PPD [2.3] building code CONFLICTS (practicing professionals' opinions)

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14 comments

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    Kevin Griendling

    Hi Jonathan,

    The simplistic response is "Codes are codes." Meaning any code that is established must be followed. What that means is that any code requirement must be met, essentially boiling down to the most stringent requirement must be met.

    The concept of most stringent requirement is pervasive in all exams. If the building code allows for 55 feet, but local zoning only allows for 40 feet, you are restricted to 40 feet.

    We need to clarify terminology, however. The IBC is a model code. This means states adopt, amend, or use it as a template to generate their own building code. California is a great example of this, as we have our own building code that may or may not align with the IBC (usually it does). For this exam, we are given the IBC as our state adopted code. "Local jurisdiction" refers to the city/county/municipality that governs a rather small area within a state jurisdiction. The potential conflicts here are in the zoning regulations, which may further restrict or allow for taller buildings.

    Zoning is ignorant of building type (usually). Where the building code gets confusing is that even though a zoning district may allow for a 100 foot tall structure, if you try to build it out of wood framing, the building code will not allow it (see 2012 IBC Table 503). The tallest type V structure you can build is 4 stories and even then, its a stretch.

    I am a little confused about your energy code example. Without examples I find it hard to believe there are significant instances where the energy code conflicts with the provisions of the building code.

    Hope this helps. Feel free to email me if you'd like to discuss further. kg@paramarch.com

     

    Kevin Griendling, AIA

    www.pluralsight.com

    www.paramarch.com

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    Jonathan Chertok

    hi kevin,
    thank you for the thoughtful reply.
    so, this is really a two part question. first is what is meant by this section of the jurisdiction but then it also mentions the “funding stream” (presumably?? referencing federal funding and historic requirements or whatever? they mention “related codes” and seem to cite the (primarily ICC) model codes of energy and mechanical (as you indicated) but then they also cite “universal design”. they don’t specifically mention ICC or electrical or fire or anything. it’s confusing and i don’t understand what it is trying to say i need to know.
    second question. her it is /easiest/ to talk about zoning because you can talk about setcsvks or heights which have numerical values. but local jurisdictions also adopt (or DON’T) energy, fire, residential, commercial and other model codes. they also AMEND these codes in any way that makes sense to that jurisdiction. if there is something in ICC commercial code or ICC fire code they consider irrelevant they DELETE or AMEND it. this is part of the local code adoption process. they don’t just wholesale adopt it. and the amendments and deletions will be incorporated into the local jurisdictions’ CODE.
    on this second part i can see that simply answering “the most restrictive code governs”. but i don’t see where this answer comes from and it seems to be not true to my mind.
    maybe there is something in every model code that says that the most restrictive code governs but i don’t believe it is in there and even if it was i don’t see how it could be since ICC (at least) specifically says their codes have to go through s local code adoption process AFAIK.
    as an example: if a local code adopts the energy code but for local supply or industry or climatic or just plain cost reasons fines a provision unworkable - they can make the requirement MORE LENIENT or delete it altogether.
    i just don’t de where the most restrictive answer comes from.

  • Avatar
    Kevin Griendling

    Jonathan,

    You are asking a lot of questions. I think a productive response to your questions would be this:

    The models codes are not applicable codes until they are adopted, amended, or rewritten.

    We should use California as an example again. In California we only refer to the California Building Code (CBC). We do not reference the IBC in our jurisdiction. It is not our code. If there is a provision the CBC adopts that is less stringent than the IBC, we need not meet the IBC requirements (this is rare).

    On the exam the adopted code is the IBC, so you need only be concerned about the IBC and any zoning regulations stated in the questions you encounter.

    It is very unlikely you need to concern yourself with mechanical or electrical code provisions for the exam.

    Also, regarding the search for a code provision that states the most stringent requirement governs, I don't believe there is one. I am going to use a different (somewhat ridiculous) example to illustrate this: let's say you live in State A, County B. State A law states you are allowed to own 3 dogs. You live in County B, within State A, where there is a local provision that you are only allowed to own 1 dog. In this case you are only allowed to own one dog because you live in County B, within State A, and you are subject to the laws of both.

