expected to structural and nonstructural components for seismic
experience higher wind forces. Damage to buildings resistance in order to provide further verification that
due to high wind forces often begins with a failure of these portions of the finished structure are con-
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the cladding system, which in turn exposes the main structed in accordance with the construction docu-
windforce-resisting system to forces that this system ments. It is imperative that the registered design
is typically not designed to withstand, as well as the professional who designs systems that are critical to
effects of wind-driven rain. Wind-driven rain damage earthquake performance also identifies them and
occurs to building interiors when roof coverings are specifies the necessary inspection and testing.

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Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 17-15
SPECIAL INSPECTIONS AND TESTS

Items 1 and 2 of the exception apply to light-frame no additional inspection or testing is required beyond
structures with a height no greater than 35 feet (10 that required for typical steel buildings in Section
668 mm) and concrete or masonry structures not 1705.2.1.
more than 25 feet (7620 mm) in height that have a 1705.12.1.2 Structural steel elements. Special inspections
relatively low seismic risk (where SDS does not of structural steel elements in the seismic force-resisting sys-
exceed 0.50g). tems of buildings and structures assigned to Seismic Design
Item 3 applies to detached one- or two-family Category B, C, D, E or F other than those covered in Section
dwellings not exceeding two stories above grade 1705.12.1.1, including struts, collectors, chords and founda-
plane without significant structural irregularities. The tion elements, shall be performed in accordance with the
exception is limited to those structures that do not quality assurance requirements of AISC 341.
have any of the following irregularities: torsional irreg-

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ularity; extreme torsional irregularity; nonparallel sys- Exception: Special inspections of structural steel ele-
tems; stiffness irregularity (soft story); stiffness ments are not required in the seismic force-resisting sys-
irregularity (extreme soft story); or discontinuity in tems of buildings and structures assigned to Seismic
capacity (weak story). Design Category B or C with a response modification
It is important to emphasize that this exception coefficient, R, of 3 or less.
allows exemption from additional special inspections,  This section covers structural steel elements such as
not from the design of the structure in accordance struts, collectors, chords and foundation elements
with the structural the requirements of the code. that provide resistance to seismic forces. These
1705.12.1 Structural steel. Special inspections for seismic structural steel elements should be inspected in
resistance shall be in accordance with Section 1705.12.1.1 or accordance with the quality assurance requirements
1705.12.1.2, as applicable. of AISC 341 if they are used in a seismic force-resist-
ing system that relies heavily on nonelastic energy
 This section distinguishes between structural steel dissipation, in this case chosen as a system with a
seismic-force resisting systems and structural steel response modification coefficient, R, greater than 3.
elements that work as struts, collectors, chords and
foundation elements in seismic force-resisting sys- 1705.12.2 Structural wood. For the seismic force-resisting
tems composed of other structural materials. systems of structures assigned to Seismic Design Category C,
D, E or F:
1705.12.1.1 Seismic force-resisting systems. Special inspec-
tions of structural steel in the seismic force-resisting systems 1. Continuous special inspection shall be required during
of buildings and structures assigned to Seismic Design Cate- field gluing operations of elements of the seismic force-
gory B, C, D, E or F shall be performed in accordance with resisting system.
the quality assurance requirements of AISC 341. 2. Periodic special inspection shall be required for nail-
Exception: Special inspections are not required in the ing, bolting, anchoring and other fastening of elements
seismic force-resisting systems of buildings and structures of the seismic force-resisting system, including wood
assigned to Seismic Design Category B or C that are not shear walls, wood diaphragms, drag struts, braces,
specifically detailed for seismic resistance, with a shear panels and hold-downs.
response modification coefficient, R, of 3 or less, exclud- Exception: Special inspections are not required for wood
ing cantilever column systems. shear walls, shear panels and diaphragms, including nail-
 This section requires the special inspection of seis- ing, bolting, anchoring and other fastening to other ele-
ments of the seismic force-resisting system, where the
mic force-resisting systems of structures classified as
Seismic Design Category B, C, D, E or F. It is appli- fastener spacing of the sheathing is more than 4 inches
(102 mm) on center.
cable to structural steel seismic force-resisting sys-
tems, which are the 16 structural steel systems listed  Continuous special inspection of field gluing opera-
in ASCE 7, Table 12.2-1. tions of structural wood is required, while special
This section makes a general reference to Seismic inspection of fastenings of components within the
Design Category B and higher for seismic force- seismic force-resisting system is required on a peri-
resisting systems because many of the structural sys- odic basis. Since special inspection should only be
tems that are required utilize special seismic detail- necessary for complex, highly loaded systems, an
ing. The exception recognizes that buildings exception waives the special inspection of fastening
classified as Seismic Design Category B or C may in shear walls and diaphragms that are lightly loaded.
utilize a seismic system that is designed using a Lower design loads mean these elements will have
response coefficient, R = 3. This recognizes the less stringent requirements for bolting, anchoring and
inherent ductility of these structures that are permit- fastening. The building official who is already inspect-
ted to be constructed in accordance with AISC 360 ing the sheathing will also inspect fastening in these
rather than being detailed in accordance with the pro- instances. Rather than being based on the compo-
visions of AISC 341. Since these construction details nent's design shear, the exception is based on the
and connections are the same as would be used in sheathing fastener spacing as a more practical
any steel buildings designed according to AISC 360, threshold. All things being equal, as the fastener

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SPECIAL INSPECTIONS AND TESTS

