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Innovative Material Reuse: Shipping Containers used as Structural Building Components continued This article seeks to highlight issues that need to be considered when repurposing shipping containers into buildings, and to highlight recent advancements at the Code Council that may begin to address code compliance. THE PROBLEM Ports of entry along the West Coast of the United States receive thousands of ships delivering goods from manufacturers in Asia and elsewhere around the world. Sea-going ships carrying containers transport goods of varying value and fragility efficiently and reliably. The balance of trade between the United States and trading partners is negative because the U.S. imports more goods than it exports. As a consequence, shipping containers delivered to the U.S. sometimes have to be abandoned due to the cost of shipping empty containers back to their points of origin. The surplus of shipping containers has caused a need to recycle the steel in the containers, or more recently, to find alternative uses for them as storage buildings, shelters for the homeless or construction trailers. Modular homes have been able to offset housing construction costs, making them more efficient and affordable. On-site labor costs are reduced as well. Construction time also can be shortened due to reduced framing time. A collateral benefit is improved fire resistance and resistance to termite damage due to the mostly metallic construction. WHAT ARE SHIPPING CONTAINERS? Shipping containers, also formally known as Intermodal Containers (IC), transport and store a wide variety of goods and materials in a way that protects them from damage due to weather, handling between various modes of transportation and vandalism. Additionally, they protect the merchandise and goods within from theft. The shipping containers are transferred back and forth by three primary modes of transportation: seagoing vessels, trucks and rail. They also are stored in yards awaiting transportation or unloading. During the process, they can be subjected to rain, snow, corrosive seawater spray and the heat of the sun. Shipping containers reduce the cost of transportation due to their ability to stack as much as nine high. As a result they are designed to withstand high vertical and lateral forces, as well as cyclical fatigue resulting from repeated cycles of thermal expansion and contraction. All the material properties and manufacturing quality control necessary to protect stored and transported goods from inclement weather and from damage during transportation also can be useful when shipping containers are adapted for reuse into buildings. The challenges arises when trying to demonstrate compliance with the IBC and its referenced materials standards. THE IBC AND MATERIAL REUSE IBC Section 1706 requires materials used to construct buildings comply with referenced standards, such as AISC 360, in the case of steel construction. Additionally, ASCE 7 requires structural frames resisting lateral forces due to wind or earthquake loads be assigned to classes of sys- —*ADVERTISEMENT— People Helping People Build a Safer World® Now includes ISPSC 2015 International Code Interpretations compiles interpretations applicable to the: -IBC -IECC -IEBC -IFC -IFGC -IMC -IPC -IRC -ISPSC For convenience, the book is organized by code and code section, and includes applicable code text with each interpretation. GET YOUR COPY NOW! OCTOBER 2016 | 37


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