1. ATTENTION returning members. If you are coming here from the old forum for the first time, you will need to reset you password. However, we had an email problem getting password reset links set out to a lot of the email addresses. That problem is temporarily rectified but IF you still have an issue, email me direct at info@thebuildingcodeforum.com and I will give you a temporary password.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Welcome to the new and improved Building Code Forum. We appreciate you being here and hope that you are getting the information that you need concerning all codes of the building trades. This is a free forum to the public due to the generosity of the Sawhorses, Corporate Supporters and Supporters who have upgraded their accounts. If you would like to have improved access to the forum please upgrade to Sawhorse by clicking here: Upgrades
    Dismiss Notice

Plan to Loosen Seismic Codes Could Save Homebuyers Money

Discussion in 'Residential Seismic' started by mark handler, Jun 1, 2013.

  1. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Messages:
    9,500
    Likes Received:
    467
    Plan to Loosen Seismic Codes Could Save Homebuyers Money

    Plan to Loosen Seismic Codes Could Save Homebuyers Money | WREG.com

    Posted on: 3:56 pm, May 31, 2013, by Adam Hammond, updated on: 05:29pm, May 31, 2013

    (Memphis) The cost of building a house in Shelby County could soon skyrocket from 15-50% due to new earthquake codes according to the Shelby County Commission.

    Now the Memphis City Council and county commissioners are looking at a resolution that would loosen some seismic codes they recently adopted in order to keep the homebuilding costs down.

    It’s no secret a major fault line runs through the Mid-South.

    It’s not as active as those in California, but building codes in Shelby County are now the same as those in San Francisco.

    For example under the new codes homes cannot have brick on the second floor and have to have extra steel enforced walls in every room.

    Another safety code is steel panel reinforcements on each side of the garage door.

    The purpose behind this is if your house collapses during an earthquake, it will keep the frame of your house sturdy, so you can back your car out if you need to get to safety.

    All of the upgrades to newly built homes come with a cost.

    Kim Grant Brown is Vice President of the West Tennessee Homebuilders Association and says the new codes will dramatically increase the cost of building and buying a home.

    She says they already build homes safely and follow existing codes and the new rules are overkill, “We already bolting the house and tie the houses down. A lot of this stuff we already do and we are already building safe houses. This is just over the top.”

    Commissioner Heidi Shafer says they are considering both sides and the scientific research, “What we’re really wanting to take a look at is if the new building codes actually save lives. Is it worth the cost benefit ratio.”

    She expects the commission will decide on the codes within the month, “Who wants to live in a home that has no chance of giving you enough time to get out of the building, or at least getting into a safe part of the building so you will be in a protected pocket.”
     
  2. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Messages:
    9,500
    Likes Received:
    467
    Hey lets just live for today, forget about New Madrid, and let the Feds (FEMA) foot any unforeseen earthquake damage in the future.

    In other words, I'm building these houses so they collapse on you and your kids, making a buck and building my house elsewhere.
     
  3. Mark K

    Mark K Platinum Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    1,297
    Likes Received:
    52
    If they are adopting the IBC or IRC this article is full of misstatements.

    The IBC and IRC takes into account the different earthquake potential. This calibrating was done in partnership with seismologists and engineers from the rest of the united states. This is not dictated by California.

    You can have brick on the second floor you just need to engineer for it.

    Where does it say you have to have extra steel enforced walls in every room? We certainly don't do that in California.

    Seismic reinforcing is not to allow you to get your car out of the garage. It is intended to prevent collapse.

    The premium to provide additional seismic resistance is no way near 50%. The cost should be below 15% and likely less if the current buildings are in compliance with the building code. You get these type of misstatements when individuals do not know what they are talking about.

    Is there somebody monitoring this forum from Shelby County?
     
  4. hlfireinspector

    hlfireinspector Silver Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Messages:
    281
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am just across the line and this is the same old stuff we got from the homebuilders assoc. about residental sprinklers just now the ball is in the building officals court not the fire inspectors court.
     
  5. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Messages:
    9,500
    Likes Received:
    467
    Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
     
  6. jar546

    jar546 *****istrator

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2009
    Messages:
    5,349
    Likes Received:
    164
    Lets just remove all code requirements to save money for everyone.
     
  7. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Messages:
    9,500
    Likes Received:
    467
    Except FEMA...
     
