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Online Code access

shellarchitect

I'm in the process of researching various online codes and standards for our office.  We currently use MadCad.  I've compared it to UpCodes and network PDFs from the ICC, but are there any other online code portals that we should be looking at?

MadCad is great but expensive.  UpCodes seems pretty good but their library is much smaller than madcad.  

Thanks!

 
Nov 30, 21 10:12 am
proto

Never heard of Madcad before — just looking at my state now, they do not appear to be up to date on offerings

I briefly used Upcodes & liked the clarity of its system. It really made the code book “smaller” by project specifics. Not sure I have a use for it more than 2x or 3x per month so never really hung on to the pay version.

(Sorry, no other suggestions)

Nov 30, 21 11:26 am  · 
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shellarchitect

That is a problem in Michigan too, MadCad doesn't have the current plumbing code

Nov 30, 21 12:24 pm  · 
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curtkram

https://codes.iccsafe.org/code...

Nov 30, 21 11:12 pm  · 
1  · 
Wood Guy

I just use the icc site: https://codes.iccsafe.org/cont... I don't see the appeal of Upcodes. Why do people prefer it to icodes? 

Dec 1, 21 8:14 am  · 
2  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

Many reasons. You can create projects, reference specific sections for the project, code calculators, downloadable graphics. I love it.

Dec 1, 21 9:18 am  · 
3  · 
Wood Guy

Those are good reasons. I guess I should look into it more closely.

Dec 1, 21 4:03 pm  · 
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shellarchitect

ICC gives access to the base codes for free, but not the state specific version of each code. 

Dec 1, 21 9:29 am  · 
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vi_d

https://up.codes/

Dec 1, 21 10:25 am  · 
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I think if you're looking for one platform that aggregates multiple codes, Madcad is the way to go. I sometimes still sign in to Madcad using my old office's credentials because I got so used to that platform and we don't use it in my current office. I'll be sad when they finally change their password.

I don't really use UpCodes all that much. Usually only when I find myself there through a google search of some sort. I do appreciate them fighting ICC on the ability to access the code for free though.

I probably use the ICC site the most often. Basic codes have free access and they have free access to the state-specific codes I use most frequently. 

Other times I just access straight from the state's websites if they have that available. I've usually found most that I need have some type of free access online whether a PDF or through ICC's platform. 

We also have PDFs on the server of the basic ICC codes and some state-specific versions. Usually the last place I look as it is almost always faster through other methods.

Dec 1, 21 1:36 pm  · 
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What do you all do for accessing other standards and industry guides? That seems to be more problematic for my work than accessing the codes themselves. 

I got the office to purchase a subscription to ASTM standards online and I use it probably multiple times a week. I've used free access to NFPA codes and standards, but it's clunky. ASHRAE also has some available online

I haven't found good sources aside from purchasing them for many other standards and guides that I would like, but haven't justified spending the money on. AAMA, WDMA, ACI, NRCA, BHMA, SMACNA, AISC, PCI, SPRI, SDI, HMMA, etc. I can usually make it work with the bits of the standards I can find online (usually out of date), but I lose time every time I need to look something up. Would be easier to simply have them available in current and historical versions. I know Madcad has access to many of those, but as stated in the OP it gets expensive when you start adding in access to all those things you might only need a few times a year. Even then, it might start to make sense from a ease of access point of view if you can justify the cost that way.

Then there are all the other things you can usually get for free from industry organizations or their members; TCNA, AWS/NAAWS, GA, etc. I usually just keep these either on a shelf at my desk if they're not electronic, or organized on the server if they are electronic.

Dec 1, 21 1:59 pm  · 
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proto

i just struggle thru on a case by case basis, but that's more a reflection of my project types not needing that range of references regularly

Dec 1, 21 4:32 pm  · 
1  · 

I feel that. There is probably a spectrum of "needing" something and "wanting" something to be able to do the job. I think a lot of what I can struggle through are things I'd "want" to have access to, but don't 100% "need" them to do the job. Why it's hard for me to justify the expense on a case by case basis. Some subscriptions though I've found to be worth it because they cover so much that is beneficial (ASTM for example).

