The National Greenhouse Manufacturers Association (NGMA) is continuing to advocate for the greenhouse manufacturing industry by proposing changes beneficial to greenhouse construction in the building and energy codes or by opposing unfavorable proposals for the 2018 International Building Codes.
This has been an ongoing effort for several years. Here’s a recap of some of the recent successful efforts made by NGMA:
• A definition for “greenhouses” was included in the International Building Code. NGMA Board of Director Craig Humphrey says, “Although this sounds small, this definition will help differentiate greenhouses versus structures for sunrooms and building atriums.”
• Multiple proposals classified greenhouses into different Use Groups to aid a building official to classify structures properly. This should have little effect on current permit applications, but was a preemptive move for the future. One of NGMA’s goals was to keep larger commercial ranges separate from other greenhouse uses. These commercial facilities have little life safety risks, but were continually getting lumped with “normal” buildings and their restrictive requirements. This initiative will continue that separation.
• A significant change was an increase in the allowable square footage for a commercial greenhouse in the Group U classification by nearly 65% in Chapter 5. (Group U is where the majority of greenhouses will be classified.) In addition, there is now a footnote for the greenhouse Use Group U that allows a building official to use areas much larger than what is allowed in Chapter 5 by using values in Appendix C. The areas described in the Appendix could be unlimited under the right circumstances.
• A greenhouse section was added in the Specialty Construction chapter. In the future, it gives the industry a place to more easily make code changes specific to greenhouses without affecting other buildings.
• Another code change that passed was an improved exception allowing plastics on greenhouses to be increased in certain retail situations. NGMA submitted commentary — specifically in Chapter 3, that deals with the allowable areas that a greenhouse can have — for the current 2015 International Building Codes that was accepted and is now in print. Although the commentary isn’t a part of the official code and therefore isn’t law, it does provide code officials with an opportunity to use International Building Code language to make a variance for a project.
For more information, go to NGMA.com.