Building Codes: Everyday Tools for Disaster Preparedness and Relief

In the days following the powerful assault of Hurricane Michael on the Florida Panhandle, images of widespread devastation headlined television news coverage and print media. Not as prone to hurricane activity as the rest of Florida, the area hit by the almost Category 5 storm had many older homes built prior to the enactment of stricter building codes put into place after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. As a result, many structures built to less stringent requirements were unprepared to weather the onslaught of wind, rain, and debris tossed by Michael’s sustained 155-mph winds.

Nothing can guarantee a structure’s integrity when faced with such brutal conditions. However, contrast the post-storm condition of those older structures with that of newer buildings and the benefits of more rigorous regulations are clear. The aerial images of the impacted communities illustrate the value of implementing building codes that can contribute to greater resiliency both for the structures themselves and for the safety and comfort of the people and property contained within them during and after a storm makes landfall.

Media coverage of the storm’s aftermath included profiles of some of the structures that fared better than their neighbors. The New York Timesran a profile entitled, “Among the Ruins of Mexico Beach Stands One House, Built ‘for the Big One’” and the Washington Post published an article entitled, “Houses intact after Hurricane Michael were often saved by low-cost reinforcements.” 

When interviewed on CNN, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long said, “… there’s a lesson here about building codes. The key to resiliency in this country is where our local officials and state officials are going to have to do something proactively to start passing building codes to high standards.” 

As is often the case in the wake of a disaster, there is a profusion of interest in exploring strategies to protect communities and properties from devastation. These articles and interview reveal that building structures with conscious attention to resiliency can offer markedly improved performance in extreme weather. As an added bonus, many of the products and processes that deliver this resiliency can also contribute to decreased energy usage and operational costs for buildings regardless of the weather they’re subjected to.

Even before this summer’s series of destructive storms, elected officials and government agencies were working to implement wide-ranging strategies to protect our communities. Updating state and local building codes, which exist to safeguard life and protect private and public interests through regulating the design, construction practices, construction material quality, location, occupancy usage, and maintenance of buildings and structures, is one of the most effective ways to increase the safety and resiliency of our built environment.

Congressional Action

On two occasions this year, Congress enacted reforms for disaster preparedness that raise the profile and importance of building codes in planning for and recovering from disasters. The nation’s disaster relief law — the StaffordAct— was first reformed as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act and later reformed with permanent fixes under the FAA Reauthorization bill passed in October 2018. 

Under these amendments, building code adoption and enforcement are added as eligible activities and criteria used in grant programs aimed at reducing the impact of future disasters. In other words, states that act to adopt modern building codes and standards will be eligible for additional federal assistance in the event disaster strikes. Moreover, the reforms allow damaged buildings to be rebuilt with federal support to better withstand future events, rather than merely restored to their pre-disaster condition. 

While these changes do not specifically address energy codes, adopting and updating building codes will also lead to improvements in energy performance. Energy efficiency is a key part of a building’s — and a community’s — ability to withstand and quickly recover after a disaster. For example, a well-insulated building can maintain a comfortable temperature when power is lost or intermittent. Building energy codes will also encourage the construction of more robust building envelope systems that can help avoid the crippling effects of moisture intrusion that are common in severe weather events.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the first nine months of 2018 (through October 9) resulted in 11 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each. Moody’s Analyticsestimates that losses resulting from Hurricane Michael will cost between $15 and $21 billion. Damage to homes and businesses are a major contributor to the total financial impact of a disaster. 

Buildings constructed to meet or exceed modern building codes can therefore play an important role in reducing the overall economic impact of natural disasters. According to the “Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: 2017 Interim Report”published by the National Institute of Building Sciences, the model building codes developed by the International Code Council can save the nation $4 for every $1 spent. In addition, designing new buildings to exceed the 2015 International Building Code(IBC) and International Residential Code(IRC) would result in 87,000 new, long-term jobs and an approximate 1 percent increase in utilization of domestically produced construction material.

