All buildings described below in Items 1 through 5 of this section are exempted from compliance with this standard. Buildings described in Item 6 are exempted from compliance with Sections E306 and E307, and Chapter 4 of this standard. Elevated buildings that comply with all provisions of Item 7 are exempted from compliance with other portions of this standard.
- Temporary structures.
- Free-standing greenhouses used exclusively for the cultivation of live plants.
- Open-air reviewing stands, grandstands and bleachers.
- Farm structures used only for storage or to shelter animals.
- Residential buildings defined as one- or two-family detached houses or townhouse apartments with no more than three stories.
- Buildings of occupancy classification S, storage, or H, hazardous (standard building code designations).
- The structure shall be separated from the ground by a vertical separation, measured between the final grade and the lower surface of the floor, of at least 18 inches (457 mm);
- All pilings, posts, piers or other supports shall be solid, or if hollow, shall be capped by a solid masonry unit or sealed at the surface of the soil with a construction complying with all applicable portions of Chapter 3 of this standard;
- Enclosures of any kind, including but not limited to chases, storage rooms, elevator shafts and stairwells, that connect between the soil and the structure, shall comply with all applicable provisions of Chapter 3 and shall have a soil contact area of less than five percent of the projected building floor area; and
- The perimeter of the structure, from the ground plane to the lower surface of the lowest floor, shall be totally open for ventilation.
ACTIVE SOIL-DEPRESSURIZATION. The lowering of air-pressure in the soil, relative to the atmospheric pressure immediately above ground level.
ACTIVE SOIL-DEPRESSURIZATION SYSTEM. A system designed to lower the air-pressure in the soil beneath a building, relative to the atmospheric pressure immediately above ground level, by continuously withdrawing air from below a membrane covering the soil. An active soil-depressurization system consists of a pressure distribution manifold, one or more radon vents, an operating fan, and a fan-failure indicator.
ADDITION. An extension or increase in floor area that can be occupied or that exchange air with the conditioned space of the building.
AND/OR. When referring to a choice of two or more provisions of this standard, signifies that use of any one provision is acceptable, and that two or more provisions may also be used together.
AREA. The maximum horizontally projected area of a building or space, measured to the outside surface of the enclosing walls.
AUTOMATIC. Self-acting, providing an emergency function without human intervention, and activated as a result of a predetermined event such as an interruption of air-flow, a change in air-pressure, or the loss of electrical supply.
BACKER ROD. See “Backup.”
BACKUP. A compressible material used in the bottom of sealant reservoirs to reduce the depth of the sealant, thus improving its shape factor. Backup also serves to support the sealant against sag or indentation while curing.
BUILDING. Any structure that encloses a space used for sheltering any occupancy. Each portion of a building separated from other portions by a fire wall shall be considered as a separate building.
BUILDING OFFICIAL. The officer or other designated authority, or their duly authorized representative, charged with the administration and enforcement of building codes.
BUTT JOINT. A nonbonded plain, square joint, a keyed joint or a doweled joint between two members, where primarily movement is at right angles to the plane of the joint. Sealant in a butt joint will generally be in tension or compression, but not shear.
COMMERCIAL BUILDING. A structure or building classified according to use by the standard building code as occupancy groups: A - Assembly, B - Business, E - Educational, F - Factory Industrial, I - Institutional, M - Mercantile, and R-Residential (except those already covered by the Florida Standard for Passive Radon-Resistant New Residential Building Construction).
CONTRACTION JOINT. A formed or sawed groove in a concrete structure, extending normal to the surface and to a depth of at least one-fourth the thickness of a concrete element, for the purpose of creating a weakened plane that induces a crack as internal stresses develop due to drying shrinkage.
CRAWL SPACE. The unconditioned space between the bottom surface of the lowest floor of a structure and the earth that is created when the lowest floor of the structure spans between structural supports rather than being directly supported by the earth beneath the floor.
CURING. For concrete, the maintenance of a satisfactory moisture content and temperature during its early stages so that desired properties may develop. For sealants, the maintenance of a satisfactory moisture content and temperature while the physical properties of the sealant are changed by chemical reaction.
CURING COMPOUND. A liquid that can be applied as a coating to the surface of newly placed concrete to retard the loss of water, or in the case of pigmented compounds, also to reflect heat so as to provide an opportunity for the concrete to develop its properties in a favorable temperature and moisture environment.
DETERIORATION. The physical manifestation of failure of a material or assembly (e.g., cracking, delamination, flaking, pitting, scaling) caused by environmental or internal autogenous influences during testing or service.
DIFFUSION. The movement of radon from areas of high concentration to areas of low concentration.
