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 August 2007
Global Notebook

New Saudi Arabian Building Code to Be Based on I-Codes

The International Code Council will share building safety knowledge and technical expertise with Saudi Arabia, according to a memorandum of understanding between the U.S.-based Code Council and the Saudi Building Code National Committee. The 2003 and 2006 International Codes will be the basis for a new Saudi Building Code to be implemented later this year. The MOU calls for joint projects such as the development of building codes and specifications, preparation of technical information services and publications, and the development of technical seminars. Under the agreement, representatives from the Code Council and the SBCNC will meet in both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to exchange technical expertise in support of building code-related activities and the promotion of technologies, research, publications and services. The Code Council also is working with Mexico to develop residential construction standards based on the International Residential Code and supporting code development efforts in several Caribbean nations. I-Codes are also used by the U.S. Department of Defense to guide the construction of military bases and other facilities abroad.

Proposals Being Accepted for AISC Faculty Fellowship

The American Institute of Steel Construction is accepting proposals from untenured faculty in a tenure track who are interested in structural steel for the AISC Faculty Fellowship to be awarded in 2007. The fellowship is a four-year, $30,000 per year award for promising faculty members. The program is described in the AISC Faculty Fellowship Award Program Description dated June 2007 are available here. Eligible candidates wishing to respond to this invitation must submit the application on or before the application due date of Aug. 31.

ASME Issues a “Grand Challenge”

A new American Society of Mechanical Engineers initiative called the Energy Grand Challenge will build partnerships and identify resources inside and outside the Society to help define technology, policy, and market issues and a more sustainable overall energy system. The Energy Grand Challenge Web site will host information on ASME’s public policy activities, the energy-related programs of ASME divisions and institutes, and news and announcements. The Web site will also feature videos from the society’s Energy Grand Challenge congressional briefing series, which is focused on providing international perspectives on successful energy technologies. ASME invited experts from France and the United Kingdom to brief congressional staff on nuclear power and ocean power during the two sessions. The briefings were held in May in conjunction with the U.S. House Congressional Research and Development Caucus, which is co-chaired by Reps. Rush Holt, D-N.J., and Judy Biggert, R-Ill.

NIST WTC Recommendations Spur New Model Building Codes

Safer buildings — especially tall structures — that are more resistant to fire and more easily evacuated in emergencies are the goal of the first comprehensive set of building code changes recently approved by the International Code Council, based on recommendations from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The recommendations were the result of the findings of NIST’s three-year investigation of the collapses of New York City’s World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001. The changes will be incorporated into the 2007 supplement to the ICC’s International Building Code, a model code used as the basis for building regulations promulgated and enforced by U.S. state and local jurisdictions. Those jurisdictions have the option of incorporating some or all of the code’s provisions but generally adopt most provisions. The model code changes address such areas as the fire resistance of structural components, the use of sprayed fire-resistive materials (commonly known as “fireproofing”), elevators for use by first responders, the number of stairwells and exit path markings. For more information, including a Web-based system for tracking the progress toward implementing all of the NIST WTC recommendations, click here.

NRMCA Aggregate Grading Reports

After a considerable amount of research, the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association has completed two detailed reports on aggregate grading: Effect of Continuous (Well-Graded) Combined Aggregate Grading on Concrete Performance Phase A: Aggregate Voids Content (Packing Density) and Phase B: Concrete Performance. Aggregate packing tests showed that the use of well-graded combined aggregates did not necessarily lead to maximum aggregate packing density. Concrete performance studies showed that the use of well- graded combined aggregates did not necessarily lead to lower water demand, lower shrinkage, lower bleeding or higher strength as is normally anticipated. Improvements in finishability and segregation resistance were observed in certain test conditions. Based on the findings, the authors conclude that coarseness factor and 8-18 individual percent retained charts are potential concrete mixture optimization tools that could be evaluated and used by concrete producers. These should not be invoked as requirements in project specifications as they do not assure intended performance. The report also provides a procedure for readers to develop their own aggregate grading study program with local materials. The complete reports can be found here. //