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Structural changes in the 2012 International Building Code

July 2013 Features CODES IBC



Part I of this two-part article provides a brief overview of the more significant changes to
Chapter 16 of the IBC, which covers design loads for structures.
By John R. Henry, P.E
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About 100 successful code changes to the structural provisions of the 2009 International Building
Code were subsequently incorporated into the current 2012 edition of the IBC. The 2012 edition of
the IBC references several hundred national standards, which are listed alphabetically in Chapter
35. The year or edition of the standard is only shown in Chapter 35, not in the body of the code. For
example, Sections 1604.10 and 1613 reference "Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other
Structures, ASCE/SEI 7" for determination of wind and seismic load effects, but do not indicate what
edition. Chapter 35 shows the edition (year) of the standard being referenced. The main structural
standards referenced in the 2012 IBC for loads and materials are shown in the following table.
Key referenced structural standards in the 2012 IBC
Subject IBC Chapter Referenced Standard in 2012 IBC
Structural loads 16 ASCE/SEI 7-10
Concrete 19 ACI 318-11
Aluminum 20 ADM1-2010
Masonry 21
TMS402-11/ACI 530-11/ASCE 5-11
TMS602-11/ACI 530.1-11/ASCE 6-11
Structural Steel 22 AISC 360-10 AISC 341-10
Cold-formed steel 22 AISI S100-07/S1-10
1

Wood 23
AWC NDS-2012
AF&PA SDPWS-08
2

1
See Chapter 35 for complete list of AISI standards referenced in the IBC.
2
Same as 2009 IBC (no change in 2012).
Of the structural standards referenced by the 2012 IBC, perhaps most significant is the 2010 edition
of "Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures, ASCE/SEI 7 (ASCE 7-10)." Part I of
this two-part article provides a brief overview of the more significant changes to Chapter 16 of the
IBC, which covers design loads for structures. For a complete discussion of the significant changes
to the 2012 IBC, including both structural and non-structural fire and life safety provisions, refer to
Significant Changes to the International Building Code, 2012 Edition, available from the ICC.
Section 1604.5, Risk Category. The term "occupancy category" has been changed to "risk
category" to better reflect the intended meaning and to coordinate the terminology with ASCE 7-10.
The term "occupancy category" is somewhat misleading because it implies something about the
nature of the building occupants and "occupancy" relates primarily to the non-structural fire and life
safety provisions, not the risks associated with structural failure. Some structures regulated by the
IBC and IEBC are not even occupied but are assigned an occupancy category because their failure
could pose a substantial risk to the public.
Although the terminology changed, the classifications continue to reflect the progression of the
consequences of failure from the lowest (Risk Category I) to the highest (Risk Category IV) (see
Figure 1 on page 40). A detailed discussion of the risk categories is contained in Section C1.5 of the
ASCE 7-10 commentary.