While people, pets and some belongings can be evacuated to safety with enough warning and resources, buildings can’t be moved to higher ground or be rebuilt overnight in anticipation of an oncoming storm. Indeed, buildings are often the only things separating people from the brutal forces of natural disasters. The protection they offer is often determined by the quality of the construction materials and the installation methods used, which are themselves often regulated by the safety standards in place at the time of original construction or major renovation. 

The recognition by Congress that modern building codes deliver an answer to disaster preparedness is a positive for homeowners and businesses across the country. States now have added incentive to prepare for tomorrow by enacting and enforcing better building codes today. And more exacting building codes will create momentum to raise the bar for all of the codes that work together to create stronger and more resilient buildings that will contribute to better outcomes in extreme weather and reduced energy consumption in any weather. 

About the author: Justin Koscher is president of the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA). For more information, visit www.polyiso.org.

DEWALT Manufacturing Plant Produces 10-Millionth Tool

DEWALT Charlotte, N.C. manufacturing plant has celebrated a milestone, as the professional tool brand’s 10-millionth tool rolled off the production line. Company executives were on hand to build the 10-millionth tool, a 20V MAX XR Lithium Ion Brushless 3-Speed Hammer Drill (DCD996P2).

Across its seven U.S. manufacturing plants, the brand produced more than 90 million individual products made in the USA with global materials in 2016, an almost 50 percent increase from the 62 million individual products in 2015, just one year earlier. This is an accomplishment towards the brand’s effort to expand its domestic manufacturing using global materials, an effort that began in 2013. In addition to Charlotte, DEWALT operates manufacturing facilities in New Britain, Conn.; Greenfield, Ind.; Hampstead, Md.; Shelbyville, Ky.; Cheraw, S.C.; and Jackson, Tenn.

Frank Mannarino, president of DEWALT Professional Products Group says, “Year after year, DEWALT has increased its production of tools made in the U.S. with global materials. We have worked hard to drive productivity and efficiency at our manufacturing facilities, delivering products with the same guaranteed quality customers have come to know and expect from the brand. We are a global brand proud to have been founded in the U.S. and proud to continue to manufacture in the U.S.”

DEWALT understands that buying American products and building the American economy are important to its customers. Connie Grant, an employee at the Charlotte plant states, “It makes me proud to work for a company that values the American workforce.”

DEWALT is committed to crafting tools as strong as its American pride. Visit the website to learn more about DEWALT products.

Shear Cuts Metal while Conserving Materials and Costs

Kett Tool Co.’s KD-400 18-Gauge Double-Cut Shears help manufacturers and contractors conserve materials and cut costs. The shears deliver precision cuts in cold rolled (C.R.) mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum, plastic and Formica without warping or bending the original material or the finished piece.

Kett Tool Co.’s KD-400 18-Gauge Double-Cut Shears help manufacturers and contractors conserve materials and cut costs.

Kett Tool Co.’s KD-400 18-Gauge Double-Cut Shears help manufacturers and contractors conserve materials and cut costs.

The Double-Cut Shears’ dual blades transfer any distortion produced in cutting to a small 7/32-inch waste strip, leaving behind material edges that are not hardened or burred to allow maximum use of sheet material. The blades’ swiping action also seals edges of coated metals.

Kett’s KD-400 shears use a 5-amp, variable speed, 2,500 RPM electric motor to produce straight or contoured cuts in C.R. mild steel (up to 18-gauge), most grades of stainless steel to 20-gauge, aluminum to 0.080 inches, and plastic or Formica up to 3/32 inches thick—all at speeds of up to 300 inches per minute. The lightweight, maneuverable shears easily follow a scribed line, capable of cutting a radius as small as 6 inches.

The KD-400 Double-Cut Shears are also available with a contour cutting blade 60-21C to cut tighter curves and the HS blade 60-21HS for cutting foam filled doors. All shear heads are precision made in the U.S. featuring A2 tool steel blades for prolonged durability.

The KD-400 Double-Cut Shears are available through authorized dealers.

