Whether you live on the nation's west coast, east coast, or even outside the U.S., if you work in a field related to construction it’s not “news” that seismic bracing requirements have become much more stringent in recent years. While no one can accurately predict when or where the next earthquake will hit, building owners, contractors, engineers, architects, building officials, and others are being faced with seismic requirements on projects everywhere. The costs associated with navigating these requirements can be cumbersome and confusing for even the most qualified construction professionals.
Are you working on a commercial construction project with seismic requirements? Here are five tips to keep in mind.
1. EVERY STATE HAS REQUIREMENTS FOR BRACING IN THE BUILDING CODE.
Currently, all U.S. states and many foreign countries are using the International Building Code. Many states have adopted the code at the state level, while others have adopted more rigid versions of the code at the county level. Most importantly, it should be understood that every geographic area of the country must be mindful of these seismic code requirements2. OVER THE PAST YEAR, CONCRETE ANCHOR ATTACHMENT VALUES HAVE BEEN DRASTICALLY REDUCED PER THE ASCE 7-10.
While this change has been around for close to a year, we are just now starting to see the effect of the reduced values of concrete anchor attachments at the project site.3. THERE ARE MANY WAYS SEISMIC BRACING CAN BE REDUCED OR ELIMINATED.
By carefully understanding how to best support suspended utilities on a project, seismic bracing can be drastically reduced. The code allows many items to be excluded from the requirements if they are suspended tight to the structure. This is the easiest way to avoid bracing and reduce costs.
4. LABOR IS THE #1 COST ASSOCIATED WITH SEISMIC BRACING.
Sometimes there can be a significant difference in quotes when bidding a project. A cheaper quote may not be a less expensive solution when you factor in labor and installation costs. Typically, companies that provide preassembled products (such as seismic kits) can be the most cost effective solution because field labor personnel, even those with less experience, can easily install them.5. IF THERE IS NO ONE INSPECTING THE SEISMIC, WHO IS ON THE HOOK TO MAKE SURE IT’S INSTALLED?
If an inspector fails to ensure that seismic bracing is properly installed on the project, or an inspector doesn’t exist, you are still responsible to install bracing to the code minimums. Ultimately the proper installation responsibility is on the contractor installing the work. We have found that many general contractors have started policing the bracing installations, as they are required to turn over a building to the owner that is code compliant
Code regulations safeguard public health and safety and are the backbone of building codes. Learn more about seismic services and requirements online. If you are interested in speaking to someone at ISAT about seismic requirements on your project, or to request a quote contact us online.