Figure 1. Approximate Relationship between Number of Lives Placed at
Risk by a Failure and Risk Category (Courtesy of ASCE, ASCE 7-10
Commentary Figure C1-1).
Section 1605, Load Combinations. The strength design and allowable stress design load
combinations in the 2012 IBC have been coordinated with the load combinations in Section 2.3 (SD
and LRFD) and Section 2.4 (ASD) of ASCE 7-10, respectively. Loads due to fluids, F, and lateral
earth pressures, ground water pressures, or the pressure of bulk materials, H, as well as ice loads
have been included. The load combinations for "other loads" for LRFD in Section 1605.2.1 and ASD
in Section 1605.3.1.2 were modified to include atmospheric ice loads for ice-sensitive structures.
These sections reference ASCE 7 Section 2.3.4 for LRFD and ASCE 7 Section 2.4.3 for ASD,
respectively. The term "ice-sensitive structure" has been added to Section 202.
Section 1605.2, Load Combinations Using Strength Design or Load and Resistance Factor
Design. The wind design requirements of Section 1609 were extensively revised to update and
coordinate them with the latest wind load provisions in ASCE 7-10, which are based on ultimate
design wind speeds, Vult. Ultimate design wind speeds produce strength level wind loads similar to
seismic load effects. For strength design or LRFD, the load factor on the wind load, W, has been
changed to 1.0 to account for the new strength level wind forces in ASCE 7-10.
Section 1605.3, Load Combinations Using Allowable Stress Design. For ASD, the load factor on
the wind load, W, has been changed to 0.6 in both the basic and alternative basic ASD load
combinations to account for the new ultimate design wind speed in ASCE 7-10 (WASD = 0.6Wult ).
The factor in the alternative basic ASD load combinations has been modified to be either 1.3 or
1.0. When allowable stresses have been increased or load combinations have been reduced (as
permitted by a material chapter in the code or a referenced standard), the coefficient is taken as
1.3. Otherwise is to be taken as 1.0. To achieve consistency with the strength design load
combinations and ASCE 7-10, earthquake load effect, E, was removed from the basic ASD load
combination Equation 16-13, and a new load combination Equation 16-14 was added. This has the
effect of retaining roof live load, Lr, and rain load, R, in combination with wind load, W (Equation 16-
13), but removed these loads in combination with earthquake load, E, in Equation 16-14. This
achieves consistency between the ASD load combinations and the strength design or LRFD load
combinations in Equations 16-4 and 16-5.
Table 1607.1, Minimum Live Loads. Many live loads in Chapter 4 of ASCE 7 were updated in the
2010 edition of the ASCE 7 standard. To coordinate the changes in ASCE 7-10 with the 2012 IBC,
the live loads prescribed in IBC Section 1607 and Table 1607.1 have been updated to coordinate
them with the live loads of Chapter 4 and Table 4-1 in ASCE 7-10. In some cases, duplicate
provisions in the code were deleted because they were incorporated into ASCE 7-10. For example,
the detailed loading requirements for vehicle barriers were deleted from the code and replaced with
a reference to similar provisions in ASCE 7.
Section 1607.6, Helipads. The terminology and live load design requirements for helicopter landing
areas have been updated and coordinated with ASCE 7-10. The new term "helipad" is now used to
describe helicopter landing areas. A helipad is defined as a structural surface used for landing,
taking off, taxiing, and parking of helicopters. The previous provisions were unclear as to whether or
not helicopter live loads were intended to be separate or in addition to the load combinations
required by Section 1605. The helipad loading requirements have been relocated to Section 1607.6
(which prescribes live loads) from Section 1605 (load combinations). The actual loading criteria
required to design helipads were updated and coordinated with the helicopter loads specified in
ASCE 7-10 and references to dead load, D, and snow load, S, which served no real purpose, were
deleted.
Section 1607.7, Heavy Vehicle Loads. Provisions relating to the design of structures supporting
heavy vehicle loads in excess of 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight have been updated. Structures
intended to support heavy vehicle loads are designed in accordance with the same specifications
required by the jurisdiction for the design of roadways and bridges, such as AASHTO. The new
requirements apply specifically to fire truck and emergency vehicles, and heavy vehicle parking
garages. Changes were also made to loading requirements for forklifts and movable equipment.
Sections 1608.3 and 1611.2, Ponding Instability. A new definition of "susceptible bay" has been
added to clarify where ponding must be considered in the design of roof structures to avoid
progressive deflection. A susceptible bay is defined as a roof, or portion thereof, with 1) a slope less
than 1/4 inch per foot; or 2) on which water is impounded upon and the primary drainage system is
blocked. Only those portions of the roof considered susceptible bays must be designed for ponding.
Areas of the roof with a slope of 1/4 inch per foot or greater toward points of free drainage are not
considered susceptible and need not be designed for ponding.
For a complete discussion of important provisions in the 2012 IBC, including structural and non-
structural fire and life safety requirements, refer to the 2012 International Building Code Handbook,
available from ICC.
John R. Henry, P.E., is the principal staff engineer, International Code Council. Contact him at
jhenry@iccsafe.org.
Structural changes in the 2012 International Building Code

