The Starting Gate is a blog page for Thoroughbred team members post information about engineering related topics.  Take a look at some of our information and let us know your thoughts.

Building Codes… Where did they come from?

In 2002, Kentucky adopted the 2000 International Building Code (IBC) with some modifications and currently is working under the 2012 IBC.  Over the years, people have asked me to explain the purpose of the Building Code and where did they come from.  Unknown-1

Several people have suggested to me that Building Codes are a result of our government’s need for making new laws.  Others have stated that Building Codes are material supplier’s and trade association’s method for make new trends in construction.

The truth is that when this question is asked to me, it brings a big smile to my face.  The reason for my smile is that the answer sometimes amazes people.  The first Building Code was actually written as far back as the year 228 AD.

To help better understand where Building Codes came from and their purpose, we have to learn about a man named Hammurabi.

imagesHammurabi was the ruler and founder of Babylon back in 1792-1750 BC.  Babylon was located in modern day Iraq and was the first metropolis.   Hammurabi proclaimed an entire body of laws which is referred to as The Code of Hammurabi and they gave the first written Building Codes.  Take a look:

  • 228. If a builder build a house for some one and complete it, he shall give him a fee of two shekels in money for each sar of surface.
  • 229. If a builder build a house for some one, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built fall in and kill its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.
  • 230. If it kill the son of the owner the son of that builder shall be put to death.
  • 231. If it kill a slave of the owner, then he shall pay slave for slave to the owner of the house.
  • 232. If it ruin goods, he shall make compensation for all that has been ruined, and inasmuch as he did not construct properly this house which he built and it fell, he shall re-erect the house from his own means.
  • 233. If a builder build a house for some one, even though he has not yet completed it; if then the walls seem toppling, the builder must make the walls solid from his own means.

Although the first Building Codes were a lot simpler than todays volumes of books, they had the same concept behind them.  Building Codes are intended for the protection, safety and wealfare of the general public.

If you have questions about the today’s Building Code, please feel free to contact us.

~ Darrin E. Croucher, P.E., S.I.




Cold Weather Concrete

Late fall in Kentucky brings many things, the start of basketball season, leaves changing and cooler weather.  Fall in Kentucky typically generates a unique weather pattern for construction.  This time of year, the Commonwealth can undergo several freeze and thaw cycles in a 24 hour day period which puts additional stresses on concrete.  Freeze and thaw cycles can greatly effect the placing, finishing and curing of freshly placed concrete and it needs to be protected.

The American Concrete Institute (ACI) defines cold weather concrete in ACI 318 as “a period when the average daily temperature falls below 40°F [4°C] for more than three successive days.”  As fall turns into winter, Kentucky can have many days in this range and precautions should be taken.  In addition to your project specifications,  Concrete In Practice, CIP 27 provides recommendations for cold weather concreting precautions.  They include:

Cold Weather Concreting Guidlines 

  1. Use air-entrained concrete when exposure to moisture and freezing and thawing conditions are expected.
  2. Keep surfaces in contact with concrete free of ice and snow and at a temperature above freezing priorto placement.
  3. Place and maintain concrete at the recommended temperature.
  4. Place concrete at the lowest practical slump.
  5. Protect plastic concrete from freezing or drying.
  6. Protect concrete from early-age freezing and thawing cycles until it has attained adequate strength.
  7. Limit rapid temperature changes when protective measures are removed.

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 12.42.25 PMAll parties associated with a project can feel the effects of cold weather concreting practices and there effects of not being followed.  If issues arise, headaches can result for the material supplier, contractors, designers and owners.  Questions may arise if the concrete was mixed and placed properly.  Designers may have a need to help determine if the in-place concrete meets their design specifications.  Contractors maybe asked to justify their work.  Owners many have issues to deal with that they did not expect.  All of these items result in lost money, delays and frustration, not something that promotes project success.

Additionally, test samples may not have been stored properly.  ACI recommends test samples to be stored in a 60°F-80°F degree environment for up to 48 hours.  Test samples left in the cold may result in wasted effort.  Those test samples may need to be discharged and additional work required to see if the material meets the design specifications.

We at Thoroughbred Engineering understand how our services impact the project and entire construction team.  Contact us to learn more about how our “Planning, Execution, Communication and Transparency” efforts can help to reduce the likelihood of your project being effected negatively by cold weather concrete issues.

~Darrin E. Croucher, P.E., S.I.


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