Gear Keeper Offers Tool Tethering Solutions

Literature from Gear Keeper offers convenient tethering solutions that will safely secure an “untetherable” tool while still retaining the benefit of extending and retracting the tool as needed. Within the company’s free 16-page Safety Engineer’s Guide to Tool Tethering is a multi-page section, “How to attach lanyards to tools that don’t have attachment points,” which contains more than 50 demonstration photos. The section covers tethering commonly used tools, such as hammers and other tools that lack the necessary geometry or don’t have built-in attachment points required for tethering. Workplace considerations, such as tethers designed to anchor a heavy tool to a structure, and common workplace objects, such as hard hats, cell phones and more, are covered in the guide.  

Construction Companies Can Manage Tools via Mobile App

Tool management startup WiiN Solutions developed an app specifically for construction companies that allows them to manage tools via mobile device.

Tool management startup WiiN Solutions developed an app specifically for construction companies that allows them to manage tools via mobile device.

Construction companies spread across multiple job sites will no longer need to ask “where is it now?” Tool management startup WiiN Solutions LLC developed an app specifically for construction companies that allows them to manage their tools within seconds via mobile device.

Industrial grade QR labels and cloud-based inventory allow authorized user to search, locate, request and returns tools within the app. Administrators are able to regulate user access, respond to pending tool requests and manage tool inventory, whether in the field or the office.

Companies can eliminate waste by spending less time searching for tools and less money replacing lost ones. They’ll also be able to improve efficiency by quickly locating and accessing their tools from job sites.

Since the WiiN app is downloaded and accessed on smartphones, no bulky scanners or extra devices are needed to manage tool inventory. Currently, WiiN is available on iOS devices, with Android capability in the testing phase. Pricing is based on inventory size, with monthly and yearly subscription options.

Ergonomically Designed Tether Secures Tools and Prevents Injuries

The objective of personal tool tethering is to secure tools to prevent injury and damage to people and equipment below. At the same time, however, it is equally important the tether be ergonomically designed to maximize worker safety, productivity and convenience.

The new ergonomic Gear Keeper, model no. TL1-3014 tether for tools up to 15 pounds, employs a very low stretch force so as not to cause fatigue at full extension while providing the proper degree of comfortable recoil.

The new ergonomic Gear Keeper employs a very low stretch force so as not to cause fatigue at full extension while providing the proper degree of comfortable recoil.

The new ergonomic Gear Keeper, model no. TL1-3014 tether for tools up to 15 pounds, employs a very low stretch force so as not to cause fatigue at full extension while providing the proper degree of comfortable recoil. Delivering more than three times the stretch of competitive bungee-type tubular tethers, the Gear Keeper TL1-3014 elastic provides a gentle, low-resistance 61 percent stretch that minimizes a worker’s fatigue while maximizing his or her reach. This is achieved by having the elastic material sewn directly into the webbing during the manufacturing process.

The Gear Keeper tool tether also has a short retracted length (33 inches) and long extension (53 inches). This is a significant safety issue that helps avoid entanglement issues when climbing or working in close quarters. Additionally, to protect against “drop shock”, Gear Keeper tool tethers are load-tested with a built-in safety margin beyond the breaking point.

The TL1-3014 specifications include a fixed loop tool attachment lanyard constructed with a Spectra core inside of a tightly woven nylon cord. Tight weave means less chance of wear and snagging during use and easier threading through the tool’s lanyard loop. The tool attachment cord is typically the failure point of other lanyards. The TL1-3014 comes standard with an aluminum carabiner or with an optional stainless-steel carabiner (model no. TL1-3024).

The Gear Keeper tool tether also has a short retracted length (33 inches) and long extension (53 inches).

The Gear Keeper tool tether has a short retracted length (33 inches) and long extension (53 inches).

Learn More

Visit GearKeeper.com.
Call (888) 588-9981.

This “Roofers’ Choice” was determined by the product that received the most reader inquiries from the March/April issue’s “Materials & Gadgets” section.

PHOTOS: Gear Keeper

Secure Pneumatic Tools

Pneuhook provides an instant hook for any pneumatic tool.

Pneuhook provides an instant hook for any pneumatic tool.

