Did you watch the Academy Awards this week? I didn’t see a lot of the movies (none probably, if the truth be told), but I did come across this list of “America’s Five Happiest Industries,” one of which is closely tied to the Oscars:
5. Motion picture and video industries;
4. Management of companies and enterprises;
3. Educational services;
2. Radio and TV broadcasting; and
1. Software publishers.
Funny, nothing associated with glass and glazing made it. Good for a laugh, right?
Just in case you thought, like Rodney Dangerfield, that we in the glazing industry “don’t get no respect,” especially when it comes to codes, consider this article, “The Fuzz Factor in Engineering.” It points out the explosion in code requirements for steel:
- AISI (steel cold-form steel) went from 22 pages in 1960 to 150 pages in 2012;
- AISC (steel construction) “ballooned” from 19 pages in 1941 to 239 pages in 2010; and
- Seismic requirements didn’t exist in the steel manual until 1992, at which time they were at 59 pages, and now only 20 years later they’re at 335 pages.
And, in case you think those codes aren’t directly related to curtainwall and windows, you might want to reconsider that. The latter two codes above set steel erection tolerances and how much a building can move during earthquakes. This must be accounted for in anchor design, for example.
There’s also ASCE-7, which drives wind load criteria. That took up 92 pages in the 1988 edition, while the 2010 version is a whopping 368 pages. Not all of that is related to walls, as ASCE covers roofs, too, but it shows the degree to which codes are changing.
Granted, IBC has simplified the overall building code picture from where it was 40 years ago. Who remembers using the UBC, the BOCA and the SBC, and keeping track of the local variations of all of them? The picture might be simpler in that respect, but the IBC energy code, all the USGBC LEED developments, NFRC certification, etc., have kept the pressure on our industry to be watchful and responsive.
A crucial point the “Fuzz Factor” article makes is that with codes changing and becoming more detailed, the chance for human error creeping into construction increases. And as mentioned in a previous blog , there’s some value in peer review, which is something the “Fuzz Factor” PE author promotes.
I think we already have enough safeguards within the glazing business, in that we have in-house or third-party engineers prepare our calculations, and those are submitted and reviewed by either the curtainwall or glazing consultant, and especially by the project structural engineers.
I hope the peer review process that the “Fuzz Factor” writer espouses won’t become something we have to include in our calculation preparation or review process. But who knows?