ELASTOMERIC SEALANT. A sealant whose macromolecular material returns rapidly to approximately its initial dimensions and shape after substantial deformation by a weak stress and release of the stress.
EMANATION. The gaseous elements produced by and given off from the radioactive disintegration of radium.
EQUILIBRIUM. The condition where the rate of decay of a radioactive parent isotope is exactly matched by the rate of decay of every intermediate daughter isotope.
EXISTING. As applied to a building or structure, one which was erected or permitted prior to the adoption of this standard.
FOOTING. That portion of the foundation of a structure which spreads and transmits load directly to the piles, or to the soil or supporting grillage.
GASKET. A deformable material clamped between essentially stationary faces to prevent the passage of air through an opening or joint.
GRADE. The top surface of the ground adjoining the exterior of a building.
GRANULAR SOIL. A soil with an air permeability greater than or equal to l0-12 m2.
GROUT. A mixture of cementitious material and water, with or without aggregate, proportioned to produce a pourable consistency without segregation of the constituents.
HIGH-RANGE WATER REDUCER. A chemical admixture capable of reducing the water content of concrete at least 12 percent. This admixture shall conform to ASTM C494 Type F and/or Type 0.
ISOLATION JOINT. A nonbonded separation between adjoining parts of a structure, usually in a vertical plane, designed to allow relative movement in three directions in order to accommodate differential horizontal or vertical movement without the development of cracks elsewhere in the structure. May be either a butt joint or a lap joint, used to structurally separate the floor slab from other building elements.
KEYED. Fastened or fixed in position in a notch or other recess.
LAP. The length by which one material overlays another at a lap joint.
LAP JOINT. A nonbonded joint in which the materials being joined override each other so that any movement of the materials is primarily parallel to the plane of the joint, putting sealants in shear rather than tension or compression. Formed slab joints that are not attached with a keyway are considered to be lap joints.
MANUFACTURED SANDS. Sands resulting from the crushing of rock, gravel or slag.
MASTIC. A sealant with putty-like properties.
MEMBRANE. A flexible, continuous sheet. See also: “Membrane-forming,” “wring compound,” “Soil-gas-retarder membrane;” “Waterproofing membrane.”
MIDRANGE WATER REDUCER. A chemical admixture capable of reducing the water content of concrete from 6 to 15 percent. This admixture shall conform to ASTM C494 Type A and/or Type F.
NATURAL SANDS. Sands resulting from the natural disintegration and abrasion of rock.
NET-FREE AREA. When referring to foundation vents, the area determined by multiplying the overall width and height of the object and subtracting the total area obstructed by any solid object, such as screen, mesh, louvers, and frame of the vent.
PICOCURIES PER GRAM, pCi/g. a measure of radioactivity corresponding to 0.037 radioactive disintegrations per second per gram of dry weight of a sample.
PICOCURIES PER LITER, pCi/L. a measure of radioactivity corresponding to 0.037 radioactive disintegrations per second per liter of volume.
PLASTICIZER. See “Midrange water-reducer.”
POLYETHYLENE. A thermoplastic high-molecular-weight organic compound often used in sheet form as a water-vapor retarder.
POLYURETHANE SEALANT. A building sealant consisting primarily of a polyurethane compound.
POLYVINYL CHLORIDE. A synthetic resin used in the manufacture of pipes and nonmetallic waterstops.
PREFORMED SEALANT. A sealant functionally preshaped by the manufacturer so that only a minimum of field fabrication is required prior to installation.
PRESSURE SENSITIVE. Capable of adhering to a surface without the application of additional adhesives when pressed against it.
PSI. Pounds force per square inch.
RADIUM (Ra). A naturally occurring radioactive element resulting from the decay of uranium. For the purposes of this standard, radium applies to Radium-226. It is the parent of radon gas.
RADON. A naturally occurring, chemically inert, radioactive gas. It is part of the Uranium-238 decay series. For the purposes of this standard radon applies to Radon-222; thus, it is the direct decay product of Radium-226.
RADON POTENTIAL. A measure of the potential of soils at a building site for contributing to indoor radon concentrations.
SHAPE FACTOR. The relationship between the depth and width of a field-molded sealant.
SOIL GAS-RETARDER MEMBRANE. A durable, flexible and non-deteriorating material, installed in a continuous sheet to retard the pressure-driven flow of soil gas through elements of a structure.
SOLID REINFORCED MASONRY. Masonry construction in which mortar, grout or concrete completely fills all joints and voids and in which steel reinforcement is embedded in such a manner that the materials act together in resisting forces.
