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A Year of Change

2018 State of the Industry Report

Williams Andy And Kriner Scott
Andy Williams (left) and Scott Kriner

We expect 2018 will be a year of many changes in the construction world for members of the Metal Construction Association (MCA). While 2017 was a relatively quiet year for changes in the building codes and test standards across the U.S., we expect 2018 will more than make up for the break.

We expect 2018 will be a year of many changes in the construction world for members of the Metal Construction Association (MCA). While 2017 was a relatively quiet year for changes in the building codes and test standards across the U.S., we expect 2018 will more than make up for the break.

On April 15-25, committee action hearings for the International Building Code Council will take place in Columbus, Ohio. This year, the nonstructural (Group A) proposals will be presented and voted on. This will include proposals for the International Building Code (IBC). With the Grenfell tragedy in England and several other fires in high-rise buildings around the world, it is anticipated that there will be a significant number of proposed modifications to the code. We are fortunate in the U.S. that many of the issues identified as problem areas in other parts of the world have been addressed to some extent in the IBC. That being said, we must continue to update and improve the codes providing clarification and improvement to ensure safe construction. In addition to the IBC, non-structural proposals will also be heard for the International Fire Code (IFC) and the International Wildland- Urban interface Code (IWUIC).

One of the key test standards used to evaluate the performance of exterior wall assemblies, NFPA 285, was the focus of much debate in 2017. Several modifications to the test sample construction were proposed for the standard only to be defeated and sent back to Technical Committee for further development. New Technical Committee hearings will take place in 2018 where modifications will be further debated with the goal of improving the NFPA 285 standard.

In the area of sustainability, MCA will be refreshing the original Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) developed in 2010 for several products and processes associated to the membership. As that work moves forward, MCA with the assistance of UL Environment, Marietta, Ga., will be completing a required update and modification to the Product Category Rules (PCR) for three MCAmember Environmental Product Declarations (EPD), which are metal composite material (MCM) panels, insulated metal panels (IMPs) and roll-formed steel panels for roofs and walls. With the new developments in both LCA and PCR documents, we anticipate that more companies will be added to the industrywide EPDs in 2018.

2017 also saw a number of new technical documents released by MCA. Useful industry information was developed in the areas of IMPs, MCM and preformed metal panels. Documents are well underway to release in 2018 in these areas as well as the areas of metal forming equipment, retrofit and roofing.

MCA also remains an active member of the Roofing Industry Committee on Weather Issues (RICOWI). No one is hoping that 2018 will be as active or worse than 2017 regarding hurricanes and/or hail storms, however, if Mother Nature unleashes damaging weather this year, RICOWI stands ready to evaluate roof damage and help determine what construction improvements can be made to prevent devastating damage.

MCA will also remain involved in two significant roof-related research projects started in 2016. One project is the creation of a new test standard for perimeter edge metal designed for metal roof systems that will be able to be referenced in specifications and recognized by the various building codes. The other is aimed at metal roof products with high air permeability. Many residential metal roofing products would benefit from this project to create a more complete standard test procedure to replace current testing that does not properly predict wind performance due to the air permeability of those types of roof products.

2018 promises to be a very busy year on many fronts. Our goals will be to keep our members updated on changes taking place on regulatory issues, the creation of new standards and to create the support information to keep improving the performance and quality standards for the metal construction industry.


Scott Kriner is the president of Green Metal Consulting Inc., Macungie, Pa., and a principal in RSK Avanti Partners LLC, Richardson, Texas. He is a LEED Accredited Professional (Operations and Maintenance) and wrote a book titled "Wait and See." He also serves the Metal Construction Association as technical director. 

Andy Williams is the director of codes and standards for the Metal Construction Association. He is a professional engineer who began his career in the wall cladding industry in 1982. For more information about MCA, go to www.metalconstruction.org.