Changes to codes, standards in the manufacturing, industrial building
Several changes to the design of manufacturing and industrial buildings are covered here by the experts, with a focus on codes and standards
- David L. Cooper, PMP, Principal, Smith Seckman Reid Inc. (SSR), Memphis, TN
- Andrew David Hager, BASMA, PE, LEED AP, Senior Mechanical Design Lead, CRB, St. Louis
- Darren Rogge, Senior Associate, Jordan & Skala Engineers Inc., Norcross, Georgia
- Joe Schadt, Construction Executive, Industrial, Harris, St. Paul, Minnesota
Please explain some of the codes, standards and guidelines you commonly use during the project’s design process. Which codes/standards should engineers be most aware of?
Andrew David Hager: International Building Code, NFPA 70: National Electrical Code, International Energy Conservation Code, International Mechanical Code, International Plumbing Code, Fuel Gas Code and International Fire Code, IAPMO, NFPA standards, CGA, ASHRAE standards. USDA and Food and Drug Administration requirements, NSF, ACGIH, SMACNA, Local Municipality Adopted Codes and Standards (may differ from the International Codes), ASME and ASTM Standards, Code of Federal Regulations, UL Listings, Seismic Design Standards, ANSI, IECC-ES, Federal Emergency Management Agency, OSHA, OSHPD (California) and more. All codes are now offered in electronic format, which makes it easier to search, bookmark and reference. Electronic versions are critical for working remote.
Darren Rogge: We perform code research at the commencement of the project and we work in collaboration with the client or end-user to understand any design criteria that they have to be included in the project. Typically, the combination of these two elements outlines the design parameters and provides a solid design path moving forward. Understanding the adopted codes for the project’s jurisdiction is paramount to developing a design that can be permitted and avoids costly changes.
What are some best practices to ensure that such buildings meet and exceed codes and standards?
Andrew David Hager: Use a third-party reviewer for code compliance and code compliance review software such as COMCheck for building energy codes.
Darren Rogge: LED lighting with motion sensor controls are fairly common design elements for these types of projects. The use of high-efficiency HVAC cooling equipment and gas-fired heating systems assist in providing an energy-efficient building that meets the energy code requirements. Implementing a building automation system will also provide an enhanced ability to better operate the facility and increase energy efficiency.
How are codes, standards or guidelines for energy efficiency impacting the design of industrial and manufacturing facilities?
Andrew David Hager: Yes, we are seeing energy code compliance working into the industrial and manufacturing projects where these sectors were previously exempt from compliance.
Darren Rogge: The IECC is probably one of the main codes that drive the MEP elements to be specified. The more recent versions of the IECC have implemented a variety of energy-efficiency requirements that impact lighting wattages, lighting controls, office receptacle controls, building ventilation and hot water distribution. The locally adopted codes being enforced for your project can have a significant impact on your design requirements and the project construction costs.
What new or updated code, standard, guideline organization or association do you feel will change the way such projects are designed, bid out or built?
Darren Rogge: At Jordan & Skala Engineers, we work on projects all over the U.S. and the code that typically drives the design parameters the most is the adopted energy code. The past few editions have typically included a new requirement that impacts design and construction costs. In California, the requirements of Title 24 will have a significant impact on design.
What are some of the biggest challenges when considering code compliance and designing or working with existing buildings?
Darren Rogge: The biggest challenge designing revisions to an existing building is determining the extent of what elements will be required to be updated to the currently adopted codes. This typically involves reviewing the project with the local code officials before issuing the project for permit to explain the proposed project scope and discuss what impacts the current codes will have on the project. The availability (or lack thereof) of existing drawings will also impact your ability to define existing conditions. If existing drawings are not available, various assumptions will most likely have to be made that can impact construction costs.
Andrew David Hager: Bringing the existing building up to current codes and standards. We work with many clients that buy a warehouse, industrial or manufacturing building that is either completely gutted or needs to be gutted for new construction. The existing building needs to be brought up to current codes before the project permit is issued and before a certificate of occupancy. This means we have to implement updates into the design. Existing building can have many unknowns, even with documentation (as-built drawings). Change often occurs without documentation records. It is not uncommon to find hidden issues to the building structure and underground piping systems.
How will COVID-19 change codes and standards in these types of buildings? What do you expect for the next code cycle? Define the code you’re discussing and any specific changes.
Andrew David Hager: We are expecting changes to the International Mechanical Codes, specifically the ventilation section and exhaust to require better air circulation and filtration.