     

    Good luck!

     

    Kevin Griendling, AIA

    www.pluralsight.com

    www.paramarch.com

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    Jonathan Chertok (Edited )

    hi kevin,
    THANK YOU for the help. hopefully i can ask you more questions on less esoteric “wormy” questions.
    that said, i am hoping someone can chime in on what they think is required from this section of the handbook vis-a-vis study materials.
    also, (if i understand your response correctly) the point is that ICC’s (or other model codes’) relationship to local jurisdictions is not a state-local jurisdiction relationship. the ICC does are adopted, amended or incorporated by the local so they are only governed by it to the extent they /choose/. this is specifically unlike state-local (which is sometimes litigated AFAIK).
    in terms of california (i don’t know much about it) - but if california has not adopted a ICC code then california building has no requirement whatsoever with respect to ICC/IBC/IRC etc. it doesn’t even come into play. i mean i am assuming no local jurisdiction has adopted ICC codes but this gets a little “weedy” for this issue. what i am saying is that unless california has adopted ICC codes there is no "more restrictive or less restrictive" code conflict. <edit: well unless of course the local adopts the california code and amends it to require something less restrictive but as you indicated we are talking ICC here for these purposes anyway.>
    either way the answer still seems to me to be it is up to the local jurisdiction.
    anyway, it is only one question in an exam. do any testers know what this section is intending i study? it specifically seems to be indicating you need to know about some kind of relationship but i don't understand what i am supposed to be studying to be ready for this kind of question.

  • Avatar
    Jonathan Chertok

    again:

    "2.3 integrate multiple codes to a project design
    - multiple codes may govern a project, depending on the jurisdiction, funding stream, or other factors. you will need to understand the use of related codes, like energy, mechanical, and universal design; determine how multiple codes are used together; and discern which code governs when a conflict arises."

  • Avatar
    Jonathan Chertok

    just because this is an interesting topic (being in architecture and all):

    "The concept of most stringent requirement is pervasive in all exams. If the building code allows for 55 feet, but local zoning only allows for 40 feet, you are restricted to 40 feet."

    i am saying that if the local amends the ICC from 55 feet to 60 feet - then the LESS restrictive requirement rules...

  • Avatar
    David Kaplan

    Jonathan,

    I can tell you, with zero doubt in my head whatsoever (literally Z-E-R-O) that you are wayyyyy overthinking this topic.

    Plain and simple: most stringent requirement applies.  Period.  Your example above about the zoning code being lower than IBC, so you go with zoning code.  If you know enough to do that, you know enough to handle any questions like this on the tests.  That's going to be the gist of what you'll expect when it comes to code questions that compare more than one code, and you'll likely find this on the case study.  Case in point: the NCARB Demonstration Exam has this exact example.

    I strongly, strongly, strongly doubt that you will be given a question that requires any further brain activity other than knowing that as an architect, you need to follow the most restrictive code requirement in the instance that two differ.  If by some miracle I am proven wrong - it will be one question, you give it your best guess, and you move onto the next.  It won't be two questions.

    Hope that helps.  Give this no further thought.

  • Avatar
    Jonathan Chertok

    hi david
    THANKS
    yeah. i get the over thinking thing. if pushed i’ll answer most restrictive but it seems incorrect and it would be nice to know that there is a citation somewhere other than just “common knowledge” about this.
    that said, is this answer the sum total of what you need to know for 2.3? there are about 15 “sections” in the handbook so presumably this is trying to indicate their is some knowledge content required behind what it is trying to say?
    best
    jon

  • Avatar
    David Kaplan

    Jon,

    Rather than answering the questions you asked above, I see that this original post was relating to the PPD test, so I am instead going to try to assist you with how codes are presented in this test in the most general way possible.

    IBC 2012 - understand Chapters 3-7 and Chapter 10.  To me those are the most important.  Know some specifics about egress design, how to calculate door/stair width per occupant (NCARB's sample test has a sample question).  Know about fire separation and in particular, how it relates to mixed-use occupancies.  How do you find out about rated barriers between occupancies?  What are the requirements? 