spacing decreases the component’s design load is 3. Interior nonbearing walls weighing 15 psf (73.5 N/
higher and the tighter spacing increases the potential m2) or less.
for splitting framing members. The latter concern is a
 Although this section is titled “Architectural compo-
quality issue associated primarily with nailing. nents,” the requirements refer specifically to exterior
1705.12.3 Cold-formed steel light-frame construction. For cladding, interior and exterior nonbearing walls and
the seismic force-resisting systems of structures assigned to interior and exterior veneer. It follows that architec-
Seismic Design Category C, D, E or F, periodic special tural components other than exterior cladding, interior
inspection shall be required: and exterior nonbearing walls and interior and exte-
1. For welding operations of elements of the seismic rior veneer are not subject to these inspections. It
force-resisting system; and applies to nonbearing walls, which are considered
nonstructural components as opposed to bearing
2. For screw attachment, bolting, anchoring and other fas- walls, which are structural elements and are therefore
tening of elements of the seismic force-resisting sys-
subject to the special inspections required for the
tem, including shear walls, braces, diaphragms, material used to construct the wall. Periodic special
collectors (drag struts) and hold-downs.
inspection of the installation of the listed architectural
Exception: Special inspections are not required for cold- components verifies that the intent of the design is
formed steel light-frame shear walls and diaphragms, carried out in the field. The listed components are
including screw installation, bolting, anchoring and other often supported at different levels of a structure,
fastening to components of the seismic force-resisting sys- meaning the component and connection design must
tem, where either of the following applies: consider relative movements. Where connections are
1. The sheathing is gypsum board or fiberboard. designed to allow for relative displacements, verifying
that the installation is in accordance with the con-
2. The sheathing is wood structural panel or steel struction documents is a prudent measure. The spe-
sheets on only one side of the shear wall, shear panel cial inspector should verify that the method of
or diaphragm assembly and the fastener spacing of anchoring or fastening and the number, spacing and
the sheathing is more than 4 inches (102 mm) on
types of fasteners actually used conform with the
center. approved construction documents for the component
 Periodic special inspection is required for cold-formed installed.
steel framing and its fastening. The exception relaxes Exception 1 exempts construction that is not more
the special inspection requirement where demands than 30 feet (9144 mm) above grade or above a walk-
are low, which is reflected by the sheathing fastener ing surface. Exception 2 exempts cladding and
spacing of more than 4 inches (102 mm) on center, or veneer weighing 5 psf (24.5 N/m2) or less from spe-
where gypsum board or fiberboard sheathing is used. cial inspection. Exception 3 exempts interior nonbear-
1705.12.4 Designated seismic systems. For structures ing walls, but not exterior nonbearing walls, weighing
assigned to Seismic Design Category C, D, E or F, the special 15 psf (73.5 N/m2) or less from special inspection.
inspector shall examine designated seismic systems requiring Restated, this section requires periodic special
seismic qualification in accordance with Section 13.2.2 of inspection for the erection and fastening of exterior
ASCE 7 and verify that the label, anchorage and mounting nonbearing walls, cladding and veneer weighing
conform to the certificate of compliance. more than 5 psf (24.5 N/m2) and interior nonbearing
walls weighing more than 15 psf (73.5 N/m2) when
 For elements of the designated seismic system as any of these components are installed more than 30
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defined in Section 202, the special inspector is feet (9144 mm) above grade or a walking surface.
required to verify that the component label, anchor-
age and mounting conforms to the certificate of com- 1705.12.5.1 Access floors. Periodic special inspection is
pliance. required for the anchorage of access floors in structures
assigned to Seismic Design Category D, E or F.
1705.12.5 Architectural components. Periodic special
inspection is required for the erection and fastening of exte-  Access floors consist of a system of panels and sup-
rior cladding, interior and exterior nonbearing walls and inte- ports that create a raised floor above the actual struc-
rior and exterior veneer in structures assigned to Seismic tural floor system. By raising the floor, a space is
Design Category D, E or F. created between the raised floor and the structural
floor where various components such as wiring for
Exception: Periodic special inspection is not required for power, voice and data can be routed. This space has
the following: also become increasingly valuable for heating, venti-
1. Exterior cladding, interior and exterior nonbearing lation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) distribution either
walls and interior and exterior veneer 30 feet (9144 as a plenum space or with defined ductwork.
mm) or less in height above grade or walking sur- Because failure of the floor system can pose a threat
face. to the occupants in high seismic areas, anchorage of
2. Exterior cladding and interior and exterior veneer access floors require periodic special inspection in
weighing 5 psf (24.5 N/m2) or less. buildings as classified Seismic Design Category D, E
or F.

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Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 17-17
SPECIAL INSPECTIONS AND TESTS

