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  October 6, 2010
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SFA Advocates For Steel Framing As Green Code Adoptions Start To Expand

Rhode Island recently joined Richland, Washington as one of the first jurisdictions to adopt the International Green Construction Code (IgCC).  California already has a green building code.  Washington DC has expressed an interest in adopting a green standard.  Federal agencies are working green requirements into their specifications.  It is clear that a potential trend is on the rise as more and more communities explore green building codes.

The International Green Construction Code (IgCC) is a model code focused on new and existing commercial buildings addressing green building design and performance. The initial project to draft the IgCC Public Version 1.0 was undertaken with the International Code Council (ICC), American Institute of Architects (AIA) and ASTM International as cooperating partners. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) have since joined the ICC, AIA and ASTM in developing the document. 

In the month of August, representatives from the Steel Framing Alliance participated in the first public hearing on the IgCC v1.0 in Rosemont, IL. SFA was engaged in the Rosemont hearings to both promote proposals that are favorable for steel and to defend our industry’s interests against negative proposals.

Over eight days the IgCC code change committee heard proponents and opponents present more than 1600 public comments.   SFA was specifically involved in protecting the steel industry against non-competitive requirements proposed for energy efficiency, Life Cycle Assessment Methodology, and scope conflicts with other codes.  We unsuccessfully opposed the wholesale inclusion of ASHREA 189.1 and its unreasonable requirements as an alternative compliance path.

Written in mandatory language, the IgCC will work as an overlay code to the ICC family of codes.  With an accelerated schedule, this code will be available for adoption in 2012.

A summary of the significant outcomes from the initial hearings include:

  • Provisions for mandatory Whole Building Life Cycle Assessment were rejected although it was retained as a project elective.  SFA is pleased that LCA is optional but will continue to press for its elimination from this code so that the full benefits of CFS framing always remain available as key parts of the compliance criteria
  • A total building energy performance compliance path was retained for larger buildings, helping to mitigate costly and unrealistic exterior insulation requirements for CFS buildings over 25,000 sq. ft.
  • The committee took testimony on the scope of the document but did not make a final decision.  SFA has taken the position that the ICC-700 National Green Building Standard should be applicable to all Group R buildings that are not classified as high rise buildings, leaving the IgCC to govern all other buildings.  The NGBS is generally viewed as a much more flexible document for many of the building types constructed of load bearing CFS members.
  • The committee strongly urged the material industry to come to some type of consensus on what metrics to use in quantifying material use.  SFA will continue to work with industry groups to reach consensus on these issues.

IgCC v2.0 will be published on November 3, 2010.  It will then move into the “traditional” code change process of the ICC.  Code change proposals will be accepted until January 3, 2011.  Hearings on proposed changes to v2.0 are scheduled for May 2011 in Dallas, Texas. SFA will participate in these hearings on behalf of the steel industry.

According to Mark Nowak, President, Steel Framing Alliance “The IgCC will likely become the most widely adopted green code or standard in North America.  The ICC will bring their strong presence among building code and other government officials to promoting its adoption on a wide-spread basis.  It is important that CFS framing is well represented in the early stages of the code’s development.”

For more information on the IgCC visit www.iccsafe.org or contact the Steel Hotline at (800) 79-STEEL.

Editor, Framework Online

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Brought to you by the Steel Framing Alliance (SFA) on the first Wednesday of each month, February through December. Framework Online arms you with important news and commentary on the cold-formed steel (CFS) framing and construction industries.