SBCA Succeeds in Developing Roadmap for Gaining Floor Truss Approval in OH; Can Do So Elsewhere

Originally published by: SBCA & SBCRIApril 18, 2013

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Editor’s Note: While the following approach is specific to Ohio, SBCA can tailor it specifically for other states where this code provision has been adopted, or is being considered like in the state of Iowa. CMs are strongly encouraged to contact SBCA staff if your market has adopted the 2012 IBC/IRC and included Section R501.3, or is in the process of considering the adoption of the 2012 IBC/IRC.

In 2011, the Ohio Board of Building Standards approved and adopted the 2011 Residential Code of Ohio (RCO), which is based on the 2009 IECC and 2009 IRC, but also includes amendments based on 2012 IRC provisions. The 2011 RCO went into effect January 1, 2013.

Section R501.3 of the 2012 IRC/IBC was added under Section 502.14 of the RCO, and states as follows:

R501.3 Fire protection of floors. Floor assemblies, not required elsewhere in this code to be fire resistance rated, shall be provided with a ½ inch gypsum wallboard membrane, 5/8 inch wood structural panel membrane, or equivalent on the underside of the floor framing member.

Exceptions:

1. Floor assemblies located directly over a space protected by an automatic sprinkler system in accordance with Section P2904, NFPA13D, or other approved equivalent sprinkler system.

2. Floor assemblies located directly over a crawl space not intended for storage or fuel-fired appliances.

3. Portions of floor assemblies can be unprotected when complying with the following:

3.1 The aggregate area of the unprotected portions shall not exceed 80 square feet per story.

3.2 Fire blocking in accordance with Section R302.11.1 shall be installed along the perimeter of the unprotected portion to separate the unprotected portion from the remainder of the floor assembly.

4. Wood floor assemblies using dimension lumber or structural composite lumber equal to or greater than 2-inch by 10-inch nominal dimension, or other approved floor assemblies demonstrating equivalent fire performance (emphasis added).

SBCA was invited to participate in an educational meeting on January 16, 2013, of the Central Ohio Code Officials Association (COCOA) to review major changes to the RCO. At this meeting, SBCA outlined the problems with the language contained in exception four of Section R501.3 (text in bold) that creates an unwarranted preference for floor joists made of solid-sawn lumber.

Based on that meeting and subsequent conversations with Ohio building officials, SBCA created a list of steps that component manufacturers (CM) serving the Ohio market can follow to use metal plate connected wood floor trusses in unprotected applications. The steps outline how floor trusses comply with Section 502.14 as an, “other approved floor assembly demonstrating equivalent fire performance,” which is allowed under exception four. This roadmap includes an Ohio code compliance check list that walks CMs through the process of establishing floor trusses as an RCO Section 106.5 “Alternative engineered design.”

The primary document used to show equivalency is the Technical Evaluation Report (TER), Metal Plate Connected Wood Truss Floor Assemblies Demonstrating Equivalent Fire Performance per 2012 IRC Section R501.3, which discusses fire performance test results in the NFPRF report, National Engineering Lightweight Construction Fire Research Project, published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), which has also been confirmed by the literature review in Underwriters Laboratory's report, Full-Scale Floor System Field and Laboratory Fire Experiments.

Yesterday, SBCA sent the following email to building officials in Ohio, outlining in detail the process by which CMs can use floor trusses as an approved floor assembly under the requirements of Ohio law.

Editor’s Note: Again, while this approach is specific to Ohio, SBCA can tailor it specifically for other states where this code provision has been adopted, or is being considered like in the state of Iowa. CMs are strongly encouraged to contact SBCA staff if your market has adopted the 2012 IBC/IRC and included Section R501.3, or is in the process of considering the adoption of the 2012 IBC/IRC.

To Whom it May Concern:

There seems to be quite a bit of confusion regarding the fact that floor trusses perform equivalently to 2x10s and comply with unprotected applications as defined in exception 4 of RCO Section 502.14 (Section R501.3 of the 2012 IBC/IRC). The following website provides all the justification one should need to comply with the Ohio Building code and professional engineering law -- http://sbcri.info/ter130202oh. As provided as one of the content items of this website the 2012 Underwriters Laboratory literature review in the report entitled “Full-Scale Floor System Field and Laboratory Fire Experiments” confirm this set of facts on page 29 (Table 12 in the report). The resulting table of the only standardized unprotected ASTM E119 tests available that show true 2x10/wood truss comparative equivalency follows:

Please see SBCA’s Ohio code compliance specific website http://sbcri.info/ter130202oh for a roadmap and all the justification research reports that provide the foundation for your ability to use metal plate connected wood trusses in unprotected applications and comply with Section 502.14 Residential Code of Ohio for One-, Two-,and Three-Family Dwellings (RCO). The attached documentation provides an Ohio code compliance check list that when followed provides the pathway for use of floor trusses as a Residential Code of Ohio for One-, Two-, and Three-Family Dwellings (RCO) Section 106.5 “Alternative engineered design.” The step by step approach to approval follows:

1.     The builder or registered design professional (RDP) for the building designs a project that uses floor trusses as an alternative material, design or method of construction through the RCO Section 106.5 provisions.

2.     The builder or registered design professional (RDP) for the building incorporates floor trusses into their residential design complying with all structural conditions of use.

3.     The builder or registered design professional (RDP) attaches to their construction documents, plans and specifications for permitting/plan review purposes the following documents:

  • Building Official’s Alternative Material, Design or Method of Construction Code-Compliance Checklist for the Ohio Building Code (OBC) and Residential Code of Ohio for One-, Two-, and Three-Family Dwellings (RCO)
  • TER No. 1101-02.5(OH): Product Approval within the State of Ohio for the Use of Alternative Materials, Design & Methods of Construction According to Ohio Law, and
  • Ohio sealed TER No. 1302-02 issued by Qualtim, a professional engineering company that is a code-defined Approved Source.

4.     The building department undertakes plan review of the construction documents, which include the use of floor trusses as equivalent to 2x10s per section 502.14 of the Ohio RCO, approves them after any needed construction document revisions and issues the appropriate plan review approval and/or building permit.

  • If the building department does not approve the use of floor trusses they must provide justification of the section of the building code that has been violated with a justifiable technically substantive reason for the violation and the needed technical information to cure the violation.

5.     As we have said all along, providing 2x10s with a monopoly sales position in an otherwise free market with zero technical justification is not fair.

  • If firefighter safety and fairness are the key core issue, then a single ½” regular gypsum wallboard membrane on all otherwise unprotected floors would be the technically correct approach.
  • The only other fair approach would be to leave everything as it has been done for years – allow unprotected floors over basements. This is unpopular with the fire service (See 2x10 fire performance in Colerain, OH)

We sincerely appreciate in advance your help in knowing all building officials in Ohio who are not willing allow code compliant application as the more we know about Ohio law, that we do not now know the better, as we will add all technical substance and curative approaches to our professional engineering and/or Technical Evaluation Report (TER) code compliance process for the state of Ohio.

Sincerely

Kirk Grundahl, Ohio Professional Engineer #76566

President

Qualtim, Inc.

And our Ohio Professional Engineering Staff on Behalf of SBCA

 

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