1705.12.6 Plumbing, mechanical and electrical compo- (2438 mm) or greater in height in structures assigned to Seis-
nents. Periodic special inspection of plumbing, mechanical mic Design Category D, E or F.
and electrical components shall be required for the following:
 Tall storage racks such as those found in large build-
1. Anchorage of electrical equipment for emergency and ing supply stores pose a threat to the public in high
standby power systems in structures assigned to Seis- seismic areas. Because anchorage is the most criti-
mic Design Category C, D, E or F. cal element, anchorage of storage racks greater than
2. Anchorage of other electrical equipment in structures or equal to 8 feet (2438 mm) in height in structures
assigned to Seismic Design Category E or F. assigned to Seismic Design Category D, E or F
require periodic special inspection.
3. Installation and anchorage of piping systems designed
to carry hazardous materials and their associated 1705.12.8 Seismic isolation systems. Periodic special
mechanical units in structures assigned to Seismic inspection shall be provided for seismic isolation systems in
Design Category C, D, E or F. seismically isolated structures assigned to Seismic Design
Category B, C, D, E or F during the fabrication and installa-
4. Installation and anchorage of ductwork designed to tion of isolator units and energy dissipation devices.
carry hazardous materials in structures assigned to Seis-
mic Design Category C, D, E or F.  Seismic isolation units and energy dissipation
devices are required to have periodic special inspec-
5. Installation and anchorage of vibration isolation sys- tion during fabrication and installation.
tems in structures assigned to Seismic Design Category
C, D, E or F where the approved construction docu- 1705.12.9 Cold-formed steel special bolted moment
ments require a nominal clearance of 1/4 inch (6.4 mm) frames. Periodic special inspection shall be provided for the
or less between the equipment support frame and installation of cold-formed steel special bolted moment
restraint. frames in the seismic force-resisting systems of structures
assigned to Seismic Design Category D, E or F.
 It is anticipated that the minimum requirements for
mechanical and electrical components will be com-  This section requires special inspections for the
plied with when the special inspector is satisfied that installation of cold-formed steel special bolted
the method of anchoring or fastening and the number, moment frames, which are a newer type of seismic
spacing and types of fasteners actually used conform force-resisting system that is permitted by ASCE 7.
to the approved construction documents for the com- The standard for Seismic Design of Cold-formed
ponents installed. It is noted that such special inspec- Steel Structural Systems: Special Bolted Moment
tion requirements are for selected electrical, lighting, Frames, AISI S110, contains provisions for inspec-
piping and ductwork components in structures that tions that are limited to quality control by the fabrica-
are assigned to Seismic Design Category C, D, E or tor and inspections by qualified inspectors
F. Periodic special inspection is required during the representing the owner. The structural design of
anchorage of electrical equipment for emergency or these frames is sufficiently complex to warrant
standby power systems, installation and anchorage of inspection by a person with the expertise of a special
piping systems designed to carry hazardous materials inspector. Especially complex areas of the structural
and their mechanical units, and installation and design that warrant special inspection of the installa-
anchorage of ductwork designed to carry hazardous tion include the beam-to-column connections and the
materials in structures assigned to Seismic Design anchorage to the foundation.
Category C, D, E or F. Periodic special inspection is 1705.13 Testing for seismic resistance. Testing for seismic
required during the anchorage for other electrical resistance shall be required as specified in Sections 1705.13.1
equipment in structures assigned to Seismic Design through 1705.13.4, unless exempted from special inspections
Category E or F. by the exceptions of Section 1704.2.
Item 5 requires the inspection of vibration isolation  This section specifies when material seismic-resis-
systems where an optional lower clearance is speci- tance tests for seismic force-resisting systems and
fied by the design. Typically, vibration-isolated designated seismic systems are required. These
mechanical equipment requires an increased seismic requirements supplement the test requirements con-
design force. Note b of Table 13.6-1 of ASCE 7 pro- tained in the referenced standards given in other sec-
vides an option to reduce this seismic design force on tions of the code. The seismic provisions of the code
vibration-isolated components and systems having a are frequently based on assumed material behavior.
clearance of 1/4 inch (6.4 mm) or less between the Material tests are key to verifying the quality of mater-
equipment support frame and restraint. To confirm ial that is used for certain seismic-resistant construc-
that the design intent is carried out in the field, isolated tion.
equipment installations that utilize a reduced clear- Some inelastic behavior can be anticipated in a
ance are subject to special inspection. building’s response to the design earthquake. Strong
1705.12.7 Storage racks. Periodic special inspection is ground shaking caused by earthquakes tends to ex-
required for the anchorage of storage racks that are 8 feet pose any underlying flaws in a building’s construction
or design. Thus, the code specifies testing of some
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structural and nonstructural components as addi- foundation elements, shall be performed in accordance with
tional verification that the seismic resistance provided the quality assurance requirements of AISC 341.
in the finished structure meets the intent of the Exception: Nondestructive testing of structural steel ele-
design. It is imperative that the professional who ments is not required in the seismic force-resisting systems
designs systems that are critical to the earthquake of buildings and structures assigned to Seismic Design
performance also identifies them and specifies the Category B or C with a response modification coefficient,
necessary testing in the statement of special inspec- R, of 3 or less.
tions
 Testing for these structural steel elements should be
1705.13.1 Structural steel. Nondestructive testing for seis- provided in accordance with the quality assurance
mic resistance shall be in accordance with Section requirements of AISC 341 if they are used in a seis-
1705.13.1.1 or 1705.13.1.2, as applicable. mic force-resisting system that relies heavily on non-
 This section requires nondestructive testing for seis- elastic energy dissipation, in this case chosen as a
mic resistance and distinctions are drawn between system with a response modification coefficient, R,
structural steel seismic force-resisting systems and greater than 3. Requirements for nondestructive test-
structural steel elements that work as struts, collec- ing of structural steel elements is now governed by
tors, chords and foundation elements in seismic AISC 341. Testing is not required for Seismic Design
force-resisting systems. Categories B and C where relatively low inelastic
demands are expected (i.e., where the response
1705.13.1.1 Seismic force-resisting systems. Nondestruc- modification coefficient, R, is 3 or less). Because of
tive testing of structural steel in the seismic force-resisting their low redundancy, cantilever column systems are
systems of buildings and structures assigned to Seismic not exempted from testing.
Design Category B, C, D, E or F shall be performed in accor-
dance with the quality assurance requirements of AISC 341. 1705.13.2 Nonstructural components. For structures
assigned to Seismic Design Category B, C, D, E or F, where
Exception: Nondestructive testing is not required in the the requirements of Section 13.2.1 of ASCE 7 for nonstruc-
seismic force-resisting systems of buildings and structures tural components, supports or attachments are met by seismic
assigned to Seismic Design Category B or C that are not qualification as specified in Item 2 therein, the registered
specifically detailed for seismic resistance, with a design professional shall specify on the approved construc-
response modification coefficient, R, of 3 or less, exclud- tion documents the requirements for seismic qualification by
ing cantilever column systems. analysis, testing or experience data. Certificates of compli-
 Structural steel must be tested as required by AISC ance for the seismic qualification shall be submitted to the
341. Appendix Q of AISC 341 provides the code user building official as specified in Section 1704.5.
with the minimum acceptable requirements for a  Where required, nonstructural components must
quality assurance plan that applies to the construc- comply with the general design provisions of Section
tion of welded joints, bolted joints and other details in 13.2.1 of ASCE 7, which permits justification of com-
the seismic-force-resisting system. Where appropri- ponents by project-specific design or certification by
ate, the appendix references AWS D1.1 for specific the manufacturer (through analysis, testing or experi-
acceptance criteria. ence data). Where the option of seismic qualification
This section makes a general reference to Seismic by analysis, testing or experience data detailed in
Design Category B and higher for seismic-force- Section 13.2.1, Item 2, of ASCE 7 is chosen, the
resisting systems because many of the structural sys- requirements to document the parameters for seismic
tems that are required utilize special detailing. The qualification on the construction documents and to
exception recognizes that buildings classified as submit the certificate of compliance for seismic quali-
Seismic Design Category B or C may employ a seis- fication to the building official apply. These require-
mic system that is designed using a response coeffi- ments are the consequence of the design team
cient, R = 3. This recognizes the inherent ductility of choosing to comply utilizing seismic qualification
these structures that are permitted to be constructed rather than the design option in Section 13.2.1, Item 1
in accordance with AISC 360, and not be detailed in of ASCE 7. In addition, the registered design profes-
accordance with the provisions of AISC 341. Since sional responsible should review and accept the cer-
these construction details and connections are the tificate of compliance before its submission to the
same as would be used in any steel building building official. Note that ICC Evaluation Service’s
designed according to AISC 360, no additional AC 156, “Acceptance Criteria for Seismic Qualifica-
inspection or testing is required beyond that required tion by Shake-table Testing of Nonstructural Compo-
for typical steel buildings in Section 1705.2.1. nents and Systems,” provides testing criteria that can
1705.13.1.2 Structural steel elements. Nondestructive test- be used to comply with this provision.
ing of structural steel elements in the seismic force-resisting 1705.13.3 Designated seismic systems. For structures
systems of buildings and structures assigned to Seismic assigned to Seismic Design Category C, D, E or F and with
Design Category B, C, D, E or F other than those covered in designated seismic systems that are subject to the require-
Section 1705.13.1.1, including struts, collectors, chords and ments of Section 13.2.2 of ASCE 7 for certification, the reg-