November 2013 Features CODES IBC

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Part II of this two-part article provides a brief overview of the more significant changes to Chapter 16
of the 2012 IBC, including wind loads, mapped acceleration parameters, and atmospheric ice loads.
By John R. Henry, P.E.
About 100 successful code changes to the structural provisions of the 2009 International Building
Code (IBC) were subsequently incorporated into the current 2012 edition of the IBC. The 2012
edition of the IBC references several hundred national standards, which are listed alphabetically in
Chapter 35. The main structural standards referenced in the 2012 IBC for loads and materials are
shown in Part 1 of this article (See July, 2013 issue).
This article is a continuation of the brief overview of the more significant changes to Chapter 16 of
the IBC, which covers design loads for structures. Perhaps the most significant structural standard
referenced by the 2012 IBC is the 2010 edition of Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other
Structures, ASCE/SEI 7 (ASCE 7-10). For a complete discussion of the significant changes to the
2012 IBC, including structural and non-structural fire and life safety provisions, refer to Significant
Changes to the International Building Code, 2012 Edition, available from ICC.
Section 1609, Wind Loads
Equation 16-33, Conversion of
wind speed from V
ult
to V
asd
.
The wind design requirements of Section 1609 were extensively revised to update and coordinate
them with the latest wind load provisions in ASCE 7-10. A very significant change is that the wind
load maps in ASCE 7 and the IBC are now based on ultimate design wind speeds, V
ult
, which
produce a strength level wind load similar to seismic load effects. In developing the new wind speed
maps, it was decided to use multiple ultimate event or strength design based maps in conjunction
with a wind load factor of 1.0 for strength design. For allowable stress design (ASD), the load factor
has been reduced from 1.0 to 0.6, thus the load combinations in Section 1605 had to be modified
accordingly. Several important factors related to more accurate wind load analysis were considered
that led to the decision to move to strength based ultimate event wind loads.
In developing the new wind speed maps, it was decided to use multiple ultimate event or
strength design based maps in conjunction with a wind load factor of 1.0 for strength design.
For allowable stress design (ASD), the load factor has been reduced from 1.0 to 0.6, thus the
load combinations in Section 1605 had to be modified accordingly.
As a result of the new strength-based wind speed, new terminology had to be introduced into the
2012 IBC. The former term "basic wind speed" has been changed to "ultimate design wind speed"
and is designated V
ult
. The wind speed that is equivalent to the former basic wind speed is now
called the "nominal design wind speed," V
asd
, and the conversion between the two is given by
Equation 16-33, as V
asd
=V
ult
.
0.6

The conversion from V
asd
to V
ult
is a result of the wind load being proportional to the square of the
velocity and the ASD wind load being 0.6 times the strength level ultimate wind load (V
2
asd
=
0.6V
2
ult
). It should also be noted that the term "basic wind speed" in ASCE 7-10 corresponds to the
"ultimate design wind speed" in the 2012 IBC.
Because many existing provisions in the code are driven by the wind speed, it was necessary to
modify the wind speed conversion section so that the many requirements triggered by wind speed
were not changed. The terms "ultimate design wind speed" and "nominal design wind speed" were
incorporated in numerous locations to help the code user distinguish between the two. In cases
where the code has used wind speed to trigger a specific requirement, the ultimate wind speed, V
ult
,
must be converted to a nominal design wind speed that corresponds to the former basic wind speed.
Thus, a new table in the 2012 IBC converts V
ult
to V
asd
so that the mapped wind speed thresholds in
various parts of the code can still be used:
For example, in a case where the 2009 IBC imposed requirements where the basic wind speed
exceeds 100 mph, the 2012 IBC now imposes the requirements where V
asd
exceeds 100 mph. A
nominal design wind speed, V
asd
, equal to 100 mph corresponds to an ultimate design wind speed,
V
ult
, equal to 129 mph.
V
ult
100 110 120 130 140 150 160 170 180 190 200
V
asd
78 85 93 101 108 116 124 132 139 147 155
Table 1609.3.1, Wind Speed Conversions.
Over the past 20 years, wind speed maps have changed from fastest mile to 3-second gust and now
to ultimate 3-second gust wind speeds. For a comparison of ASCE 7-93 (fastest mile) wind speeds,
ASCE 7-05 (3-second gust) ASD wind speeds, and ASCE 7-10 (3-second gust) ultimate wind
speeds, refer to Table C26.5-6 of the ASCE 7-10 commentary. Note that the conversion in ASCE 7-
10 is given by V
ult
=V
asd
.
1.6
, which produces slightly different values than does IBC Equation 16-33.
Beyond the adoption of the new strength design wind speed maps, the wind load calculation
provisions that were contained in Chapter 6 of ASCE/SEI 7-05 have been reorganized and
divided into six separate chapters (26 through 31) for improved clarity and ease of use. This
is similar to the reorganization of the seismic design provisions in ASCE 7-05, which were
broken down into several chapters to facilitate their use.
Beyond the adoption of the new strength design wind speed maps, the wind load calculation
provisions that were contained in Chapter 6 of ASCE/SEI 7-05 have been reorganized and divided
into six separate chapters (26 through 31) for improved clarity and ease of use. This is similar to the
reorganization of the seismic design provisions in ASCE 7-05, which were broken down into several
chapters to facilitate their use. This reorganization into multiple chapters required several
coordination revisions to the IBC code language. In addition, ASCE/SEI 7-10 also includes a new
simplified method for use in the determination of wind loads for buildings up to 160 feet in height.
Figure 26.1-1 of ASCE 7 shows a flowchart of the new wind design procedure and the various
chapters, which is reproduced on page 38.
Figure 26.1-1 Outline of process for determining wind loads. Additional outlines
and User Notes are provided at the beginning of each chapter for more detailed
step-by-styep procedures for determining the wind loads.
Outline of process for determining wind loads. With permission from ASCE.
The alternate all-heights wind design procedure is maintained in the 2012 IBC and was updated to
conform to the new ultimate wind design procedure in ASCE 7-10.

