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RE: Plan Review Comments IRC versus IBC

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Can you give us some idea of what areas they are commenting on and what IRC provisions they are applying?


The IRC does provide a set of prescriptive provisions for a one- or two-family home or townhouse within certain limits (not a hurricane prone area, not SDC E, etc.)  But at the same time it provides some basic set of design criteria that could be used for engineering, and also allows you to engineer any specific portions of the house that aren’t covered by the prescriptive requirements (for example, a pile and grade beam foundation, or the miscellaneous steel framing that may be required).


You’ve probably run into the fact the prescriptive provisions are a mixed bag.  Some of them don’t necessarily calculate out by a strict engineering analysis per ASCE 7, ACI 318, NDS and the other engineering standards, but are either supported by test data or involve consideration of system effects and other assumptions you wouldn’t necessarily think of applying on a big commercial or industrial projects.  On the other hand, there are some provisions that do meet an exact engineering standard, but the results aren’t something any rational builder would want to try and construct (like a wall with foundation anchor bolts at 5” on center).


So if I know what is being questioned, I could likely shed some light on what’s underlying a particular requirement.





Gary J. Ehrlich, PE

Program Manager, Structural Codes & Standards

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)

1201 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

ph: 202-266-8545  or 800-368-5242 x8545

fax: 202-266-8369