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Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 17-19
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istered design professional shall specify on the approved strate compliance with the listing and the fire-resistance rat-
construction documents the requirements to be met by analy- ing:
sis, testing or experience data as specified therein. Certifi- 1. Condition of substrates.
cates of compliance documenting that the requirements are
met shall be submitted to the building official as specified in 2. Thickness of application.
Section 1704.5. 3. Density in pounds per cubic foot (kg/m3).
 The registered design professional is required to 4. Bond strength adhesion/cohesion.

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specify the applicable seismic certification require- 5. Condition of finished application.
ments on the construction documents for designated
seismic systems. This is necessary for the manufac-  To verify that an SFRM performs as intended, certain
turer who is required to provide a certificate of compli- conditions are required to be met. The verifications
ance. Affected mechanical and electrical components include: substrate conditions, thickness and density
are required to demonstrate seismic performance by of material and condition of the finished application.
testing or analytical methods. The intent is to verify Section 704.13 states the substrate condition and fin-
the ability of critical equipment to not only survive an ished condition requirements.
earthquake but also to remain functional. This is [BF] 1705.14.2 Structural member surface conditions. The
accomplished by the special certification of desig- surfaces shall be prepared in accordance with the approved
nated seismic systems. fire-resistance design and the written instructions of
1705.13.4 Seismic isolation systems. Seismic isolation sys- approved manufacturers. The prepared surface of structural
tems in seismically isolated structures assigned to Seismic members to be sprayed shall be inspected by the special
Design Category B, C, D, E or F shall be tested in accordance inspector before the application of the sprayed fire-resistant
with Section 17.8 of ASCE 7. material.
 The referenced section of ASCE 7 contains detailed  The integrity of an SFRM system depends on the
provisions for isolation system testing. This testing conditions of the surface of the steel member to
provides effective stiffness and damping values to be which it is applied. The system must be fully adhered
used in the design of a seismically isolated structure. to the surface for proper performance, in accordance
A minimum of two full-size specimens must be tested with design values. See Section 704.13.3.1 for
for each proposed type and size of isolator. These requirements related to the substrate surface condi-
prototypes are not to be used in the construction tions.
unless approved by both the registered design pro- [BF] 1705.14.3 Application. The substrate shall have a mini-
fessional and building official. mum ambient temperature before and after application as
[BF] 1705.14 Sprayed fire-resistant materials. Special specified in the written instructions of approved manufactur-
inspections and tests of sprayed fire-resistant materials ers. The area for application shall be ventilated during and
applied to floor, roof and wall assemblies and structural after application as required by the written instructions of
members shall be performed in accordance with Sections approved manufacturers.
1705.14.1 through 1705.14.6. Special inspections shall be  During application of SFRM, and immediately there-
based on the fire-resistance design as designated in the after during cure of the material, several items must
approved construction documents. The tests set forth in this be controlled, including the ambient temperature dur-
section shall be based on samplings from specific floor, roof ing the application and temperature of the substrate
and wall assemblies and structural members. Special inspec- and the SFRM. Temperature control is important to
tions and tests shall be performed after the rough installation determine that the necessary chemical reactions
of electrical, automatic sprinkler, mechanical and plumbing needed to make a particular material bond to the
systems and suspension systems for ceilings, where applica- steel surfaces and hold together do, in fact, happen.
ble. The minimum or maximum temperatures necessary
 Section 704.13 contains code requirements for the for proper bond and cure depend on the specific type
application of sprayed fire-resistant materials of material (see Section 704.13.4 for more informa-
(SFRM). The application must be in accordance with tion). The scope of the special inspection also
the terms and conditions of the listing and the manu- includes verification of the proper ventilation during
facturer's instructions. The special inspection of application, as well as for curing.
SFRM verifies that the requirements for thickness, [BF] 1705.14.4 Thickness. No more than 10 percent of the
density and bond strength specified in the design thickness measurements of the sprayed fire-resistant materi-
have been satisfied by the actual installation. These als applied to floor, roof and wall assemblies and structural
inspections are to be performed after the rough instal- members shall be less than the thickness required by the
lation of mechanical, electrical, plumbing, automatic approved fire-resistance design, but in no case less than the
sprinkler systems and ceiling suspension systems. minimum allowable thickness required by Section
[BF] 1705.14.1 Physical and visual tests. The special 1705.14.4.1.
inspections and tests shall include the following to demon-  For the system to provide the required design fire-
resistance rating, it must be applied at the appropri-

