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RE: ICBO Approvals - was why can't we ge

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Harold,

. > I do a lot of work in all formerly held BOCA and SBC territories as well 
. > as UBC country.  With the new world order of IBC and barbarian hoards of 
. > NFPA on the horizon, we need to prepare.  There are many good things that 
. > have evolved from each of the model code organizations, and in each of 
. > their various territories.

I agree that there are *some* good things that have come from merging the 
three model codes, but I won't go so far as to say that there are many.  
Massive rewrites of codes (or anything) frequently results in requirements 
not being stated in the same manner as previously or are inadvertently 
omitted.  The IBC was adopted much too quickly not to contain a lot of 
ambiguities and errors.  And there will always be local issues that have to 
be addressed.

. > When they see a problem, they address it.  In the land of the moving 
. > earth, the ICBO ES reports focus on earthquake resistant components. The 
. > City of LA has its own research reports.  But in LA, if you submit your 
. > product reports and pay a big fee, you can get your product in the 
. > "approved for LA" book. You can pay a lessor fee and get a one time 
. > approval in LA for a particular product.  In the land of the stiff breeze 
. > there is the SBCCI reports on various components. There is also the 
. > Metropolitan Dade County approvals. New York City has its own approvals.  
. > UL does some structural testing, as does Factory Mutual and ASTM. FM 
. > probably does one of the best jobs of approval. They don't just wade 
. > through papers, they supervise and conduct a lot of the testing. They 
. > have a vested interest.  If it fails, they pay since they write the 
. > insurance. If I design a roof in a high wind area, I require FM 
. > approval.

Yes, any geographic area that has experienced catastrophic disasters is going 
to target approvals on preventing the same disaster from recurring.  There 
was an article in this morning's paper concerning rebuilding after the fire 
on nearby Mt. Lemmon.  It reported that Pima County is considering revising 
its building code for the area so as to prevent such a catastrophe from again 
occurring.

Factory Mutual's and UL's clients are insurance companies and their goal is 
to minimize payouts.  The insurance companies would there require FM and UL 
do rigorous testing of products.  On the other hand, the companies seeking 
approval of "alternate materials and methods" are interested in selling their 
product, getting an approval from whomever means that they can use the 
approval in marketing the product.

ASTM is a writer and, as far as I know, doesn't do any testing.  ASTM members 
and committee members are predominantly from the industries involved.

. > ICBO (aka UBC) does no real testing for the ES reports.  Manufacturers
. > provide testing from "independent" testing labs to ICBO for evaluation.
. > ICBO attempts to provide uniform acceptance criteria for the various
. > manufacturers' products and develops a very valuable research report.  I
. > still have a lot of heart burn in how testing is conducted.  Results can 
. > be skewed, but healthy safety factors let me sleep through the night.

You get no argument from me on this!  If a company is having a product 
tested that has a target strength level, and as that strength is being
approached it becomes apparent that it will not be reached, what will happen 
if the testing machine is "goosed?"

. > This is an interesting thread.  I have seen several roofs designed using
. > ICBO approvals that were out of date, and the manufacturers that submitted
. > for the original tests are no longer in business.  I have seen this for FM
. > products as well.  No matter who the manufacturer is, you have to verify 
. > the tests relative to the testing lab and the manufacturer.  The ICBO ES
. > approvals help in this regard, but they are not fool proof.

I have on a number of occasions called ICBO-ES when the expiration date on an 
evaluation report has passed.  Most of the time (I can't think of an 
exception) I was essentially told that the report was "current."

If you want to get a blank stare, ask any epoxy salesman how to identify a 
drill bit that conforms to ANSI B.????, yet, it is required in the evaluation 
report and throughout the company's catalog.

A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
Tucson, Arizona

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