STORY. That portion of a building between the upper surface of a floor and the upper surface of the floor or roof next above.
STRUCTURE. That which is built or constructed. A structure may contain one or more buildings separated by fire-rated construction elements in accordance with prevailing building codes.
SUBGRADE. The soil prepared and compacted to support a structure.
SUPERPLASTICIZER. See “High-range water reducer.”
SUPERSTRUCTURE. All of that part of a structure that is above grade.
TEMPORARY STRUCTURE. A structure which is erected, occupied, and disassembled or otherwise removed from the site within a total time period of 90 calendar days or less.
WATERPROOFING MEMBRANE. A liquid sealing compound (e.g., bituminous and paraffinic emulsions, coal tar cut-backs, etc.) or nonliquid protective coatings (e.g., sheet plastics, etc.) used separately or together in a manner which renders the structural surface to which they are applied essentially impervious to water in either the liquid or vapor state.
WATER-REDUCING ADMIXTURE. A chemical additive to concrete conforming to ASTM C94 capable of producing a reduction in mixing water or increase in flowability without causing undue set retardation or entrainment of air in the mortar or concrete.
WORKING LEVEL (WL). A measure of radioactive exposure equal to the total quantity of radon decay products in one liter of air that will result in the ultimate emission of 1.3 × 105 MeV (million electron volts) of energy from alpha particles. In perfect equilibrium, 1 WL equals 100 pCi/L (picoCuries per liter). It is often assumed that the air inside buildings is not in equilibrium, and that only half the radon daughters are moving freely in the air, while half are attached to dust or building surfaces. When this condition exists, an equilibrium ratio of 0.5 is said to exist. At an equilibrium ratio of 0.5, 1 WL = 200 pCi/L. For purposes of this standard, 1 WL is defined as equal to 200 pCi/L.
ZONE. That portion of a building in which the HVAC system is controllable from a single point.
Mix design for all concrete used in the construction of slab-on-grade floors shall specify a maximum design slump not to exceed 4 inches (102 mm). On-site slumps shall not exceed 5 inches (127 mm) provided that the total water added to the mix, including plant, transit, and site added water, does not exceed the total following parameters:
Concrete floors shall be cured by one of the means described below and shall not be subjected to loading until the architect or engineer has determined the slab to be structurally adequate for the loads imposed.
- Concrete floor slabs shall be cured by covering the entire slab surface for a period of seven days with clean, ponded water.
- Concrete floor slabs shall be cured by covering the entire slab surface for a period of seven days with a continuous mist or spray of clean, potable water.
- Concrete floor slabs shall be cured by covering the entire slab surface for a period of seven days with an impermeable sheet material conforming to ASTM C171.
- Concrete floor slabs shall be cured by covering the entire slab surface with a liquid membrane-forming compound that conforms with ASTM C309. Curing compounds shall be compatible with materials specified in Section E303.3.1.
- Sealant materials shall be compatible with the materials they join, including curing compounds and admixtures, and with materials that will be applied over them, including floor finishing materials.
- Field-molded sealants shall be installed in sealant reservoirs proportioned, cleaned of laitance and prepared in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. For elastomeric sealants, this generally requires the installation of a bond breaker or backer rod.
- When the installed sealant is not protected by a finished floor or other protective surface, it shall be suitable to withstand the traffic to which it will be exposed.
- Waterstops shall be preformed from polyvinyl chloride or other noncorrosive material and shall be selected and installed in compliance with ACI 504R
All joints between sections of concrete floor slabs, between the floor slab and a wall or other vertical surface, or between a section of floor and another object that passes through the slab, shall be sealed to prevent soil gas entry in accordance with the provisions of this section. Joint design depends upon the amount and type of movement that the joint must withstand. Ideally, sealing should occur as late in the construction process as possible. No portion of any joint shall be covered or rendered inaccessible unless the seal has first been inspected and approved by the building official. All such joints shall be sealed prior to the structure being certified for occupancy.
- Butt joints. All nonbonded butt joints shall be sealed to prevent radon entry using an elastomeric sealant or a waterstop specified above. The sealant reservoir shall be sufficiently large to prevent failure of the sealant or waterstop, but in no case shall the sealant reservoir be less than 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch (6.4 mm by 6.4 mm) in cross section
- Lap joints. All nonbonded lap joints shall be sealed with either a field-molded or preformed elastomeric sealant or with a flexible waterstop as specified above. The lap joint shall be sufficiently large to prevent failure of the sealant or waterstop, but in no case shall the sealant reservoir be less than 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch (12.7 mm by 12.7 mm) in cross section.
