The purpose of building codes is to protect public safety by ensuring that buildings are constructed in a safe and sound manner. Building codes are minimum standards that must be adhered to and thankfully that’s easily accomplished with steel building kits. However, they do provide a reasonable level of safety for occupants and property. It must be reinforced that these codes are essential to help avoid devastating outcomes under conditions that may be considered catastrophic.
Of course, these codes are constantly being revised as technology advances and as well as experts come up with more modern approaches to building safety.
In many areas there are localized or uniform building codes (UBCs). These UBCs are promoted by the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO). The building codes particularly for steel buildings act to facilitate consistent and a safe structural design.
We must remind persons who are commencing their metal building project that failure to obtain the necessary local permits and code guide, can face serious penalties. Additionally, failure to act can lead to deconstruction as well by the local authorities. This is also likely as well if the building code is not followed. The building code tends to offer the minimum requirements, for safety and building, and this will also depend on your location.
For example, those in storm-prone areas will have a different requirement, to those that are in an area with a heavy snow load. Yes, this will impact the cost of course. Both buildings though relatively similar will have different integrated costs, But!! They will also be safe once built to standard.
Two Types Of Building Codes
- Mandatory building codes: These are codes that must be followed, in order for a building to be constructed or renovated.
- Voluntary building codes: These are codes that are not mandatory, but which may be adopted by builders and developers in order to improve the safety of their buildings.
Building codes are important for a few reasons:
- First, they ensure that buildings are constructed in a safe and sound manner.
- Second, they help to protect the public, you and also your property
- Third, they help to ensure that buildings are compatible with their surroundings (e.g., height restrictions prevent tall buildings from blocking the view of nearby buildings)
Consider The Seismic Coefficient
If you have commenced construction in a zone that has some seismic activity then it makes sense to have your steel building conform to the building codes for such. This will naturally ensure your safety and building integrity should your location be faced with some sort of seismic activity such as a tremor.
At least you know that your building can withstand the forces of an earthquake without losing its structural safety.
In The Case of Fire Safety
The local area building codes can act to protect you and your public in case of a fire.
Along with this as well is the limitation in the number of losses that could happen if the building is equipped with fire sprinklers. Further to this is the position and designated storage of hazardous materials in specifically built areas in your building.
Maybe if your building is being used for chemical use and storage – the amount of extractor vents and positions for such are stated in the building codes. Other examples are if there are high-temperature heat sources in the building or will be used in the building, then safety has priority. This is meted out by the respective code.
Building codes help to ensure that buildings are compatible with their surroundings.
Some areas will have building codes that may restrict the height of a building in order to prevent it from blocking the view of nearby buildings. Other codes consider the environment and the green spaces to ensure a balance, while others will take into account the wildlife and their sustainability.
How About Collateral Load?
This refers to the weight of the fixtures and add-ons to the structure of the building. This would include things such as mechanical and electrical systems, sprinklers, ceilings and so on. Your building code also takes this into perspective and provides that these do not compromise the safety as a result of their own weight.
These loads are also evenly distributed suspended loads inside of the building. In some building codes the minimum collateral load is 2 PSF. This takes care of the roof insulation and lighting. With respect to sprinkler systems this now becomes a collateral load of 3 – 4 PSF, of course this also depends on the building code in your area. More would be added with a suspended ceiling in place.