International Residential Code 2015 (IRC 2015)



Effective Use of the International Residential Code


Part I ‒ Administrative

Chapter 1 Scope and Administration

Part II ‒ Definitions

Chapter 2 Definitions

Part III ‒ Building Planning and Construction

Chapter 3 Building Planning

Chapter 4 Foundations

Chapter 5 Floors

Chapter 6 Wall Construction

Chapter 7 Wall Covering

Chapter 8 Roof-Ceiling Construction

Chapter 9 Roof Assemblies

Chapter 10 Chimneys and Fireplaces

Part IV ‒ Energy Conservation

Chapter 11 [RE] Energy Efficiency

Part V ‒ Mechanical

Chapter 12 Mechanical Administration

Chapter 13 General Mechanical System Requirements

Chapter 14 Heating and Cooling Equipment and Appliances

Chapter 15 Exhaust Systems

Chapter 16 Duct Systems

Chapter 17 Combustion Air

Chapter 18 Chimneys and Vents

Chapter 19 Special Appliances, Equipment and Systems

Chapter 20 Boilers and Water Heaters

Chapter 21 Hydronic Piping

Chapter 22 Special Piping and Storage Systems

Chapter 23 Solar Thermal Energy Systems

Part VI ‒ Fuel Gas

Chapter 24 Fuel Gas

Part VII ‒ Plumbing

Chapter 25 Plumbing Administration

Chapter 26 General Plumbing Requirements

Chapter 27 Plumbing Fixtures

Chapter 28 Water Heaters

Chapter 29 Water Supply and Distribution

Chapter 30 Sanitary Drainage

Chapter 31 Vents

Chapter 32 Traps

Chapter 33 Storm Drainage

Part VIII ‒ Electrical

Chapter 34 General Requirements

Chapter 35 Electrical Definitions

Chapter 36 Services

Chapter 37 Branch Circuit and Feeder Requirements

Chapter 38 Wiring Methods

Chapter 39 Power and Lighting Distribution

Chapter 40 Devices and Luminaires

Chapter 41 Appliance Installation

Chapter 42 Swimming Pools

Chapter 43 Class 2 Remote-Control, Signaling and Power-Limited Circuits

Part IX ‒ Referenced Standards

Chapter 44 Referenced Standards

Appendix A Sizing and Capacities of Gas Piping

Appendix B Sizing of Venting Systems Serving Appliances Equipped With Draft Hoods, Category I Appliances, and Appliances Listed for Use With Type B Vents

Appendix C Exit Terminals of Mechanical Draft and Direct-Vent Venting Systems

Appendix D Recommended Procedure for Safety Inspection of an Existing Appliance Installation

Appendix E Manufactured Housing Used as Dwellings

Appendix F Passive Radon Gas Controls

Appendix G Piping Standards for Various Applications

Appendix H Patio Covers

Appendix I Private Sewage Disposal

Appendix J Existing Buildings and Structures

Appendix K Sound Transmission

Appendix L Permit Fees


Appendix N Venting Methods

Appendix O Automatic Vehicular Gates

Appendix P Sizing of Water Piping System

Appendix Q Reserved

Appendix Q Dwelling Unit Fire Sprinkler Systems

Appendix R Light Straw-Clay Construction

Appendix S Strawbale Construction

Appendix T Recommended Procedure for Worst-Case Testing of Atmospheric Venting Systems Under N1102.4 or N1105 Conditions


Appendix V Fire Sprinklers

The provisions contained in this appendix are not mandatory unless specifically referenced in the adopting ordinance.
This appendix shall govern the use of light straw-clay as a nonbearing building material and wall infill system in Seismic Design Categories A and B.
The following words and terms shall, for the purposes of this appendix, have the meanings shown herein. Refer to Chapter 2 of the International Residential Code for general definitions.

CLAY. Inorganic soil with particle sizes of less than 0.00008 inch (0.002 mm) having the characteristics of high to very high dry strength and medium to high plasticity.

CLAY SLIP. A suspension of clay soil in water.

CLAY SOIL. Inorganic soil containing 50 percent or more clay by volume.

INFILL. Light straw-clay that is placed between the structural members of a building.

LIGHT STRAW-CLAY. A mixture of straw and clay compacted to form insulation and plaster substrate between or around structural and nonstructural members in a wall.

NONBEARING. Not bearing the weight of the building other than the weight of the light straw-clay itself and its finish.

STRAW. The dry stems of cereal grains after the seed heads have been removed.

VOID. Any space in a light straw-clay wall in which a 2-inch (51 mm) sphere can be inserted.
Light straw-clay shall be limited to infill between or around structural and nonstructural wall framing members.
The structure of buildings using light straw-clay shall be in accordance with the International Residential Code or shall be in accordance with an approved design by a registered design professional.
Use of light straw-clay infill shall be limited to buildings that are not more than one story above grade plane.

Exception: Buildings using light straw-clay infill that are greater than one story above grade plane shall be in accordance with an approved design by a registered design professional.
Wind bracing shall be in accordance with Section R602.10 and shall use Method LIB. Walls with light straw-clay infill shall not be sheathed with solid sheathing.
Light straw-clay shall be deemed to have a design dead load of 40 pounds per cubic foot (640 kg per cubic meter) unless otherwise demonstrated to the building official.
Light straw-clay shall be reinforced as follows:

1. Vertical reinforcing shall be not less than nominal 2-inch by 6-inch (51 mm by 152 mm) wood members at not more than 32 inches (813 mm) on center where the vertical reinforcing is nonload bearing and at 24 inches (610 mm) on center where it is load bearing. The vertical reinforcing shall not exceed an unrestrained height of 10 feet (3048 mm) and shall be attached at top and bottom in accordance with Chapter 6 of the this code. In lieu of these requirements, vertical reinforcing shall be in accordance with an approved design by a registered design professional.