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ate thickness. This section establishes an acceptable ness testing shall be performed on not less than 25 percent of
percentage of thickness readings that can fall below the structural members on each floor.
the specified design value, provided none of these
 Sampling of the SFRM for structural elements is
readings are less than the minimum established in
based on the square footage of each floor. Sample
Section 1705.14.4.1. These limitations on the thick-
size and number of elements represented are based
ness measurements are intended to provide a high
on ASTM E605.
confidence level that the installed material meets, or
exceeds, the design requirements. [BF] 1705.14.4.6 Beams and girders. At beams and girders
thickness measurements shall be made at nine locations
[BF] 1705.14.4.1 Minimum allowable thickness. For design
around the beam or girder at each end of a 12-inch (305 mm)
thicknesses 1 inch (25 mm) or greater, the minimum allow-
length.
able individual thickness shall be the design thickness minus
1/4 inch (6.4 mm). For design thicknesses less than 1 inch (25  This section is consistent with the procedure in ASTM
mm), the minimum allowable individual thickness shall be E605 for beams.
the design thickness minus 25 percent. Thickness shall be [BF] 1705.14.4.7 Joists and trusses. At joists and trusses,
determined in accordance with ASTM E605. Samples of the thickness measurements shall be made at seven locations
sprayed fire-resistant materials shall be selected in accor- around the joist or truss at each end of a 12-inch (305 mm)
dance with Sections 1705.14.4.2 and 1705.14.4.3. length.
 This requirement prevents the combination of very  This section is consistent with the procedure in ASTM
thin readings with thicker readings in order to show E605 for joists.
compliance. The required sampling provided for floor,
roof and wall assemblies in Section 1705.14.4.2 and [BF] 1705.14.4.8 Wide-flanged columns. At wide-flanged
structural members in Section 1705.14.4.3 is based columns, thickness measurements shall be made at 12 loca-
on ASTM E605 with some modifications. This stan- tions around the column at each end of a 12-inch (305 mm)
dard also provides testing methods that are com- length.
monly used by the industry.  This section is consistent with the procedure in ASTM
[BF] 1705.14.4.2 Floor, roof and wall assemblies. The E605 for columns.
thickness of the sprayed fire-resistant material applied to [BF] 1705.14.4.9 Hollow structural section and pipe col-
floor, roof and wall assemblies shall be determined in accor- umns. At hollow structural section and pipe columns, thick-
dance with ASTM E605, making not less than four measure- ness measurements shall be made at a minimum of four
ments for each 1,000 square feet (93 m2) of the sprayed area, locations around the column at each end of a 12-inch (305
or portion thereof, in each story. mm) length.
 Sampling of an SFRM for membrane components  This section provides guidance for the thickness
(floors, roofs or walls) is based on the square footage sampling of hollow structural sections that is not pro-
of the components. The number of samples is vided in ASTM E605.
increased in the code by using a sampling area of
[BF] 1705.14.5 Density. The density of the sprayed fire-
every 1,000 square feet (93 m2) rather than 10,000
resistant material shall not be less than the density specified
square feet (929 m2) as is specified in ASTM E605.
in the approved fire-resistance design. Density of the sprayed
This is intended to provide a higher level of confi-
fire-resistant material shall be determined in accordance with
dence in the performance of the installed assembly.
ASTM E605. The test samples for determining the density of
[BF] 1705.14.4.3 Cellular decks. Thickness measurements the sprayed fire-resistant materials shall be selected as fol-
shall be selected from a square area, 12 inches by 12 inches lows:
(305 mm by 305 mm) in size. A minimum of four measure-
ments shall be made, located symmetrically within the square 1. From each floor, roof and wall assembly at the rate of
area. not less than one sample for every 2,500 square feet
(232 m2) or portion thereof of the sprayed area in each
 This section is consistent with the procedure in ASTM story.
E605 for flat decks.
2. From beams, girders, trusses and columns at the rate of
[BF] 1705.14.4.4 Fluted decks. Thickness measurements not less than one sample for each type of structural
shall be selected from a square area, 12 inches by 12 inches member for each 2,500 square feet (232 m2) of floor
(305 mm by 305 mm) in size. A minimum of four measure- area or portion thereof in each story.
ments shall be made, located symmetrically within the square
area, including one each of the following: valley, crest and  The density of an SFRM will have an impact on the
sides. The average of the measurements shall be reported. fire-resistance rating of the system. Therefore, it is
important that the density of the material be mea-
 This section is consistent with the procedure in ASTM sured to verify that the product is as designed. The
E605 for fluted decks. sampling requirements differ from those for thickness
[BF] 1705.14.4.5 Structural members. The thickness of the measurements. The required method of determining
sprayed fire-resistant material applied to structural members density is provided in ASTM E605, but the sample
shall be determined in accordance with ASTM E605. Thick- size is based on a sampling area of every 2,500

