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# Is it possible to use non-US codes in the US?

## Is it possible to use non-US codes in the US?

(OP)
Hi
This can possibly be a very simple question. Perhaps the US code is required and thats it.

I am loocking at the design of a temporary structure that will be moved over the world. Each stop is for a maximum of one month and one of the stops is on the American East Coast (low seismicity, high wind loads).

The maximum values for the loading is for seismic loading not the US location but the maximum wind load could be similair between US and two other locations. If we look at code applicability the code that covers the most locations is the Eurocode. But the structure will pass Europe, Africa, Australia and both North and South America. It is a public but temporary structure. Basically it is a type of exhibition.

Do you think it would be possible to get it approved in the US using the Eurocode?
Is there any possibility the seismic load could be ignored due to the short usage?

To make a complete calculation packade for the structure according to every applicable code would be an (unreasonable?) large assignment. So I am trying the figure out if there is any way to simplify things.

Thomas

### RE: Is it possible to use non-US codes in the US?

You can use any code your Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) will accept. The seismic loads have established equivalencies for the researchers working together. Juat got back from Nara conference and could look up a US name for you if you would like...

But first, submit your justification to the AHJ and get your 'no way' up front. Fight that battle first to waste less time. I think it is likely a hard one to get the okay on...

You may have far more luck with insuring this as a 'Product', or carrying out appropriate load testing of the assembled structure. Those are generally acceptable everywhere, if handled correctly.

### RE: Is it possible to use non-US codes in the US?

Agreed with CEL -- it's a matter of the AHJ and what they'll accept. Physics is physics, but everybody has their own unique rules on how physics gets approved.

Regarding seismic load due to short usage, adjustments can be made in many design codes to account for short return periods -- making it that much easier to justify that wind load will govern.

### RE: Is it possible to use non-US codes in the US?

Typically you would have to meet the requirements of the adopted code in that city or local jurisdiction.

I've never been aware of a case in the US where a local building department would just accept a structure which was designed based upon a foreign or non-adopted code.

As an approach, what you might do is determine the wind and seismic load demands of the various cities or locations where this "temporary" structure would occur, and design it to meet the worst case snow, wind, seismic, ice, etc. loads. Then perhaps hire a US engineer, licensed in the state's that you need, to review the design against the various IBC codes still in use in the US along with relevant AISC, ACI, etc. standards.

The US engineer may then be able to write the local city building departments a letter (with seal/signature) stating that the structure meets the applicable code.
The city then could logically accept the letter and the structure based on that.

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### RE: Is it possible to use non-US codes in the US?

I've been party to some glass work where a US jurisdiction accepted foreign code compliance. In that case, the foreign provisions addressed primarily deficiencies in us code provisions. I'd imagine that submitting under a foreign code where there's a perfectly good local one available would be asking for trouble.

I like to debate structural engineering theory -- a lot. If I challenge you on something, know that I'm doing so because I respect your opinion enough to either change it or adopt it.

### RE: Is it possible to use non-US codes in the US?

If this is a moveable tent-like structure for exhibitions, such as a circus tent for example, listing the design loads used and material strengths will help. However, what jurisdictions will accept as a Temporary structure, as opposed to Permanent one, could also be affected by the occupancy level.

In the years past, in Seattle, we had a tent-like structure collapse just south of the then Kingdome. There was a big flap over that. Can't remember the specific details.

Mike McCann, PE, SE (WA)

### RE: Is it possible to use non-US codes in the US?

Mike....a big "flap" on a tent project? Really? You make me laugh with your punny puns.

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### RE: Is it possible to use non-US codes in the US?

If it's just one jurisdiction in the US, that would simplify it. Assuming the other jurisdictions outside the US don't all have their own separate and conflicting rules.

I suspect in a lot of cases, the problem would be that the local building people would have zero knowledge of any foreign code, so something that might be entirely acceptable if they were familiar with it will be rejected just because they aren't.

It'd be worth looking into also, if the item in question was actually covered under building codes. Something like a circus tent, I see provisions for in IBC, etc. Something like a sculpture base or mobile, less likely to be considered under a building code.

### RE: Is it possible to use non-US codes in the US?

(OP)
Hi again

Thanks a lot for the input.

The answers are as I suspected. The structure is not "a tent" but rather a steel hall. Nevertheless, something to start with is probably to contact the authorities and propose a method for the verification. Like somebody said "Physics is physics" but the approval rules vary.

But thanks again for the input.

Thomas

### RE: Is it possible to use non-US codes in the US?

JAE:

I did not intend the pun, but I see it worked out well anyway. :)

Mike McCann, PE, SE (WA)

### RE: Is it possible to use non-US codes in the US?

why don't you design the structure using both USA codes and eurocodes, taking into account all max loads, and built the most demanding structure?
this way, you have done twice the work, but it'll be accepted everywhere?

### RE: Is it possible to use non-US codes in the US?

#### Quote (kingnero)

why don't you design the structure using both USA codes and eurocodes, taking into account all max loads, and built the most demanding structure?
this way, you have done twice the work, but it'll be accepted everywhere?

...and do it in both metric and US units 'cause a US-based AHJ may not accept metric.

### RE: Is it possible to use non-US codes in the US?

(OP)
Hi

Working with two codes is definitely a possibility. But don't forget Australia, Africa and South America. Also, Eurocode is not a single code. There are national annexes to consider even if they usually don't make things to complicated. So two codes would be manageable but a unique code for each location would be bad news. Especially for the client who will pay for the work .

And the use of different unit systems was not something I considered an issue. But perhaps it could be .

By the way, why do you think that Eurocode and US codes (with max loads) would be acceptable everywhere?

Thomas

### RE: Is it possible to use non-US codes in the US?

#### Quote (Thomas)

There are national annexes to consider even if they usually don't make things to complicated. So two codes would be manageable but a unique code for each location would be bad news. Especially for the client who will pay for the work
.

I've done some product work where it went like this:

1) Design based on one code required immediately = $VALUE 2) Design for each additional code required in the future = 20% x$VALUE

That can seem a little more reasonable to the client and gives you the ability to scale up the extent of your fee intake to match the escalation of the liability that you're taking on as the product gets used in additional regions.

I like to debate structural engineering theory -- a lot. If I challenge you on something, know that I'm doing so because I respect your opinion enough to either change it or adopt it.

### RE: Is it possible to use non-US codes in the US?

sarcasm on...Just use the International Building Code...it covers all nations, as its title states ...sarcasm off

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