Section 1613.5.1. Mapped Acceleration Parameters
The 2012 IBC seismic ground motion maps have been updated to reflect the 2008 maps developed
by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project and the
technical changes adopted for the 2009 NEHRP Recommended Seismic Provisions for New
Buildings and Other Structures (FEMA P750). The risk-targeted maximum considered earthquake
(MCER) ground motion response accelerations are defined as the most severe earthquake effects
considered by the code, determined for the orientation that results in the largest maximum response
to horizontal ground motions adjusted for targeted risk.
The USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project and the technical changes adopted for the
2009 NEHRP (FEMA P750) are part of the ongoing federal effort to make the most current
earthquake hazard information available to users of the IBC. The ground motion maps in the 2012
IBC also incorporate technical changes adopted for the 2009 NEHRP Provisions that include: 1) use
of risk-targeted ground motions, 2) the maximum direction ground motions, and 3) near-source 84th
percentile ground motions.
The titles of the maps in the IBC were revised from the former "Maximum Considered Earthquake
(MCE) Ground Motion" to "Risk-Targeted Maximum Considered Earthquake (MCER) Ground Motion
Response Accelerations" to reflect the changed titles in the 2009 NEHRP and ASCE 7-10. Although
the maps in the IBC are generally illustrative of the earthquake hazard, the contours in some regions
cannot be read clearly enough to provide exact design values for specific sites. Precise seismic
design values can be obtained from the USGS website
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/hazards/designmaps/ using the longitude and latitude of the building site.
The latitude and longitude of proposed building sites can be obtained from GPS mapping programs
or websites such as google.com, topozone.com or trails.com.
Section 1613.4, Alternatives to ASCE 7
Many of the alternatives in Section 1613.6 of the 2009 IBC to ASCE 7-05 have been deleted in the
2012 IBC because they have subsequently been incorporated into ASCE 7-10. For example,
Sections 1613.6.1, 1613.6.3 through 1613.6.8, and 1613.7 in the 2009 IBC provide alternative
amendments to various requirements in ASCE 7-05 and are no longer necessary because similar
provisions were incorporated into the 2010 edition of ASCE 7.
Section 1614, Atmospheric Ice Loads
A new section, definition and notation for atmospheric ice loads and ice-sensitive structures is added
to the 2012 IBC for consistency with ASCE 7-10. An ice-sensitive structure is a structure for which
the effect of an atmospheric ice load governs the design of the structure or portion thereof. These
include lattice structures, guyed masts, overhead lines, light suspension and cable-stayed bridges,
aerial cable systems for ski lifts or logging operations, amusement rides, open catwalks and
platforms, flagpoles and signs. Section 10.1 of ASCE 7-10 requires atmospheric ice loads to be
considered in the design of ice-sensitive structures. The term "ice-sensitive structure" is defined in
Section 10.2 of ASCE 7-10 and this definition has been added to the IBC to provide the technical
basis for determining which structures must be considered ice-sensitive and therefore required to be
designed for ice loads in accordance with the applicable provisions of ASCE 7 Chapter 10. The
LRFD load combinations in Section 1605.2.1 and ASD load combinations in Section 1605.3.1.2
(other loads) were modified to include ice loads where applicable. Where atmospheric ice loads
must be considered, these sections reference ASCE 7 Section 2.3.4 for LRFD and Section 2.4.3 for
ASD, respectively.
For a complete discussion of the more important provisions in the 2012 IBC, both structural and non-
structural fire and life safety requirements, refer to the 2012 International Building Code Handbook,
available from ICC.
John R. Henry, P.E., is the principal staff engineer, International Code Council. Contact him at
jhenry@iccsafe.org.