- Isolation joints. All nonbonded isolation joints shall be sealed with either a field-molded or preformed elastomeric sealant or with a flexible waterstop as specified above. Isolation joints shall be sufficiently large to prevent failure of the sealant or waterstop, but in no case shall the sealant reservoir be less than 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch (12.7 mm by 12.7 mm) in cross section.
- Control or contraction joints. May be used to limit unplanned cracking of floor slabs. In locations where continued movement of the slab portions can be reasonably expected, flexible sealants must be installed in reservoirs complying with the requirements of above section on butt joints, or a flexible waterstop must be used.
- Construction joints. All bonded construction joints shall be sealed to prevent radon entry using either a rigid or an elastomeric sealant or a waterstop as specified above. Where movement of the joint is not prevented by continuous reinforcing and tie bars, flexible sealants must be installed in reservoirs complying with the requirements of above section on lap joints, or a flexible waterstop must be used.
All cracks in concrete slabs supported on soil or spanning over exposed soil, that are used as floors for conditioned space or enclosed spaces adjacent to or connected to conditioned spaces, shall be sealed against radon entry in accordance with the provisions of this section and Section E303.3.1. Ideally, sealing should occur as late in the construction process as possible.
- Cracks greater than 1/4 inch (6.4 mm) wide; all cracks that exhibit vertical displacement; all cracks that connect weakened zones in the slab such as vertical penetrations or re-entrant corners; and, all cracks that cross changes in materials or planes in the structure, shall be sealed with a flexible field-molded elastomeric sealant installed in accordance with above section on isolation joints.
- Cracks greater than 1/16 inch (1.6 mm) in width, that do not meet any of the conditions described in Item 1 above, shall be enlarged to contain a sealant reservoir not less than 1/2 inch by 1/4 inch (12.7 mm by 6.4 mm) in cross-section along the entire length of the crack; and shall be sealed with a flexible, field-molded elastomeric sealant installed in accordance with above section on butt joints.
- Cracks less than 1/16 inch (1.6 mm) in width, that do not meet any of the conditions described in Item 1 above, may be left unsealed.
All objects that pass through the slab shall be sealed gas tight. A sealant reservoir, appropriately dimensioned to accommodate any differential movement between the object and the concrete, shall be formed continuously around the object, and the joint shall be sealed with a field molded elastomeric sealant as prescribed for isolation joints and in accordance with the provisions of Section E303.3.1. Where pipes or other penetrations are separated from the concrete by flexible sleeves, the sleeve shall be removed to provide bonding of the sealant to the object. Where stakes are used to support plumbing, electrical conduits or other objects that will penetrate the slab, the stakes shall be solid, non-porous and resistant to decay, corrosion and rust. Special care must be taken to avoid honeycombing between multiple or ganged penetrations.
- Large utility service openings through the slab shall be sealed gas-tight. For slab-on-grade construction, this can be accomplished by fully covering the exposed soil with a vapor-retarder membrane, covered to a minimum depth of 1 inch with an elastomeric sealant. Alternatively, the opening may be closed with an expansive concrete or hydraulic cement to within 1/2 inch (12.7 mm) of the top of the slab, and the remaining 1/2 inch (12.7 mm) filled with an elastomeric sealant. When the opening connects to a crawlspace, the opening shall be closed with sheet metal or other rigid impermeable materials and sealed with an elastomeric sealant compatible with the materials and conditions.
- For openings made through existing slabs, they must be sealed to meet the appropriate provisions of this section. If the opening is partially repaired with concrete, any resulting crack shall be sealed in accordance with the Section E303.3.3.
- Any sump located in a habitable portion of a building and connecting to the soil, either directly or through drainage piping, shall be fined with a gasketed lid. The lid shall be attached so as to provide a gas-tight seal between the sump and the access space above.
Crawl spaces shall be ventilated by openings through the perimeter wall connecting to the exterior of the foundation. Required vents shall have a combined net free area not less than 1 square inch (0.000645 m2) per 1 square foot (0.0929 m2) of crawl space, and shall conform to the following conditions:
- Openings shall be distributed uniformly around the outside walls of the crawl space.
- Vents shall be fitted with corrosion and decay-resistant wire mesh or grilles with openings not less than 1/4 inch (6 mm) nor more than 1/2 inch (12.7 mm) in size. Vents shall not be fitted with operable louvers, dampers, or other closure mechanisms.
- Plumbing located in a ventilated crawlspace shall be protected from freezing with insulation and/or heat tape.
