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Three, Four, and Five Story Building Requirement

hdebug

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Jul 4, 2020
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3
Location
Texas
There are several houses of earthen construction near my home in Texas, and they are beautiful structures; both the rammed earth and compressed earth block buildings. Many of the documents I am finding regarding construction with these materials deal with one or two story homes. I'm wondering: what are the codes that to abide by in order to construct a building that is greater than two stories with these alternative construction materials?

I'm currently searching these publications:
https://www.huduser.gov/Publications/pdf/res2000_2.pdf
https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1708-25045-9326/chapter7.pdf
 

hdebug

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Jul 4, 2020
Messages
3
Location
Texas
Sorry for the hiccup on grammar, I mean to ask: what are the codes to abide by in order to construct a building that is greater than two stories with these alternative construction materials?
 

cda

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Oct 19, 2009
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Basement
Sorry for the hiccup on grammar, I mean to ask: what are the codes to abide by in order to construct a building that is greater than two stories with these alternative construction materials?

So is this for your own use, or some other use.

In Texas it depends if you want to build in an Incorporated city or out on county area.

Most of Texas is under the International Residential Code, the year edition can vary.

Main thing it has to be structurally sound to stand up. And in TX depending on where you are at, there are either hurricanes or tornadoes.
 

Mark K

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May 12, 2010
Messages
1,664
The International Residential Code (IRC) is not intended to apply to these taller buildings. Taller buildings are intended to be governed by the International Building Code (IBC).

Since these alternative types of construction are not specifically addressed by the IRC it is the intent that the IBC Applies.

If a jurisdiction has adopted the IRC but not the IBC then I suggest that you have problems with an inadequate set of regulations. Assuming that the jurisdiction has not adopted the IBC my expectation that structural engineers would still use the IBC when the IRC does not apply..

Rammed earth buildings are not in the building code for some good reasons. Do not confuse good looking buildings with structurally adequate buildings.

Rammed earth buildings have a number of limitations that would preclude their use in taller buildings even if you invoked the alternate means of construction provisions.. This is especially true when earthquakes are a concern but I believe would still preclude their use in taller buildings when earthquakes are not a concern.

If you still feel compelled to use rammed earth construction keep the building low to the ground and make sure that there are a lot of walls that have few doors and windows.

I am not familiar with compressed earth block buildings but I expect that these comments would equally apply to them.
 

hdebug

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Jul 4, 2020
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3
Location
Texas
I wish I knew where to look in the IBC for information regarding maximum wall height of such structures.
 

cda

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Oct 19, 2009
Messages
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Location
Basement
I wish I knew where to look in the IBC for information regarding maximum wall height of such structures.

Not into that,

But would say there is no maximum, as long as the structural engineer can design it and certify it will stay up,
Sometimes a matter of what you build it out of.
 

Paul Sweet

Sawhorse
Joined
Oct 17, 2009
Messages
1,332
Location
Richmond, Va
Large overhangs are critical to keep water off the walls in a driving rain, especially if you're in eastern Texas. This is easy on a one story building, but gets harder as the building gets higher.
 

rogerpa

Silver Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2009
Messages
273
ASTM E2392 Design of Earthen Wall Building Systems

X1.4.4.2 Limit Wall Height-to-Thickness Ratio—Stout
walls are more stable and durable than thin walls; in lieu of (or
in combination with) the provisions of X1.4.4.1, limit the wall
height to eight times its thickness (medium seismic risk), and
no more than six times the wall thickness (high seismic risk).
 
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