Pneuhook, which was created by a construction worker for construction workers, provides an instant hook for any pneumatic tool. The hook ensures workers are able to focus on the immediate task without worrying about a tool sliding off the roof, falling from a precarious balancing position, or holding onto it between legs or with a foot. Like a tape measure, Pneuhook is a personal tool that will make any roofing worker safer and more productive and efficient.

Illuminate Dark Job Sites with LED Spotlight

DEWALT introduces its new 20V MAX* CORDLESS Jobsite LED Spotlight – model DCL043

DEWALT introduces its new 20V MAX* CORDLESS Jobsite LED Spotlight – model DCL043

DEWALT introduces its new 20V MAX* CORDLESS Jobsite LED Spotlight – model DCL043 – offering three LED Lights and one Red LED light to illuminates dark job-site work areas.

On the job site, commercial uses include working in dark areas for site inspections, and searching for leaks in roofs and ceilings. The Spotlight is IP54 rated with a water and dust resistance seal to help protect the Spotlight from water or weather damage for protection on the job site as well as for outdoor recreational use. The LEDs are encased in an over-molded, non-marking lens cover that provides protection.

The LED Spotlight features two lumen settings. On the1,000 light output setting, the Spotlight provides maximum brightness for up to 508 yards or 1,525 feet. The 90 lumens red light setting preserves battery life even longer.
The red LED light preserves night vision when using the spotlight outside or in dark buildings. The rods in your eyes are responsible for night vision, the red light from this Spotlight is good in situations where you need to keep your night vision from being compromised.

A pivoting head pivots 0 to 90 degrees for directing light where it is needed most to illuminate surfaces above or below the work area. A hanging hook and belt hook allow the Spotlight to hang in multiple locations hands free. Rubber over-molds offer a sure grip when hand-held or stationary on flat surfaces.

The DCL043 20V MAX* Lithium Ion Jobsite LED Spotlight will retail for approximately $89.00 (without battery or charger) where DEWALT products are sold. The DCL043 comes standard with a three-year limited warranty, one-year free service contract, and 90-day money-back guarantee.

*Maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) is 20 volts. Nominal voltage is 18.

Plug Tools into Retractable Tethers

Gear Keeper’s line of option-rich retractable tethers

Gear Keeper’s line of option-rich retractable tethers

Gear Keeper’s line of option-rich retractable tethers come standard with patented Q/C fittings. When a tool (weighing up to 2 pounds) is unplugged from the tether, the user selects the next tool to use, plugs it in and returns to work. Designed for maximum productivity, the tethers keep tools close to the body when stored while still allowing complete accessibility when in use. For example, the “Multi-Mount” clamp-on tool retractor for web belts (up to 2.25 inches) is designed for tools up to 36 ounces. Each tether in the series comes complete with a two-axis, rotating clamp-on belt clip that offers complete range of motion for any job.

Mobile Workstation Transports and Stores Large Tools

DEWALT's Multi-Level Workshop

DEWALT’s Multi-Level Workshop

DEWALT introduces the new Multi-Level Workshop—model DWST20880—a 4-level, mobile workstation ideal for transporting and storing large tools, as well as organizing hand tools, accessories and other job-site necessities.

The Multi-Level Workshop allows contractors to roll over rough job-site terrain right to up their work area. In one seamless movement users can open and extend the workshop for visible access to four levels of storage. This rolling workshop delivers 90 pounds of load capacity and 22.5 gallons of storage space.

Large power tools can be stored in the oversized bottom bin while hand tools and other odds and ends store easily in the middle section or top tool box. The middle section includes 8 compartments with removable dividers for customization of storage needs. Additional tools and job-site necessities can sit on the open lid for grab and go convenience.

The Rolling Workshop features a single pull-up latch for quick and easy opening. A reinforced telescopic metal pull handle offers easy maneuvering and comfortable grip allowing the user to pull or push the workshop, as needed. Heavy-duty 8-inch rubber wheels offer easy steering and maneuverability on job sites. Ball bearing slides provide smooth opening of the cantilever system.

When finished with your job, with one movement all storage compartments close and you are ready to wheel the Multi-Level Workshop away.

The Multi-Level Workshop is built in the USA with global materials.