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square feet (232 m2) rather than 10,000 square feet opposed to the adhesion obtained by the rated material
(929 m2), as is specified in ASTM E605. This is applied on bare, clean steel. Where the listing does not
intended to provide a higher level of confidence in the consider application over such materials, then its bond
performance of the finished assembly. strength must be determined as described in this sec-
[BF] 1705.14.6 Bond strength. The cohesive/adhesive bond tion. It is necessary to apply a bonding agent when the
strength of the cured sprayed fire-resistant material applied to bond strength is less than required due to the effect of
floor, roof and wall assemblies and structural members shall an encapsulated, painted or primed surface. Also see
not be less than 150 pounds per square foot (psf) (7.18 kN/ Section 704.13.3.2 for additional conditions on applica-
m2). The cohesive/adhesive bond strength shall be deter- tion of the SFRM.
mined in accordance with the field test specified in ASTM [BF] 1705.15 Mastic and intumescent fire-resistant coat-
E736 by testing in-place samples of the sprayed fire-resistant ings. Special inspections and tests for mastic and intumescent
material selected in accordance with Sections 1705.14.6.1 fire-resistant coatings applied to structural elements and
through 1705.14.6.3. decks shall be performed in accordance with AWCI 12-B.
 The adhesion of a sprayed-on material is critical to its Special inspections and tests shall be based on the fire-resis-
tance design as designated in the approved construction doc-
performance. This is the key factor in minimizing the
chances of the material becoming dislodged. A mini- uments.
mum cohesive/adhesive bond strength of 150 pounds  Special inspection of mastic and intumescent fire-
per square foot (psf) (7.18 kN/m2) is required in this resistant coatings is needed because these products
section based on the American Institute of Architects are often complex systems that require special exper-
(AIA) Master Specification and the recommendations tise from applicators and quality assurance person-
of the General Services Administration (GSA) for nel. It is essential to confirm that their installation is in
durability and serviceability of the material. While this accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and
minimum bond strength may be generally suitable, the terms of their listing so that they will perform as
note that Section 403.2.4 provides more stringent expected.
requirements that apply to high-rise buildings, where 1705.16 Exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS).
the consequences of dislodged materials can be Special inspections shall be required for all EIFS applica-
much greater. tions.
[BF] 1705.14.6.1 Floor, roof and wall assemblies. The test Exceptions:
samples for determining the cohesive/adhesive bond strength
of the sprayed fire-resistant materials shall be selected from 1. Special inspections shall not be required for EIFS
each floor, roof and wall assembly at the rate of not less than applications installed over a water-resistive barrier
one sample for every 2,500 square feet (232 m2) of the with a means of draining moisture to the exterior.
sprayed area, or portion thereof, in each story. 2. Special inspections shall not be required for EIFS
 The sampling rate for bond in this section matches applications installed over masonry or concrete
the sampling rate for determining density. walls.
[BF] 1705.14.6.2 Structural members. The test samples for  Special inspections are required for all EIFS installa-
determining the cohesive/adhesive bond strength of the tions except for the two exceptions in this section.
sprayed fire-resistant materials shall be selected from beams, Exception 1 recognizes that EIFS that are installed
girders, trusses, columns and other structural members at the over a water-resistive barrier, incorporate flashings at
rate of not less than one sample for each type of structural penetrations and terminations, and drain to the exte-
member for each 2,500 square feet (232 m2) of floor area or rior afford a built-in redundancy against water pene-
portion thereof in each story. tration that makes the need for special inspections
less critical.
 The bond strength sampling rate in this section is the Exception 2 recognizes that concrete and masonry
same as that indicated in Section 1705.14.5 for deter- substrates are relatively durable and the exposure to
mining density. moisture does not necessarily have a detrimental
[BF] 1705.14.6.3 Primer, paint and encapsulant bond effect on these materials. In addition, these sub-
tests. Bond tests to qualify a primer, paint or encapsulant strates pose a barrier to moisture and tend to provide
shall be conducted when the sprayed fire-resistant material is some redundancy against water infiltration.
applied to a primed, painted or encapsulated surface for 1705.16.1 Water-resistive barrier coating. A water-resis-
which acceptable bond-strength performance between these tive barrier coating complying with ASTM E2570 requires
coatings and the fire-resistant material has not been deter- special inspection of the water-resistive barrier coating when
mined. A bonding agent approved by the SFRM manufac- installed over a sheathing substrate.
turer shall be applied to a primed, painted or encapsulated
surface where the bond strengths are found to be less than  Where an EIFS is utilized in residential occupancies
required values. of Type V construction, an EIFS with drainage is
required by Chapter 14. This specific type of system
 The in-place adhesion of SFRM can be reduced by a incorporates a means of drainage applied over a
factor of 10 when applied over certain primers as water-resistive barrier, and Chapter 14 allows a
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water-resistive barrier coating complying with ASTM is intended to verify that the appropriate system has
E2570 as an option. This section requires special been specified and that the installation is in confor-
inspection of that barrier coating. mance with its listing.
[BF] 1705.17 Fire-resistant penetrations and joints. In [BF] 1705.17.2 Fire-resistant joint systems. Inspection of
high-rise buildings or in buildings assigned to Risk Category fire-resistant joint systems that are tested and listed in accor-
III or IV, special inspections for through-penetrations, mem- dance with Sections 715.3 and 715.4 shall be conducted by an
brane penetration firestops, fire-resistant joint systems and approved agency in accordance with ASTM E2393.
perimeter fire barrier systems that are tested and listed in  A “joint” is defined as a “linear opening in or between
accordance with Sections 714.3.1.2, 714.4.2, 715.3 and adjacent fire-resistance-rated assemblies that is
715.4 shall be in accordance with Section 1705.17.1 or designed to allow independent movement of the
1705.17.2. building in any plane caused by thermal, seismic,
 Through-penetration and membrane-penetration fire- wind or any other loading.” The joint creates an inter-
stop systems, as well as fire-resistant joint systems ruption of the fire-resistant integrity of the wall or floor
and perimeter fire barrier systems, are critical to system, requiring the use of an appropriate fire-resis-
maintaining the fire-resistive integrity of fire-resis- tant joint system. The code mandates general instal-
tance-rated construction, including fire walls, fire bar- lation criteria for such systems and requires them to
riers, fire partitions, smoke barriers and horizontal be tested in accordance with ASTM E1966 or UL
assemblies. The proper selection and installation of 2079. Much like the inspection of penetration firestop
such systems must be in compliance with the code systems, the proper choice and installation of fire-
and/or appropriate listing. With thousands of listed resistant joint systems can be verified through a com-
firestop and joint systems available, each with varia- prehensive special inspection process.
tions that multiply possible systems for a building Although regulated under the provisions for fire-
exponentially, the selection of the correct system is resistant joint systems, a second type of system is
not a generic process. Where such systems are used technically not a joint but rather an extension of pro-
in two types of buildings considered as “high risk,” it is tection afforded by a horizontal assembly. The void
mandatory that they be included as a part of the spe- created at the intersection of an exterior curtain wall
cial inspection process. Such “high risk” buildings are assembly and a fire-resistance-rated floor or floor/
identified as: ceiling assembly must be filled in a manner that main-
• Buildings assigned to Risk Category III or IV in tains the integrity of the horizontal assembly. The
accordance with Section 1604.5; and system utilized to fill the void must be in compliance
with ASTM E2307 and able to resist the passage of
• High-rise buildings.
flame for a time period equal to that of the floor
Although the proper application of firestop and joint assembly. Special inspection is necessary to verify
system requirements is very important in all types and that the appropriate joint system is chosen and
sizes of buildings, the requirement for special inspec- installed.
tion is limited to specific building types that represent [F] 1705.18 Testing for smoke control. Smoke control sys-
a substantial hazard to human life in the event of a tems shall be tested by a special inspector.
system failure or that are considered to be essential
facilities. Inspection to ASTM E2174 for penetration  Smoke control systems are unique and complex life
firestop systems and ASTM E2393 for fire-resistant safety systems that need to be tested by special
joint systems brings an increased level of review to inspection.
these applications. [F] 1705.18.1 Testing scope. The test scope shall be as fol-
[BF] 1705.17.1 Penetration firestops. Inspections of pene- lows:
tration firestop systems that are tested and listed in accor- 1. During erection of ductwork and prior to concealment
dance with Sections 714.3.1.2 and 714.4.2 shall be conducted for the purposes of leakage testing and recording of
by an approved agency in accordance with ASTM E2174. device location.
 A primary method of addressing a penetration of a 2. Prior to occupancy and after sufficient completion for
fire-resistance-rated wall assembly is through the use the purposes of pressure difference testing, flow mea-
of an approved firestop system installed in accor- surements and detection and control verification.
dance with ASTM E814 or UL 1479. The system
 Special inspections must occur at two different
must have an F rating that is not less than the fire-
stages during the installation of a smoke control sys-
resistance rating of the wall being penetrated. It is
tem. The first round of special inspections occurs
critical that the firestop system be appropriate for the
before concealment of the ductwork or fire protection
penetration being protected. The choice of firestop
elements. At this stage, the special inspector needs
systems varies based upon the size and material of
to verify that duct leakage is in accordance with Sec-
the penetrating item, as well as the construction
tion 909.10.2. Additionally, the locations of all fire pro-
materials and fire-resistance rating of the wall being
tection devices need to be verified and documented
penetrated. Special inspection of the firestop system
at this time. The second round of special inspections
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occurs just prior to occupancy in order to more under the provisions of this code shall be borne by the owner
closely replicate the conditions under which the sys- or the owner’s authorized agent.
tem must operate. The inspections include the verifi-
cation of pressure differences across smoke barriers  Test reports from approved agencies may be used as
as required in Sections 909.5.1 and 909.18.6, the a basis for approval of materials that are not within
verification of appropriate volumes of airflow as noted the purview of any approved rules (i.e., “new materi-
in the design, and the verification of the appropriate als” as mentioned in Section 1701.2). This section
operation of the detection and control mechanisms as directly references Section 104.11. It is within the
required in Sections 909.18.1 and 909.18.7 (see Sec- power of the building official to accept reports from an
tion 909.18.8.3 for report requirements). approved agency. In determining the approval, the
building official should check that the agency is an
[F] 1705.18.2 Qualifications. Approved agencies for smoke independent third-party agency with no financial or
control testing shall have expertise in fire protection engi- fiduciary affiliations with the applicant or material sup-
neering, mechanical engineering and certification as air bal- plier. The capability and competency of the agency
ancers. must also be examined.
 Expertise in fire protection engineering, mechanical
engineering and certification as air balancers is
required in order to verify that the smoke control test- SECTION 1708
ing will be performed in a competent manner. IN-SITU LOAD TESTS
1708.1 General. Whenever there is a reasonable doubt as to
the stability or load-bearing capacity of a completed building,
SECTION 1706 structure or portion thereof for the expected loads, an engi-
DESIGN STRENGTHS OF MATERIALS neering assessment shall be required. The engineering assess-
ment shall involve either a structural analysis or an in-situ
1706.1 Conformance to standards. The design strengths
load test, or both. The structural analysis shall be based on
and permissible stresses of any structural material that are
actual material properties and other as-built conditions that
identified by a manufacturer’s designation as to manufacture
affect stability or load-bearing capacity, and shall be con-
and grade by mill tests, or the strength and stress grade is oth-
ducted in accordance with the applicable design standard. If
erwise confirmed to the satisfaction of the building official,
the structural assessment determines that the load-bearing
shall conform to the specifications and methods of design of
capacity is less than that required by the code, load tests shall
accepted engineering practice or the approved rules in the
be conducted in accordance with Section 1708.2. If the build-
absence of applicable standards.
ing, structure or portion thereof is found to have inadequate
 Structural materials must conform to applicable stability or load-bearing capacity for the expected loads,
design standards, approved rules and accepted modifications to ensure structural adequacy or the removal of
methods of engineering practice. Conformance to the inadequate construction shall be required.
these provisions and to the manufacturer’s designa-
 The intent of this section is to verify the adequacy of a
tions provides the building official with the information
structure via structural analyses and/or load tests
needed to verify whether the materials will perform
where there is reasonable doubt whether the struc-
their intended function satisfactorily.
ture has sufficient capacity.
1706.2 New materials. For materials that are not specifically A load test procedure must simulate the actual load
provided for in this code, the design strengths and permissible conditions to which the structure will be subjected
stresses shall be established by tests as provided for in Sec- (see Section 1708.3 for details).
tion 1707.
1708.2 Test standards. Structural components and assem-
 Materials that are not explicitly covered by the code blies shall be tested in accordance with the appropriate refer-
are allowed when subjected to the appropriate tests, enced standards. In the absence of a standard that contains an
demonstrating adequate performance (see Sections applicable load test procedure, the test procedure shall be
1701.2 and 1707). developed by a registered design professional and approved.
The test procedure shall simulate loads and conditions of
application that the completed structure or portion thereof
SECTION 1707 will be subjected to in normal use.
ALTERNATIVE TEST PROCEDURE  When load test procedures for materials are given by
1707.1 General. In the absence of approved rules or other the applicable referenced material standard, the test
approved standards, the building official shall make, or cause procedure outlined in that specific standard must be
to be made, the necessary tests and investigations; or the adhered to without variation. If a referenced standard
building official shall accept duly authenticated reports from lacks a load test procedure, or a material or assembly
approved agencies in respect to the quality and manner of use does not have a specific referenced standard, then
of new materials or assemblies as provided for in Section such a test must be developed by a registered design
104.11. The cost of all tests and other investigations required professional and approved by the building official.
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The test procedure must be representative of, and 3. During and immediately after the test, the structure
simulate the actual loading conditions that, the com- shall not show evidence of failure.
pleted structure or portion thereof will be subjected to  If the applicable standards do not specify load factor
as the loads are typically applied (i.e., load direction, or testing criteria acceptance methods, then the test-
location, etc.) during use. The test loads themselves ing criteria listed in this section must be followed. The
are determined according to Section 1708.3 and are intent of this section is to essentially match the in-situ
to be the full factored loads where required by Sec- load test procedures such as these found in AISC
tion 1708.3. 360 and ACI 318 for materials such as aluminum and
1708.3 In-situ load tests. In-situ load tests shall be con- wood. Test loads shall be factored design loads, and
ducted in accordance with Section 1708.3.1 or 1708.3.2 and the controlling load combination should be used to
shall be supervised by a registered design professional. The determine the test load that must be applied. Where
test shall simulate the applicable loading conditions specified material behavior is affected by load duration, the test
in Chapter 16 as necessary to address the concerns regarding load shall be appropriately adjusted. For example, in
structural stability of the building, structure or portion a wood structure, if long-term dead load is the con-
thereof. trolling or most critical load combination and the test
 The criteria for in-situ load tests are set forth for two is only going to last a few hours, the load must be
categories: procedures specified, which are regulated increased to account for the fact that wood is stronger
by Section 1708.3.1, and procedures not specified, under short-term loads. Where the critical load com-
which are regulated by Section 1708.3.2. bination is a short-duration load, such as impact
loads from machine supports or fall arrest anchors,
1708.3.1 Load test procedure specified. Where a referenced the test load should be held for a period of time con-
standard contains an applicable load test procedure and sistent with the tested component’s use.
acceptance criteria, the test procedure and acceptance criteria
in the standard shall apply. In the absence of specific load
factors or acceptance criteria, the load factors and acceptance SECTION 1709
criteria in Section 1708.3.2 shall apply. PRECONSTRUCTION LOAD TESTS
 The load test must be in accordance with the applica- 1709.1 General. Where proposed construction is not capable
ble referenced standard. Section 1708.3.2 must only of being designed by approved engineering analysis, or
be utilized in the absence of either a specific standard where proposed construction design method does not comply
or specific load factors and acceptance criteria from with the applicable material design standard, the system of
applicable referenced standards. construction or the structural unit and the connections shall
1708.3.2 Load test procedure not specified. In the absence be subjected to the tests prescribed in Section 1709. The
of applicable load test procedures contained within a standard building official shall accept certified reports of such tests

