This Week's Codes and Standards, August 27

Metal panel safety white paper, trade war implications for adaptive reuse, 2018 solar and swimming pool codes, and flood threat's impact on property values

By Peter Fabris, Contributing Editor | August 27, 2018
Inflatable pool toy in a pool
Photo: Unsplash/Siora Photography

The 2018 IAPMO Solar and Swimming Pool Codes now Available


The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials has released 2018 editions of the Uniform Solar, Hydronics, and Geothermal Code (USHGC) and Uniform Swimming Pool, Spa, and Hot Tub Code.
The document is available on hardcopy and eBook, which is viewable on computers, tablets, and smart phones. The model code was developed by IAPMO to govern the installation and inspection of both public and private swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs to increase operational safety.
Key provisions of the 2018 USPSHTC and changes from the 2015 edition include:

  • New listing requirements for underwater luminaires
  • New accessibility regulations for pool lifts and accessible routes to swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs
  • New requirements for self-contained spas
  • New provisions for underwater audio equipment

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Trade War Could Make Adaptive Reuse More Attractive


Amid uncertainty about how an extended trade war could affect the price of construction materials and boost the cost of new construction, adaptive reuse may be an increasingly attractive option. With the costs of building new rising, new research by the Alabama Center for Real Estate found that adaptive reuse projects can cost 15% to 20% less than a new construction alternative. In order for adaptive reuse to work, though, flexibility is required in zoning and approval processes such as parking and density requirements.
Many cities have made these regulations more flexible for adaptive reuse projects and their efforts serve as a blueprint for smaller communities where these projects may now be more economically viable. Also making adaptive reuse more attractive is a desire by both Millennials and Baby Boomers to live in urban areas.
There is a scarcity of developable land in many urban areas, so repurposing existing structures can be a great way to create additional housing.

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Low-Cost Housing Concept Aims to be Model for Affordable Housing


Architecture students at Auburn University’s Rural Studio began working on a project in 2005 to create a quality house that would cost no more than $20,000 to build. Today, after many improvements to the original design, the studio is focused on scaling up the concept to address the nationwide shortage of affordable housing.
Fannie Mae is now collaborating with the program, which has created a design that is both low cost to build and reduces energy use. The latter is a critical point, as for every dollar that a buyer can increase their monthly mortgage payment, they can buy about $200-worth of additional construction. The key is for the savings on utilities due to the design of the home be made clear to the lender.

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Despite Flood Threat, No Slowdown in Seaside Luxury Property Values


Despite the increased threat of flooding and wind damage from increasingly powerful storms due to climate change, the high-end market for seaside homes is still strong. In Miami, for example, sales of existing property over $1 million surged 47% last December, even with fresh memories of Hurricane Irma in August.
Tougher building codes in high-risk areas are pushing up construction costs, but are not stifling demand for luxury properties. Storm mitigation strategies such as solar power reserves have become key components in plans for new oceanfront homes.

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New White Paper on Metal Panel Fire Safety Released


The Metal Construction Association (MCA) has published a new white paper, “Fire Safety of Insulated Metal Wall Panels.” The document contains detailed information on the efficacy of insulated metal panels (IMPs) for insulation and fire safety requirements in the U.S. and other countries.
IMPs are lightweight composite exterior wall and roof panels with two layers of coated thin sheet metal (typically steel or aluminum) wrapped around a rigid foam core to form a stiff composite. They are tested for fire, structural, thermal transmittance/resistance, foam core properties, water leakage, and air pressure differential.

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