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RE: CODES: Evaluation Reports

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UBC Section 104.2.8 and IBC Section 104.11 establish the bases for ER’s.  An alternative to the Building Code is allowed providing that the Building Official finds that the alternative satisfies the intent of the Code.  The ER procedure is a systematic way of determining whether a product satisfies that intent.  For products for which there are a number of manufacturers [such as post-installed concrete anchors, factory-made shear panels] a fair way of making sure that all similar products are tested in the same way has been for the Code-writing agency to write Acceptance Criteria that becomes the basis for evaluating a class of products.  The Findings Section of an ER states that the product complies with the Code subject to conditions.  The conditions are then listed.  The ER is not a part of the Code – it allows a particular product to be used as an alternative to the Code.


The ER procedure seems intended to assist the Building Official in evaluation of proposed alternatives to the Code for products that are not provided for in the Code.  They are useful to the Engineer who, for design purposes, needs to know the structural characteristics of a product, and who needs to know that it won’t take a hassle to convince the Building Official that the product is appropriate, since the testing and evaluation needed to establish its characteristics and appropriateness has already been done by the organization of which the Building Official is a member..


The approval process is an expensive one, and requires a significant investment in testing and evaluation, all paid for by the sponsor of the product.   


Nels Roselund, SE

South San Gabriel, CA


From: Polhemus, Bill [mailto:Bill.Polhemus(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, May 03, 2005 6:32 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: CODES: Evaluation Reports


From: Suresh Acharya [mailto:struct(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Monday, May 02, 2005 10:52 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: CODES: Evaluation Reports

These are not part of the building codes unless adopted by ordinance. 



I would question this statement. In my experience, it is the Building Official who makes the determination what does and what does not pass muster as far as building code compliance in his jurisdiction.


Generally speaking, a city council, e.g., who may adopt a building code, represents the legislative phase, and the building official the executive phase of government with regard to implementing the building code.


My question comes down to: Are the ERs "automatically" considered part of the Code, or are they simply a way to provide compelling evidence for the building official, greasing the skids for official acceptance?


In fact, I have played a small part in this process in Texas, since I've provided engineering calcs for a manufacturer's system (in my case, a garage door manufacturer wanted calcs to show an appropriate attachment to wood framing) that went into creating an Evaluation Report for the Texas Department of Insurance's "Building Code for Wind Design of Structures."


In that case, however, it was a far simpler process because the TDI does its own "code enforcement," and there is no local official to try to "impress."

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