2. Horizontal reinforcing shall be installed in the center of the wall at not more than 24 inches (610 mm) on center and shall be secured to vertical members. Horizontal reinforcing shall be of any of the following: 3/4-inch (19.1 mm) bamboo, 1/2-inch (12.7 mm) fiberglass rod, 1-inch (25 mm) wood dowel or nominal 1-inch by 2-inch (25 mm by 51 mm) wood.
The materials used in light straw-clay construction shall be in accordance with Sections AR103.3.1 through AR103.3.4.
Straw shall be wheat, rye, oats, rice or barley, and shall be free of visible decay and insects.
Suitability of clay soil shall be determined in accordance with the Figure 2 Ribbon Test or the Figure 3 Ball Test of the Appendix to ASTM E 2392/ E 2392M.
Clay slip shall be of sufficient viscosity such that a finger dipped in the slip and withdrawn remains coated with an opaque coating.
Light straw-clay shall contain not less than 65 percent and not more than 85 percent straw, by volume of bale-compacted straw to clay soil. Loose straw shall be mixed and coated with clay slip such that there is not more than 5 percent uncoated straw.
Light straw-clay wall construction shall be in accordance with the requirements of Sections AR103.4.1 through AR103.4.7.
Light straw-clay shall be not more than 12 inches (305 mm) thick, to allow adequate drying of the installed material.
Light straw-clay and its exterior finish shall be not less than 8 inches (203 mm) above exterior finished grade.
An approved moisture barrier shall separate the bottom of light straw-clay walls from any masonry or concrete foundation or slab that directly supports the walls. Penetrations and joints in the barrier shall be sealed with an approved sealant.
Light straw-clay shall be permitted to be in contact with untreated wood members.
Nonwood structural members in contact with light straw-clay shall be resistant to corrosion or shall be coated to prevent corrosion with an approved coating.
Light straw-clay shall be installed in accordance with the following:

1. Formwork shall be sufficiently strong to resist bowing where the light straw-clay is compacted into the forms.

2. Light straw-clay shall be uniformly placed into forms and evenly tamped to achieve stable walls free of voids. Light straw-clay shall be placed in lifts of not more than 6 inches (152 mm) and shall be thoroughly tamped before additional material is added.

3. Formwork shall be removed from walls within 24 hours after tamping, and walls shall remain exposed until moisture content is in accordance with Section AR103.5.1. Visible voids shall be patched with light straw-clay prior to plastering.
Openings in walls shall be in accordance with the following:

1. Rough framing for doors and windows shall be fastened to structural members in accordance with the International Residential Code. Windows and doors shall be flashed in accordance with the International Residential Code.

2. An approved moisture barrier shall be installed at window sills in light straw-clay walls prior to installation of windows.
The interior and exterior surfaces of light straw-clay walls shall be protected with a finish in accordance with Sections AR103.5.1 through AR103.5.5.
Light straw-clay walls shall be dry to a moisture content of not more than 20 percent at a depth of 4 inches (102 mm), as measured from each side of the wall, prior to the application of finish on either side of the wall. Moisture content shall be measured with a moisture meter equipped with a probe that is designed for use with baled straw or hay.
Exterior plaster finishes shall be clay plaster or lime plaster. Interior plaster finishes shall be clay plaster, lime plaster or gypsum plaster. Plasters shall be permitted to be applied directly to the surface of the light straw-clay walls without reinforcement, except that the juncture of dissimilar substrates shall be in accordance with Section AR103.5.4. Plasters shall have a thickness of not less than 1/2 inch (12.7 mm) and not more than 1 inch (25 mm) and shall be installed in not less than two coats. Exterior clay plaster shall be finished with a lime-based or silicate-mineral coating.
Where wood framing occurs in light straw-clay walls, such wood surfaces shall be separated from exterior plaster with No.15 asphalt felt, Grade D paper or other approved material except where the wood is preservative treated or naturally durable.

Exception: Exterior clay plasters shall not be required to be separated from wood.
Bridging shall be installed across dissimilar substrates prior to the application of plaster. Acceptable bridging materials include: expanded metal lath, woven wire mesh, welded wire mesh, fiberglass mesh, reed matting or burlap. Bridging shall extend not less than 4 inches (102 mm), on both sides of the juncture.
Exterior wood, metal or composite material siding shall be spaced not less than 3/4 inch (19.1 mm) from the light straw-clay such that a ventilation space is created to allow for moisture diffusion. The siding shall be fastened to wood furring strips in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Furring strips shall be spaced not more than 32 inches (813 mm) on center, and shall be securely fastened to the vertical wall reinforcing or structural framing. Insect screening shall be provided at the top and bottom of the ventilation space. An air barrier consisting of not more than 3/8-inch-thick (9.5 mm) clay plaster or lime plaster shall be applied to the light straw-clay prior to the application of siding.
Light straw-clay, where installed in accordance with this appendix, shall be deemed to have an R-value of 1.6 per inch.
ASTM E 2392/
E 2392M‒10

Standard Guide for Design of Earthen Wall
Building Systems