City council stares down combustible-material specs in code amendment

Sources: National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Silver Spring, Md.; CP staff

The Sandy Springs (Ga.) City Council has voted unanimously to amend the city’s building code to include new requirements prohibiting use of combustible materials in the frames and load bearing walls of structures above three stories or 100,000 square feet. The measure comes at a time when many cities are weighing similar measures to increase the resiliency of new buildings.

“The City Council with the support of Mayor Rusty Paul voted decisively to keep their people secure and buildings resilient,” says Kevin Lawlor, a spokesman for the NRMCA-led Build with Strength campaign. “In order to make sure the well-being of all communities across the country is preserved, it is vital that officials and experts in both government and architecture follow Sandy Springs’ lead.”

The amended code is based on City Council findings factoring local climactic, geologic, topographic and public safety conditions. In order to create easily accessible development regulations that integrate the adopted state regulations, Mayor Paul and the Council locally amended the state minimum standard code to provide for increased building quality, sustainability, durability, and longevity, while revitalizing the areas zoned for uses other than what is currently developed.

The new ordinance provides assurance to building occupants and fire safety professionals who adjust their firefighting strategy based on a property’s structural composition. As National Association of State Fire Marshals Director of External Relations Jon Narva notes in a recent video, “It’s just not worth a firefighter’s life to go into a building that might collapse on them.”

“It’s a very simple equation, the stronger the building materials you use, the safer occupants will be. The Sandy Springs Council set[s] an example for the rest of the country,” affirms Lawlor. “All communities are deserving of strong, durable and, most of all, safe construction. That means concrete in favor of wood.”


Related article
‘Build with Strength’ frames NRMCA’s low- to mid-rise market value proposition