Practice Exam Question Non-Sense
This Practice Exam answer is ridiculous! There will never be a designer separating a tennis court like such, and second, the question says, "No permanent structures may be constructed in the floodplain." How is a tennis court not a structure? Do you not pour a concrete slab for a tennis court? What does your tennis net get anchored to? It is also against all sustainability items I read. Why would you create pockets of built elements?
Here's another question with a wrong answer. There is no setback between R-5 and C-2, but there is a 12'0" electrical easement that does not span the entire length of the site. Also, the question asks for the total commercial area. There's no indication that C-2 is commercial, and IBC clearly doesn't have C-2. This is an open question that couldn't be resolved, and there's no way to select the correct answer because it doesn't exist in the multiple choice.
I went through three of the practice exam questions and already noticed that there are two fishy questions. I finally understand why NCARB does not allow the discussion of exam questions. That is because they're worried about how examiners will find out how nonsense these questions and answers are. NCARB needs to stop making up these subjective answers just because you want to make more challenging exams. Your answers contradict the actual fact.
Regarding the first question:
- Part of the design requirements were to locate the courts at locations that do not disturb grading. The flat areas are the best option for this.
- A "permanent structure" typically is construction that has elements above the ground that inhibit view, access, vehicles, etc. A tennis court's flat surface, be concrete or pavers, would not typically fall in the category of a permanent structure.
- My one issue with this question is that a design requirement is to have the restrooms "adjacent" to each tennis court. Their proposed design solution, in my opinion, does not accomplish this.
Regarding the second question:
- The design requirements state the client intends to build a Commerical building on C-2
- The Building Setbacks tables that are provided with question includes the setback information you need to determine the C-2 setbacks. In the case of this question, the C-2 has a side setback on the west side of 15'-0". This dimension extends beyond the 12'-0" easement setback negating the 12'-0" when determining your building area.
- C-2 is not in the IBC because it's a zoning designation that it determined by the local AHJ. Every AHJ is different with their titles of zones. For this question, C-2 is understood to be Commercial since we were told the client is building a Commercial building on the C-2 parcel.
Hope this helps.
The first item with the tennis courts has already been brought to our attention due to subjectivity of 'adjacent' and we've flagged it for review and re-work by out item writing architect volunteers.
Joel's explanation for the second item is correct. The C-2 is a zoning term and shows which parcel the owner wishes to construct the commercial building on. It also sets up the requirement for the setback adjacent to the R-5 parcel per the table. The table notes that when the adjacent zoning is R-5 and the building is 2 stories, the setback is 15. While there is no setback requirement for a building on the R-5 parcel when the adjacent zoning is C-2, there is that requirement on the C-2 property still.
I included pavers as an example to describe the types of man-made surfaces that are typically not considered permanent a "structure" since they are even with the grade and do not inhibit view, access, vehicles, etc.
You will find the exams are quite literal with their questions and if they do not mention a "built-up" tennis court, then do not assume it is one. Yes, the tennis courts will require initial dirt work to prepare a stable surface for the courts but the intent of the question, remember, was to locate flat areas on the property where the tennis courts can be built at similar grading. We all know tennis courts are flat, so adding a new tennis court on a flat portion of the property would allow for site drainage to remain the same after installation. To be honest, the question never mentioned anything about the type of surface the tennis courts would have so for all we know it could be highly compacted dirt with dense grass on top.
A piece of advice I will pass on to you as you take your exams is try not to overthink the questions and only use the information provided, don't assume extra variables. If the tennis courts are built-up, then they will make a point to tell you in the question.
IBC definition for structure - "That which is built or constructed."
The USTA (United States Tennis Association) describes a tennis court as a "structured playing area".
What is a Structure? | Town of Dennis, MA Planning Weblog (wordpress.com)
Advisory Legal Opinion - Construction of tennis courts (myfloridalegal.com)
Palm Desert, California Municipal code says tennis court "constructed with the following."
Again, having an exam question that's highly debatable by law on its definition is subjective and not fact-based. Please find me a convincing code specifying that a tennis court is not a structure.
Thanks for your advice, but wouldn't you think to believe a court is a paver surface and not a concrete slab is also an assumption that I have to make to respond to the question above? I also don't think you'll ever paint your grass as shown in their diagram.
It is hard to think that NCARB is not trying to trick you when the question says not to place any structure in the flood plain and when a tennis court is highly debatable that if it is a structure or not.
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