Dec 1, 21 5:10 pm  · 
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shellarchitect

I think we’re on the same page.  The office library has pretty much everything, but it’s hard to find and online is so much easier.  Would cost a fortune to get access to everything and some material could go years without being used.

Dec 1, 21 10:41 pm  · 
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proto

I do not miss flipping thru UL tomes by hand

Dec 2, 21 12:21 pm  · 
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bowling_ball

As a Canadian, I'm (1) high af right now, and (2) blown away by what I'm seeing in this thread. Am I understanding this right? - a guide, or 'choose your own adventure' to the building code? Is this common knowledge and practice? Used regularly and widespread? 


Mind blown. NS where you at?

Dec 2, 21 1:27 am  · 
3  · 
Non Sequitur

I’m here. Busy AF and drinking 12% brews. I also don’t get it. We have a paper copy of all governing codes with a a bud light version available online but it’s missing most of the supporting pieces. No aids, no code checking gremlins, just me and

Dec 2, 21 7:43 am  · 
2  · 
Non Sequitur

Me and coffee and my big sexy brain.

Dec 2, 21 7:44 am  · 
1  · 

We too just use normal paper code books as well.

Dec 2, 21 11:04 am  · 
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Non Sequitur

if it's not printed on plant flesh then it's not law.

Dec 2, 21 4:16 pm  · 
1  · 

Pffft. Print it on linen or GTFO!

Dec 2, 21 5:45 pm  · 
1  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

I wish SMACNA was online. I like it as a reference. 


Have any of you used SpecLink?

Dec 2, 21 5:17 am  · 
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SMACNA is online with membership/subscription.

Reviewing specs written in SpecLink right now and they suuuuuuuuck! A lot of that is on BSD, a lot of it is on the crappy spec writer we hired (never again). I hate the links to the referenced standards. They just send you to a page to purchase it. 

If you purchase a subscription to SpecLink do you get access to all the standards too?

Dec 2, 21 3:58 pm  · 
1  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

ED, I think so.

Dec 2, 21 9:13 pm  · 
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That's nice if they do. I got a trial of their software a few years ago and it didn't allow access to them, only access to purchase them ... but that was a trial so I wouldn't take that as gospel. I wasn't able to find specifics on their website just vague language that says they hyperlink every reference standard "including access to all documents through IHS, Inc.'s standards store or the issuing agency," (source linked at bottom). Seems like they either provide access to the standard in full as part of the subscription, or they provide access to the standard in a store where you can purchase it. If anyone who subscribes to BSD can clarify that would be great.

That being said, I can confirm that their referenced standards are not as up to date or correct as their marketing literature makes it seem. As I mentioned earlier, I'm reviewing a set of specs created using BSD software from a third-party spec writer. So far in the specifications I've found references to IBC versions 2009, 2012, 2016 (lol), and "current edition" with no date or definition of what equals the current edition (current now as published from ICC, or when the project was permitted, or when the project was bid?). We aren't even permitted under the IBC. Instead this project is under a city-specific version from 2018. I've also found numerous ASTM standards referenced that are no longer valid (eg. this one for railings that was withdrawn in 2015 with no replacement: https://www.astm.org/e0985-00r06.html). BSD supposedly pushes updates regularly to correct these errors. They also claim citations to standards are "continuously verified and audited annually." https://bsdspeclink.com/speclink-cloud-tutorial-faq/#1524760307905-22ae6a9f-f473

Dec 3, 21 2:48 pm  · 
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shellarchitect

Damn Canucks!

Does every province use the same code?  I assumed Canada was pretty much the same at the states... Our codes include by reference a wide variety of other standards.  ANSI, ASHRAE, NFPA, etc.

Dec 2, 21 11:03 am  · 
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Non Sequitur

Oh, hells no. Every province has their own... unless they are a poor peasant province and can't afford their own specific building code R&D... Canada has a national building code (N.B.C.) which forms the basis of all building codes and is the defacto authority unless a province has their own. Right now provinces with their own codes are BC, Alberta, Ontario, QC (NBC but in french... with some modification). We have the same standards list including some m'urican ones but most are maple equivalent (CAN CSA or ULC).

Dec 2, 21 12:10 pm  · 
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