Latest Articles in Code Arena

  • Talking recently with my younger son, whose passion is physics, I explained my concerns about the continued push within the energy codes to lower the maximum SHGC, which in turns lowers the visible light transmittance of the window. There are proposals pending for the next code change cycle that would establish the maximum SHGC as 0.25 in Southern climate zones. Even with very good glass, what... more »
  • We Chicagoans are, unfortunately, all too aware of the perks expected by some elected government officials. Whether its exotic trips or payment for a truck driver’s license or a vacated Senate seat, we don’t have to go back to the days of Al Capone to find crooks in Illinois. Of course this is not unique to Chicago. Nor is the expectation unique to elected officials. Stories about... more »
  • I was discussing the American Clean Energy and Security Act with my oldest son a while back. I explained that it had started out as a bill by these two representatives Waxman and Markey, who had brought it before the House Energy Committee, where it had been passed. At the time of our conversation, it had recently been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives. “So now it has to go to... more »
  • The 2009 edition of the International Codes is now available. The debut of a new edition of the I-codes usually sparks a flurry of questions about content and enforcement. It is timely therefore to devote this column to the most frequently asked questions and their answers: Is the 2008 edition of AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440 referenced in the 2009 I-codes?Yes. When the phrase “I-codes... more »
  • The only constant in life is change. These include new ways of getting things done, such as the use of a smart phones to check our e-mails, or the use of a Web tools like GoToMeeting to facilitate the effectiveness of our conference calls. Many changes are made because progress in technology makes them possible and cost effective. More recently, however, the International Code Council ... more »
  • President Barack Obama, in a January speech on energy and the economy, said “These are extraordinary times and it calls for swift and extraordinary action.” Translation—I am an astute enough politician to understand that the reason I have been elected as the president of the United States is that there are a whole lot of people out there who are unhappy with the situation, or... more »
  • There is a time for planting and encouraging growth. A time to plant seeds or young saplings, water and nurture them, so that the young plants increase in size and become strong. And there is a time for trimming the new growth back, to control the growth, and to protect the plant from becoming overwhelmed by the sheer size and weight of its own increase in volume. I am speaking, of course, about... more »
  • There has been a lot of press lately about federal bailout programs. I don’t think any U.S. citizen would disagree that our economy could certainly use a shot in the arm. But as all of us have the right to ask, I can’t help but wondering to what extent should the government be involved in regulating trade? The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 allocates $700 billion for use... more »
  • My one prediction for the International Code Council final action hearings that took place in Minneapolis in September was that they were going to be quite lively— particularly with regards to the energy code discussions. There were 27 public comments that dealt with maximum U-factors for residential construction, and another 18 for maximum SHGC, also for residential construction. The hope... more »
  • "I want a job like yours where I can get paid to write about what I did for my summer vacation," my son remarked. He was responding to my comments that I thought there were elements of Roman architecture, both ancient and medieval, that were relevant to today's development of U.S. building codes, and that I thought I would mention them in my next column for this magazine. We had just... more »