Fire Separation

by Engineer Designer on February 26, 2014

I was asked to write a guest article for another website about fire separation requirements in hangar home projects. Check it out. Ken Risley on Fire Separation in Hangar Homes        

Tips From The Hangar Home Designer

by KenRisley on December 24, 2013

For those who decide to live in an airport community, considerations for designing hangar homes should be made to ensure that lifestyle and comfort needs are met. Due to the complex nature of these types of properties it is best undertaken by a professional. The following tips are provided by the hangar home designer to ensure that the best possible results are achieved. The design of the home will be based on the regulations and restrictions that have been established within the area. Such methods will influence the overall architectural features that will be included in the design from the size of the hangars to clearance requirements. Hiring a professional and experienced designer can aid in determining the size requirements and overall shape of the house in accordance with the regulatory measures and client preferences. Overall size of hangars should be assessed and will have to be implemented in accordance with the rules that have been established by the community. In most instances the codes for the area will determine whether you are able to build homes that are considerably large and offer a fair amount of space. In the United States the hangars that are of a considerable size will be subject to more restrictions in comparison to the smaller properties. Building a hangar with a size greater than 2000 sqft can kick in regulatory requirements and commercial standards that can make the design process more difficult. Professionals can assist in the provision of the necessary modifications to aid in achieving a hangar space and living space that is conducive to individual needs and meets with the codes. Owner requirements and wants will do a large part of determining the size. Designers and Engineers will advise on how to best design spaces per the standards of a modern residence. Designers can advise on the number of rooms, size, and the use of furniture to maximize space and add a trendy appeal. A beautifully designed space can be achieved with the right approach and considerations. Depending on the intended use, time will need to be taken to determine whether hangars will be attached to the home or be detached. That decision will be based upon preferences of the owner. See other articles for the pros and cons of each alternative. If the owner is intending to do home projects and airplane building or maintenance projects, the noise and the smells may need to be managed. This alone could dictate separating or not the hangar and the home. The hangar home designer will point the owner in the right direction and even encourages a fair amount of personal research into the various possibilities. Relying on a professional approach can aid in the construction of a functional and beautiful looking property. Designers and Engineers will adhere to building codes and still offer custom solutions for aesthetically pleasing results.

2010 FBC Code Takes Effect – Some of the Changes.

Post image for 2010 FBC Code Takes Effect – Some of the Changes.

by Engineer Designer on April 2, 2012

Remember the old purple 1985 Code Book (for those of us  operating in 80’s)? That was the entire Code – and, quite adequate by many accounts. The picture to the right is my own copy which I still keep up on the shelf for occasional reference. Most recognize that the Codes prior to 1992 were quite adequate. The failures noted after Hurricane Andrew were more the lack of  implementation than lack of rules. The subsequent Code changes were, by in the opinion of many, an over-reaction. We saw it again in 2007 in the wake of the 2004 hurricanes (Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne (and later tropical storm Bonnie)).
We have begun to expect that any later changes in code would  inevitably become tougher and tougher. However, some of the recent changes in FBC 2010 have been a surprise. The actual design wind pressures have reverted, to some extent, back to pre-2007 levels.As most of us are slogging through the new Code I have noted a few key points that might be of interest to many builders and do-it-yourselfers. These are not, of course, all the changes but are some of the key ones.
  • A key one, mentioned in my last Newsletter to Florida Builders, is that we are operating, now, on 3 wind charts which are showing Ultimate Wind Speed. These speeds appear higher but actually are not, in practice. Key is that we need to show the new numbers on the plans. We need to show the pressure calculations based upon current data.
  • Now, all plans for new construction of buildings must have a statement on the plans that states that the design load bearing values of the soils have been taken into account for the design of the structure and the values must be shown on the plans.  This appears to me to be a CYA clause in the Code. From my perspective, our statement that we have taken it into account states that we have considered it and have made a judgment whether or not it is adequate for the purposes. This places the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the professional involved. I think there will be more questions asked about the site conditions.
  • Compaction test must be on site for the footer/slab inspection (if any fill 12” or more is put on the property under the slab) before and inspection can be approved. Compaction tests have been a flexible area in my experience. Modified Proctor ratings are usually noted on the plans but I have seen countless project where this is never checked. Now, per the Code, it must be.
  • Stair treads for residential are a minimum of 10” in depth maximum of 7 3/4 riser. This is a bit more latitude than we had in the past.
  • All elevations must be shown on plans for flood compliance i.e. base flood; base plus freeboard, top of lowest floor in “A” zones, bottom of lowest structural member in “V” zones. This, to me, says that we will need to be aware of actual elevations of the site. We used to be able to state generic terms and relative elevations. This one appears to mean that we need to me more specific in certain instances.
  • Openings in all block walls must be sealed before putting in windows or doors, Must use sealant not caulk. Blocks must be waterproofed around the entire opening on the inside and around the face of the blocks also.
  • Clearance of wood siding must have a 2” clearance from vertical concrete i.e. columns, porches, deck, etc.. This is common sense but we need to make sure of this and I suspect the examiners will want to see it on the plans.
There are tons of other areas of change, The Energy Code has changed. It is estimated that the overall Energy Code impact is about 5% more strict. Since it is my job to get as many of these things right as possible, up front, I have been hard at work becoming familiar with the new provision. If you have any Code questions, give me a call. Hopefully I’ll know it, but if not, will learn as I  help dig up the answer and get it added to my General Notes.