Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fire sprinklers in homes?

In a landslide vote this summer, the International Code Council mandated that fire sprinklers be required in all one and two family homes and townhouses built to the International Residential Code ("IRC") as of January 1, 2011. However, because IRC codes aren't enforceable until they are adopted by local jurisdictions, the long running debate over residential fire sprinklers is far from over. Home builders are totally against the above requirements preferring hard-wired, interconnected smoke detectors which are already in the building code, over sprinklers. It'll be interesting to see how this works out.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What Welding Does to Aluminum

This is an issue that architects, engineers and contractors need to look out for. Welding aluminum may create issues that do not get much attention for steel: the effect of the welds on the strength of the base metal. Welding significantly reduces the strength of the aluminum base metal. Reason being, the heat created by welding reduces the yield and ultimate strength of aluminum alloys that get their strength from various heat-temper treatments. Reductions in strength may exceed 50-60%. In a nutshell, if you weld aluminum improperly, you risk significantly reducing the strength of the welded member. Building officials and inspectors are aware of this and you run the risk of them red tagging your project. Therefore, structural calculations by a registered Professional Engineer or a Product Approval are a must.