[GSBN] Big News!!
bohdan at bdcoarchitects.com.au
Wed Aug 18 18:03:27 CDT 2010
Congratulations David and Martin from all of us here in Australia
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From: GSBN-bounces at greenbuilder.com [mailto:GSBN-bounces at greenbuilder.com]
On Behalf Of John Swearingen
Sent: Thursday, 19 August 2010 5:18 AM
To: (private, with public archives) Global Straw Building Network
Subject: Re: [GSBN] Big News!!
Awesomely Great News!!!! Thanks to everyone for all your spirited work!
On Mon, Aug 16, 2010 at 10:13 PM, <strawnet at aol.com> wrote:
I want share some great news. Earlier today, here in Chicago, Martin
Hammer's "comment"/proposal to include the strawbale code he's been working
on over the past few years in California into the new International Green
Construction Code (IgCC) was approved by a committee vote of 8 to 6! The
IgCC is the new US code for commercial (and high-rise residential) buildings
that will become part of the family of 2012 International Codes (I-codes).
It will go through a full code development cycIe with the rest of the 2012
I-codes next year and there is work that will need to be done still to make
sure it doesn't get rejected in that process, but getting it into the second
public draft of the code now is a very big step forward.
I served on the drafting committee for this code from last summer through
the spring of this year. For more information about the IgCC and to download
the whole IgCC first public draft and the comments - including Martin's
proposals for strawbale and earthen building and the EcoNest comment in
support of straw clay go here:
You'll find these listed as comments 5-134, 5-135 and 5-136.
I was the only proponent speaking in favor of it here, and there were others
who spoke in opposition. The initial motion was to disapprove but it failed
5 votes to 9 after considerable and very mixed discussion - which surprised
me because of the nature of some of the comments - that it was still not
ready and needed some technical fixes.
The failure of the motion to disapprove required a new motion and Chris
Mathis, an old building science friend from North Carolina, offered a motion
for approval. That was followed by more discussion, with more concerns
expressed that it wasn't ready. Then, just before the second vote, Chris
pressed the committee to push the envelope. He said they should approve it
and get it in, and rather than just having the few people who are very
knowledgeable about it work on improving the things that still need to be
done, "Let thousands of people look at it and help improve it through the
next round of the code development process!" He said it was time to start
pushing these things through. Then they voted - and it passed 8 to 6! I was
amazed and delighted! So it is going into the second public draft!
There were two other similar proposals (they're called "comments") that were
heard right before the strawbale comment. The first, from Paula Baker Laport
and Robert Laport proposed including the straw clay guidelines from New
Mexico. Next was the other submitted by Martin, that one in support of
earthen construction based on the new ASTM standard for earthen wall systems
that I had initiated almost 10 years ago and Bruce King has spearheaded over
the past few years. I spoke in support of both, but they were disapproved,
though both received encouraging suggestions to bring them forward again
after addressing non-mandatory/permissive language and other issues.
Because they were heard one after the other, and I was the only proponent
for them, I got to speak first for each one and so I had a total of 6
minutes (2 minutes each) to frame them all in terms of the big issues I've
been speaking to for all these years, including the coming challenges of
ever-more limited and expensive energy, the low-impact, low-tech, climate
beneficial, local/regional benefits, the industrial/proprietary bias and
difficulty in funding research, testing and development for public domain,
non-proprietary materials and systems. I started off by talking about the
fact that I had been in buildings in Europe built with materials like straw
clay and earth that are twice as old as this country! And to say that these
are durable and safe ways of building when done properly. And when talking
about the ASTM earthen standard, I said that if they looked at it they might
think that it was too low tech to be reasonable compared to the standards
that they're used to for concrete and other industrial materials. But, I
said, It was intentionally low tech. That I was involved in initiating that
standard almost ten years ago and it was both to enable the use of those
materials here and to reverse the outlawing of earthen building in
developing countries through the adoption of modern industrial codes. That
it was designed to enable people to build safe, durable, healthy, and
affordable buildings anywhere in the world-including the in United States. I
mentioned that the committee that developed that standard included the
leading experts on earthen building and engineering from around the world
and was based on reviewing and incorporating the best from international
codes and standards for earthen building.
After the first two went down, I was quite convinced because of the comments
that the sb proposal would share the same fate and, thankfully, I was wrong!
So hats off to Martin, Bruce, Matts, and many others who have worked so long
and hard to develop these codes and to Chris Mathis for his leadership and
visionary action on the committee.
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