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Building Codes to include steel framing for the first time.

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 13, 1995--Steel industry efforts to capture a larger share of the residential framing market could receive a huge boost when standards for cold-formed steel products and prescriptive construction guidelines are submitted to building code agencies at the end of this year. According to Jay Crandell, Project Manager for the NAHB Research Center, work is currently well underway on the development of a code change submittal to the Council of American Building Officials (CABO) One - and Two-Family Dwelling Code.

Crandell will present an update on the status of the code change as part of a special steel framing seminar to be held on Thursday, June 22, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. as part of the Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC). The nation's second largest building trade show, PCBC will be held in San Francisco's Moscone Center from June 22 through 24, and features the return of the "Steel Central" exhibit area.

"The residential building codes have never included provisions for steel framing because wood has been the dominant material used in home construction for decades," says Crandell. Recent fluctuations in the cost of wood and perceived problems with declining quality as voiced by home builders caused the NAHB Research Center to renew its efforts to identify plausible alternatives to lumber. "Without the building codes as a guideline, builders have had to go to extra lengths in planning a steel framing project and getting it approved by local building departments. This code change will minimize that problem, leveling the competitive playing field," Crandell says.

Working in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the American Iron & Steel Institute (AISI), and National Association of Home Builders, a steering committees of industry experts, including code officials, engineers, researchers, manufacturers, and builders was assembled to assist in planning and directing the effort. Part of their work included such major issues as standardization of product type, construction methods, and design methods.

Prescriptive construction guidelines is also a key element of the new residential building code since it provides a "cookbook" approach to light gauge steel framing. "Giving builders clear information on what designs, types of materials and construction techniques comply with the codes will dramatically ease the process of building a steel frame house," Crandell says.

After the proposed amendment to the building codes is submitted, CABO officials will undertake an extensive review of the documents and are expected to approve the submittal in the Fall of 1996. If approved, the new code guidelines for residential steel framing go into effect immediately following this vote and will be published as an amendment. In 1998 CABO will produce a new code book that incorporates all the changes approved in the previous three years, most likely including a new section on steel framing.

"Builders are naturally cautious and they like to know in advance what they're up against," says Crandell. "Having a building code and a prescriptive path of construction will go a long way toward taking the mystery out of building with steel, allowing competition to drive the use of steel without unnecessary economic, regulatory, or technical barriers."

The NAHB Research Center is a wholly owned, not-for-profit subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), whose members build more than 80 percent of U.S. homes. The Research Center studies all aspects of home building, and tests and certifies building products.

"Steel Central" is a featured exhibition area at the Pacific Coast Builders Conference, held this year from June 22 through 24 in San Francisco's Moscone Center. This year "Steel Central" features the largest representation of the steel framing industry to date, and has at its centerpiece a full-size steel framed house.

"Steel Central" is organized by three organizations that are leading the development of the residential light gauge steel framing industry in the Western United States: USS-POSCO Industries, California's largest steelmaker; the Light Gauge Steel Engineers Association, formed to promote the establishment of material and design standards for the residential steel framing industry; and the Carpenters/Contractors Cooperation Committee, which represents more than 40,000 union carpenters and 1,200 contractors.

CONTACT: Williams & Williams, Nashville

Larry W. Williams, 615/385-4987
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 13, 1995
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