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Board of Appeals - March 21, 2019 Minutes

Board of Appeals
March 21, 2019

Members Present: Chairperson Clay Dietrich, Mark Honzay, Justin Schoenberg, David Obermiller

Others Present: Bruce Taralson, Ryan Erickson, Clinton Hildebrand, Melissa Gaulrapp

Chairperson Dietrich called the meeting to order. Mr. Schoenberg moved to approve the minutes of the February 21, 2019 meeting and Mr. Honzay seconded the motion. All members presented voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Unfinished Business
Mr. Taralson noted that there were unresolved issues to be reviewed. He stated that Mr. Cooper would meet the definition of a registered design professional and that and exception to IECC Section C408.2.5 existed allowing for a delay in testing due to climactic conditions. Mr. Taralson reviewed the commentary from the International Code Council regarding mortar behind brick veneer as noted in IRC Table R703.8.4(1). Mr. Schoenberg agreed that no amendment was necessary to this section. Mr. Dietrich noted that the concern had arisen from a building failure on a multi-story building and that he suggested staff and builders be more attentive to the required drainage on taller buildings with brick veneer. Mr. Taralson noted that this discussion centered on the IRC and Mr. Honzay observed that there was no requirement in the commercial code.

Mr. Taralson asked Mr. Schoenberg to review the proposed amendment to Section R404. Mr. Schoenberg responded that the proposed amendment was the same as the requirements for the State of Minnesota code. He stated that the default anchor bolt spacing in the IRC was an absolute maximum that did not take soil pressure into account. He noted that the difference between the flood code and the IRC number is drastic and that the values for the Minnesota code had been calculated with those soil pressures taken into account.

Mr. Taralson stated that staff did not support this amendment. He explained that the rest of the state of North Dakota did not have the reduced anchor bolt spacing and that this would make Fargo different from the other surrounding communities. He stated that the six-foot maximum had been in the code unchanged for decades and was generally not amended in the rest of the country. He noted that there were details that that conflict with other sections in the IRC that would also need to be amended to eliminate those conflicts or for clarity. He stated that there were seven or eight tables in the code that refer to this section but the proposed amendment does not include the shorter or taller walls, such as five-foot walls or ten-foot walls. He noted that the proposed amendment did not include references to other changes the Minnesota code had made to related sections. He observed that there was no guidance on how blocking was to be accomplished for compliance with the requirement. He directed the Board’s attention to a letter from the Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead supporting the code as written and noted that Fargo had not seen failures at this connection.

Mr. Dietrich stated that he could see both sides of this issue and pointed out that the people who typically used the maximum spacing would be the ones who could least afford to fix problems after the fact. Mr. Schoenberg stated that builders were constructing deeper basements and that consolidation and poorly maintained drainage would create problems over time. He suggested that he would like to discuss the question with the IRC code development people. Mr. Dietrich stated that this should be addressed at some point. Mr. Schoenberg asked why there was such a dramatic difference between the IRC and the flood requirements, which were designed to 65 pounds per square foot. The Board discussed backfill requirements and the differences between the two sets of requirements. Mr. Taralson pointed out that the engineer who designed the flood requirements was not there to answer questions but that the adopted document had been developed with the City Engineering Department and FEMA in order to maintain the City of Fargo’s basement exemption.

Mr. Taralson asked if staff often saw six-foot anchor bolt spacing in the field and Mr. Hildebrand stated that they did. The Board discussed the issue further and agreed that at some point a specific amendment could be crafted at a later date. Mr. Dietrich pointed out that Fargo has the heaviest classification of soil so the national standard may not be sufficient. Mr. Taralson pointed out that the proposed amendment would move the code much closer to the flood requirements. He discussed with the Board that the HBA F-M might have an interest in looking at typical local construction and decide with staff and Board members what requirements would make sense for everyone, including truss bracing, sheetrock on the bottoms of floor trusses, and how changes to the floor membrane changed the way the floor and foundation worked as a system.

Mr. Schoenberg asked if it was possible for the Board to come back and address this issue separately at a later date and Mr. Taralson responded that it was. The Board agreed that this was the best approach and the proposed amendment was withdrawn.

New Business – Review of all amendments for proposed adoption

Mr. Taralson noted that a compilation of all of the proposed amendments had been distributed and explained what the next step for adopting the 2018 International Codes would be.

Mr. Dietrich asked about the IBC section requiring stairways for above 40 feet. Mr. Erickson responded that they did not have something specific but that the Fire Department had a policy handout for another section with vague wording and that they would provide the same for this protection during construction requirement. He noted that it would not be broadly applied, as there were many ways builders could address the issue, but that the code itself did not need to be amended in order to maintain that flexibility. Mr. Dietrich stated that he agreed but that having a policy would be important. Mr. Erickson asked if the Board wanted to meet once the policy had been published and Mr. Dietrich stated that they did not. Mr. Taralson discussed with the Board whether there were groups that could be used to distribute this policy to builders.

Mr. Schoenberg asked if Figure R404.1.2(1) was from the code or a local amendment. Mr. Hildebrand responded that it had been designed by Ulteig Engineers many years previous. Mr. Schoenberg noted that there was no specific maximum for the amount of clay that could be placed on the noted granular fill. Mr. Hildebrand stated that there was not but that it was rarely used because of the requirement for granular fill.

Mr. Dietrich stated that The Board of Appeals recommends adoption of the 2018 editions of the International Building Code, the International Fire Code, the International Residential Code, the International Mechanical Code, the International Fuel Gas Code, the International Energy Conservation Code, the International Property Maintenance Code, and the International Existing Building Code together with the amendments accompanying the report.

He stated that the Board of Appeals recommends the Director of Inspections provide the City Commission a report of all codes and amendments approved by the Board that are associated with the adopting of all 2018 codes reviewed. The Director of Inspections will send a final report to the City Commission with a recommendation for their approval to result in readings and final adoption.

Mr. Obermiller moved recommend that the City Commission approve adoption of these codes together with the approved amendments thereto. Mr. Schoenberg seconded the motion. All members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Staff Reports

Mr. Taralson stated that there were no staff reports. There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Bruce Taralson
Board Secretary