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referenced by this code or acceptance criteria for a specific conducted by an approved testing agency, provided that such
material or method of construction, such existing structure tests meet the requirements of this code and approved proce-
shall be subjected to a test procedure developed by a regis- dures.
tered design professional that simulates applicable loading  This section establishes requirements for load testing
and deformation conditions. For components that are not a structural assemblies that cannot be designed via
part of the seismic force-resisting system, at a minimum the conventional methods or do not comply with the
test load shall be equal to the specified factored design loads. applicable material design standards. This section
For materials such as wood that have strengths that are does not govern the load testing of existing buildings
dependent on load duration, the test load shall be adjusted to or components of existing buildings, which is gov-
account for the difference in load duration of the test com- erned by Section 1708.
pared to the expected duration of the design loads being con- The different categories of preconstruction load
sidered. For statically loaded components, the test load shall tests are addressed herein. Specified load test proce-
be left in place for a period of 24 hours. For components that dures are regulated by Section 1709.2. Load test pro-
carry dynamic loads (e.g., machine supports or fall arrest cedures that are not specified are regulated by
anchors), the load shall be left in place for a period consistent Section 1709.3. Wall and partition assemblies are
with the component’s actual function. The structure shall be regulated by Section 1709.4. Exterior window and
considered to have successfully met the test requirements door assemblies are regulated by Section 1709.5,
where the following criteria are satisfied: skylights and sloped glazing by Section 1709.6 and
1. Under the design load, the deflection shall not exceed test specimens by Section 1709.7.
the limitations specified in Section 1604.3. 1709.2 Load test procedures specified. Where specific load
2. Within 24 hours after removal of the test load, the test procedures, load factors and acceptance criteria are
structure shall have recovered not less than 75 percent included in the applicable referenced standards, such test pro-
of the maximum deflection. cedures, load factors and acceptance criteria shall apply. In