A wide variety of means can be utilized to extend the low-pressure zone across the entire area beneath the structure. Acceptable means include synthetic ventilation mats, a system of perforated pipe, and an air-permeable gravel layer. Different types of pressure distribution media may be used in the same system, provided each complies with the installation requirements of this chapter. Pressure distribution media must be installed is such a way as to assure that they are never blocked by water.
- Ventilation mats shall have a soil contact area of at least 216 square inches (0.14 m2) per lineal foot and provide a cross-section profile of at least 9 square inches (0.006 m2).
- Perforated pipe may be used to construct pressure extension manifolds. These pipes may be installed directly under the soil cover or in gravel or a similar porous medium that provides an adequate airflow connection between the pipe and the subsoil and that protects the pipe from becoming blocked by soil.
- Continuous gravel layers of at least 4 inches (102 mm) thick are an acceptable pressure distribution medium, provided they completely cover the area of soil to be depressurized.
Systems installed on sand or granular soil, can demonstrate compliance by meeting the following design limits:
- Mats shall be located at least 15 feet (4572 mm) and not more than 25 feet (7620 mm) from the outside edge of the floor.
- Mats shall be spaced not more than 50 feet (15 240 mm) on center.
- No portion of a building floor shall be isolated from a mat by a construction feature, such as an internal footing, grade beam, foundation wall, or other obstacle having a depth greater than the exterior foundation walls.
- No portion of a building floor shall be more than 35 feet (10 668 mm) from a mat.
- Mats shall be run parallel to the longest slab dimension unless obstructed by a construction feature, and arranged in a pattern that provides at least two possible flow paths from any point on the mat to a radon vent pipe.
All portions of the radon vent pipe not permanently encased in a wall or chase shall be labeled to prevent accidental misuse. Labels shall consist of a pressure-sensitive 2-inch (51 mm) yellow band with the words “RADON REDUCTION SYSTEM” printed in black letters at least 1 inch (25 mm) in height. These labels shall be placed on every visible portion of the vent pipe at a spacing of not more than 3 feet (914 mm). The labels shall be placed so as to be visible from any direction.
The size of vent pipes shall be determined by application of appropriate engineering principles, based on air-flow rates predicted with the large-building active soil-depressurization model. For systems that comply with the alternate compliance method, Section E403.2.2, and are installed in buildings with straight runs of vent pipes no more than 50 feet (15 240 mm) in height, the required number and size of vent pipes may be determined as follows:
- For up to 100 linear feet (30 480 mm) of ventilation mat use one 2-inch (51 mm) diameter pipe.
- For up to 200 linear feet (60 960 mm) of ventilation mat use one 3-inch (76 mm) diameter pipe, or two 2-inch (76 mm) diameter pipes.
- For up to 400 linear feet (121 920 mm) of ventilation mat use one 4-inch (102 mm) diameter pipe, or two 3-inch (76 mm) diameter pipes, or four 2-inch (30 480 mm) diameter pipes.
Radon vent pipes shall terminate with a rain cap, installed above the roof of the structure, and shall be located in accordance with existing codes for toxic or noxious exhausts. If not specifically addressed or applicable, vent pipes shall be terminated in locations that minimize human exposure to their exhaust air, such that the location is:
- At least 12 inches (305 mm) above the surface of the roof;
- At least 10 feet (3048 mm) from any window, door, or other opening (e.g., operable skylight or air intake) to conditioned spaces of the structure; and
- Ten feet (3048 mm) from any opening into an adjacent building.
The total required distance [10 feet (3048 mm)] shall be measured either directly between the two points or be the sum of measurements made around the intervening obstacles. If the discharge point is within two feet of elevation of the opening into conditioned space, the distance [10 feet (3048 mm)] shall be the horizontal distance between the points.
Soil-depressurization system fans shall be designed to maintain the following minimum air-pressure differences at the lower opening of the radon vent pipe as compared to the air pressure of the conditioned space above:
- For systems using ventilation mats, 0.5 inch (0.52 kPa) water column.
- For systems using perforated pipe, 0.5 inch (0.52 kPa) water column.
- For systems using continuous gravel layers, 1.0 inch (0.2488 kPa) water column.
- For up to 100 lineal feet (30 480 mm) of ventilation mat the fan shall be rated for 50 cfm (24 L/s) at 1-inch (30 480 mm) water column.
- For 100 to 200 lineal feet (30 480 mm to 60 960 mm) of ventilation mat, the fan shall be rated for at least 100 cfm (30 480 mm) at 1-inch (30 480 mm) water column.
- For 200 to 400 lineal feet (60 960 mm to 121 920 mm) of ventilation mat, the fan shall be rated for at least 175 cfm (83 L/S) at 1-inch (0.2488 kPa) water column.