23 January 2024

This is Part 3 of a five-part series.

… continued from Part 2.

Role of ICC (International Code Council)

Hajimiragha acknowledged the integral role played by the International Code Council (ICC) in the acceptance of fibreglass rebar. He mentioned that the ICC, with its performance-based acceptance criteria, allowed fibreglass rebar to enter the residential market. The ICC standards, initiated in 2014 and revised in 2022, facilitated the entry of fibreglass rebar into the construction arena. The speaker emphasised the ongoing evolution of these standards, indicating the continuous improvement and acceptance of the material.

He disclosed that the IRC and IBC are expected to officially recognise fibreglass rebar in 2024. This recognition, substantiated by the submitted proposal change, was heralded as a significant leap forward for the industry.

ASTM standards and evolution

ASTM International, formerly known as American Society for Testing and Materials, is an international standards organisation that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services.

The presenter further discussed the evolving landscape of ASTM standards, introducing the new version ASTM D7957. As a voting member of ASTM, he shared that ongoing revisions were being made to enhance performance and align with the changing needs of the industry. This commitment to continuous improvement and alignment with industry standards marked a departure from the early days of fibreglass rebar use, showcasing the substantial progress made in the intervening years.

He highlighted the evolution of software tools designed to support structural engineers. Commercial software, including Altair and programmes like ‘Concrete as Frame’, now integrate with ACI 440, providing engineers with powerful design tools. This convergence of technology and standards simplifies the design process and empowers engineers to make informed decisions.

Moving beyond corrosion resistance, Hajimiragha shared examples of diverse applications where fibreglass rebar is making a significant impact as the focus shifted to combatting signal loss rather than corrosion. The excessive steel rebar in elevator shafts was identified as a major contributor to signal interference, impacting communication in elevators. This prompted some US regions to plan for smart communities that leverage wireless technology, with fibreglass rebar playing a pivotal role in mitigating signal interference issues.

Highlighting widespread adoption, the presenter noted that many ministries of transportation in both Canada and the US are embracing fibreglass rebar in their specifications. These endorsements signify a growing acceptance and trust in the material across different regions.

Hajimiragha emphasised the safety benefits of using fibreglass rebar, particularly its lighter weight, which contributes to reducing construction accidents and back injuries. The material’s ease of installation in various weather conditions, without the risks of burning or freezing hands, adds to its appeal.

He emphasised that choosing fibreglass rebar eliminates the unnecessary costs associated with corrosion, sparing the need for additional measures such as corrosion inhibitors and waterproofing membranes. The economic advantages of fibreglass rebar were underlined, especially in regions where stringent building codes now mandate premium reinforcement materials like fiberglass rebar or stainless steel rebar due to recent incidents, such as the Surfside condominium collapse in Miami, attributed to corrosion issues.

Continued in Part 4…


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