  8. Lynn

    Lynn Bronze Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am not in Memphis/Shelby County now, but I was before I was fired after implementing the first steps of residential wall bracing requirements.

    We made some headway, but the Memphis area homebuilders is a very strong, politically connected organization that has been allowed to influence the level of code enforcement to the point of disregarding local and state code.

    I was "squashed like a bug" to use the terminology of a couple of homebuilders.

    It is a sad commentary, and scary, to have the homebuilders establish what they beleive to be their own standards for level of safety, and it is not limited to the homebuilders. The development community there is equally strong and see only the cost of compling with the nationally recognized standard ICC as being a detriment to the business community. They feel Memphis can't compete for industry and commercial development when codes for Shelby county impose additional cost for seismic considerations, when other competing communities allow cheaper construction due to not having to comply.

    All of the information put out by homebuilders is erroneous and exagerated but nobody cares.

    The only way it is going to change to to have the New Madrid fault show what can happen. California has seen it and take the seismic threat serious. Memphis does not.

    Bad as it is, it is better that it was. Earlier building codes in Memphis and Shelby County deleted the chapters of the code that delt with seismic issues entirely. This was contrary to State Law, requiring local municipalities to adopt code as least as stringent as State Code, but Memphis has always been big enough to do what they want.

    A major quake with loss of life will result in all kinds of finger pointing and blame as to why codes were not enforced as they should have been, but until then the fox is in the henhouse and running the show.

    Sorry if I my post has a hint of frustration and anger, but I guess I haven't gotten over the reality of how special intrest and politics can rule over public safety.
     
  9. Uncle Bob

    Uncle Bob Sawhorse

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,409
    Likes Received:
    0
    Lynn, Your in good company here. Most of us have had to deal with your frustration. I have been asked to leave a town or two a few times myself; and they gleefully go about building dangerous structures; all in the name of "affordability" that was added to the IRC by the politically correct ICC in 2003. I'm amazed that I've lasted almost a year where I am now; and they are complying with the codes; not "my codes"; but the adopted codes. Uncle Bob
     
    #9 Uncle Bob, Jun 11, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 11, 2013
  10. Lynn

    Lynn Bronze Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Bob

    I appreciate your response.

    It is a hard job to do the job as intended.

    The more you educate yourself and apply the code for the good of the public, the more at risk you become.

    I suppose politics is an occupational hazard in this line of work.

    Gald to hear it is going so good so far where you are now.
     
  11. JBI

    JBI Sawhorse

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    Messages:
    2,693
    Likes Received:
    242
    Typical homebuilders association response, or should we call it propaganda?
     
  12. Alias

    Alias Sawhorse

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Messages:
    1,650
    Likes Received:
    0
    Lynn,

    Ditto what Uncle Bob said. I was laid off last May, told it was budgetary, but, I know some of it was due to my refusing to roll over and play dead on a commercial project. Mayor was listening to the "developer" who didn't know his head from a hole in the ground. Oh, but I was the stupid one, wouldn't let them build it without a full set of plans......... and this was in CA.

    Sue
     
  13. Lynn

    Lynn Bronze Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Recognizing a common theme here, I have a question.

    Are there any states or municipalities out there where the building inspector is given a due process hearing before having their employment is terminated?

    Fire Dept. inspectors have it, police officers have it, but building inspectors have no protection.

    Do your job the way it is suppose to be done and you are subject to losing your job.

    Get educated so you know how to do your job and you are subject o losing you job.

    Do not play politics and you can loose your job.

    Employment at the will of the mayor, I believe is how phrase they use.

    The policeman that writes the mayor's wife a ticket for speeding, at least has a hearing to justify his or her actions before being terminated.

    The fire inspector that closes the councilman's brother's place of business down due to chains and padlocks on the exit doors after multiple warnings is given a due process hearing.

    But heaven help the building inspector who's actions based on public safety but are contrary to the political powers that be.

    Maybe other states and other mulicipalites have a due process hearing for building inspectors.

    If you do great, if you do tell me how to initiate legislation to enact such in my part of the world.

    Building inspectors should not have to worry about the choices they make relative to public safety and how it will affect their employment or unemployment.

    Gettin on a rant here, but honestly, if their is some way to bring about change to afford a lowly building official some protection in doing his or her job I sure would be interested in hearing about it.

    Lynn
     

Share This Page