Copyright International2015 INTERNATIONAL


Code Council BUILDING CODE® COMMENTARY 17-25
SPECIAL INSPECTIONS AND TESTS

the absence of specific test procedures, load factors or accep- must be subjected to increasing superimposed loads
tance criteria, the corresponding provisions in Section 1709.3 until failure occurs or the load is equal to 2.5 times
shall apply. the superimposed design load, whichever occurs
first.
 This section takes precedence over Section 1709.3,
provided that load factors and acceptance criteria are 1709.3.2 Deflection. The deflection of structural members
established in the applicable design standards. under the design load shall not exceed the limitations in Sec-
tion 1604.3.
1709.3 Load test procedures not specified. Where load test
procedures are not specified in the applicable referenced stan-  Acceptance criteria for deflection of structural sys-
dards, the load-bearing and deformation capacity of structural tems when subjected to the allowable design load are
components and assemblies shall be determined on the basis used to demonstrate adequate structural perfor-
of a test procedure developed by a registered design profes- mance and are addressed in Section 1604.3.
sional that simulates applicable loading and deformation con- 1709.4 Wall and partition assemblies. Load-bearing wall
ditions. For components and assemblies that are not a part of and partition assemblies shall sustain the test load both with
the seismic force-resisting system, the test shall be as speci- and without window framing. The test load shall include all
fied in Section 1709.3.1. Load tests shall simulate the appli- design load components. Wall and partition assemblies shall
cable loading conditions specified in Chapter 16. be tested both with and without door and window framing.
 In the absence of load factors and acceptance criteria  Load-bearing wall and partition assemblies must sus-
in the applicable design standards, and in accor- tain loads with and without window framing. It is not
dance with Section 1709.2, this section is to be used appropriate to assume that a wall will sustain loads
by the building official to assess whether confor- better if window framing is involved in the test. Each
mance to the applicable code requirements has been individual design must be evaluated separately based
achieved. Additionally, this section provides the on the construction of that assembly. All design
design professional and building official with specific loads, such as vertical and lateral forces, must be
loading and pass/fail criteria. included in the test.
1709.3.1 Test procedure. The test assembly shall be sub- 1709.5 Exterior window and door assemblies. The design
jected to an increasing superimposed load equal to not less pressure rating of exterior windows and doors in buildings
than two times the superimposed design load. The test load shall be determined in accordance with Section 1709.5.1 or
shall be left in place for a period of 24 hours. The tested 1709.5.2. For the purposes of this section, the required design
assembly shall be considered to have successfully met the test pressure shall be determined using the allowable stress design
requirements if the assembly recovers not less than 75 per- load combinations of Section 1605.3.
cent of the maximum deflection within 24 hours after the
removal of the test load. The test assembly shall then be Exception: Structural wind load design pressures for win-

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reloaded and subjected to an increasing superimposed load dow units smaller than the size tested in accordance with
until either structural failure occurs or the superimposed load Section 1709.5.1 or 1709.5.2 shall be permitted to be
is equal to two and one-half times the load at which the higher than the design value of the tested unit provided
deflection limitations specified in Section 1709.3.2 were such higher pressures are determined by accepted engi-
reached, or the load is equal to two and one-half times the neering analysis. All components of the small unit shall be
superimposed design load. In the case of structural compo- the same as the tested unit. Where such calculated design
nents and assemblies for which deflection limitations are not pressures are used, they shall be validated by an additional
specified in Section 1709.3.2, the test specimen shall be sub- test of the window unit having the highest allowable
jected to an increasin