    I'm not sure if you've taken the PA test yet, I'll assume you haven't.  PA deals with the initial stages of a project.  So in terms of codes, PA dealt more with the construction type and use group classification of a building, deciding whether or not to sprinkle it, etc.  The macro-level, main code decisions that we make on day one of a project.

    Knowing this, now your PPD test is the stage after PA: Schematic Design and Design Development.  The major decisions have been made.  Now we get more into the detailed code items: how many exits do I need in a room this big?  How far apart do they need to be?  What is my travel distance?  Does this ramp meet code?  What is the rating of a floor assembly dividing two occupancies? 

    Hope this helps some. 

  • Avatar
    Jonathan Chertok

    thanks david,
    i’ll add this to the stack and make sure to incorporate it. appreciate it.
    - jon

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    Erica Spayd

    Jonathan,

    Another way to look at the "most stringent" logic that is maybe a little more straightforward: when there are two conflicting codes, you must comply with BOTH. In the building height examples above, the building code says 55 feet max and zoning says 40 feet max, if you are complying with BOTH, you are keeping your building under 40 feet.

    I work in retail on projects nationwide. We always have to evaluate both the local accessibility code (either adopted ANSI with or without amendments, or a true state administered code like Texas and California have) and ADA, and apply BOTH to our projects. ADA says a transaction surface must be a 36" AFF max but CBC says 34" AFF max - a 34" transaction surface height satisfies both codes, so that is what we do. It is time consuming but necessary to be certain. And, in the 12+ years I've been doing this, I've never encountered conflicting provisions that were mutually exclusive (i.e. complying with one would prohibit compliance with the other).

    Hope that helps simplify what others have said above. And keep in mind that for the exam, you don't need to understand all possibilities within the vast code world. You only need to evaluate the codes that you are given to answer the questions.

    Best of luck to you!

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    Jonathan Chertok

    hi erica.
    interesting. thanks. ADA is a little weird since it is a civil right legislation AFAIK and is nationally adopted (or revised and adopted as a state statute as well i guess) so this is really the exception AFAIK.
    everything else (like everything) is voluntarily adopted by the loca jusisdiction.
    can i ask what you make of the fact that this section specifically does not mention ADA and mentions “universal design” instead? wasn’t universal design a IBC or even AHPP term? i mean, this term is specifically independent of “ADA” (or not?).
    lastly, do you understand what this section is more generally telling me i need to know or study?
    apologies for the length of this post but i find the wording confusing and hard to act upon in terms of study material.
    THSNKS
    jon

  • Avatar
    David Kaplan

    Jon,

    The term "universal design" is meant to imply equal access for everyone.  There are actually "universal design" principles out there (I came across them in some of the 4.0 studying I did), but you don't really need to get into this.  Essentially, what is being referred to here is ADA. 

    Not sure why the Handbook uses that term "universal design," but I can tell you without hesitation that in your studying of codes, if you study ADAAG or ICC ANSI A117.1 (which essentially are the same), and know your ways around ramp design, accessible routes, accessible built-in elements like countertops and things like that, and are familiar with reach ranges, door approaches, etc. you will do fine on these exams.  You don't need to concern yourself really with anything else.  Know how to make buildings accessible for the disabled - you'll be good to go.

    In summary: to fully answer your question above - study IBC 2012 and ADAAG (again, or the ANSI document).  Done.  Period.  That's all you need to do.  I did not encounter one single question that wasn't covered in one of these two documents. 

     

  • Avatar
    Jonathan Chertok

    hi david, erica, all.
    MANY thanks.
    sounds like 2.3 is simply referring to ADA but also this issue of “code conflict” (?).
    in reading here on the forum it appears it may be specifically referencing case studies and verifying that you check the zoning tab to make sure that it does not have a lesser value than the code tab. in which case the lower value would control.
    seems like a lot of words so if anyone knows that there is anything else that should be covered for this section it would be great to know.
    appreciate the info!
    jon

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