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Although housing performance codes based on standard test methods are a modern development, it is known that performance requirements in codes were in effect several thousand years ago. Standard performance tests on the structural elements of houses include vertical compression and racking on walls, transverse bending and concentrated load on walls, floors, or roofs, and sandbag impact on walls and roofs. Performance requirements related to these tests have been developed. At the same time codes without these performance test provisions have included “alternative methods” clauses that are essentially performance requirements. Most codes are thus doing a good job of protecting public health and safety and at the same time permitting progress in the building arts.
Engineer, U. S. Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, Wis.