Home Innovation Insights

Thomas Kenney, PE
August 23, 2012

An Open Invitation to the Home Building Industry

The mission of Home Innovation Research Labs is to perfect the home. This may seem like a lofty goal, but we work toward it daily. We test our clients’ innovations and prove their value. We leverage what we know and who we know to ensure commercial success for our private- and public-sector clients. Through our interdisciplinary research approach, we help find a home for innovation in the residential construction industry.

One technique we use to hasten the adoption of innovative technologies is eliminating barriers. For niche products or novel construction methods, building code impediments can be time consuming and require costly engineering design services. We have helped eliminate these types of barriers in many cases through standardization and addressing provisions in model building and energy codes. Our work within these provisions typically involves a prescriptive criterion, such as a sizing table or a specification rules. This approach simplifies the design process and also helps local building code officials with verifying code compliance.

We have ongoing, active involvement in updating the International Residential Building Code (IRC) and International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) in the context of introducing enabling provisions for new technologies. At the risk of dating ourselves, Home Innovation Labs’s involvement in the codes arena predates the IRC – in the CABO One- and Two-Family Dwelling Code we helped introduce optimized framing methods, semi-rigid water piping and fuel gas piping, manifold water distribution design criteria, and right-sized drain waste and vent system criteria. In the IRC and IECC codes Home Innovation Labs’s efforts are evident in the sizing tables for cold form steel framing, frost-protected shallow foundations, connection methods for structural insulation panels (SIPS), and specifications for lateral strength of portal frames, to name just a few. All of these examples were driven by our goals to improve construction efficiency, lower overall cost, and enable value-add features.

These successes are based on our extensive network of relationships and ability to marshal the necessary resources to sustain a development and deployment project. We leverage trade associations, manufacturers, and government resources while engaging leading subject matter experts to define the technical approach and execute the work.

Many know Home Innovation Research Labs for our product testing and certification marks, but as this handful of examples shows, we’re much more than just a pretty certification label. If you have an unmet need, if your technology isn’t getting the market share you think it should, or if your technology has evolved and is ready to move from a niche market to the mainstream, we can help. So consider this post as an open invitation to members of the residential construction industry – contact me (800.638.8556) if you’d like to visit our state-of-the-art facility and meet our expert staff to discover how we can help you achieve the success you’re seeking.

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Tom Kenney, P.E., Home Innovation Research Labs VP of Engineering & Research
Friday, January 18, 2013 11:33 AM
"The Council of American Building Code Officials (CABO) was a joint effort that was shared by the three model code entities of that time- BOCA, SBCCI and ICBO. The three agencies actually traded off on administering the code development process and also the evaluation service for product accreditation. The CABO One- and Two-family Dwelling Code's scope was detached and townhouse type buildings. This code format was instigated and supported by NAHB as a matter of efficiency; that is, to have all code requirements in a single book that BOCA, SBCCI and ICBO jurisdictions could adopt. The objectives were to minimize differing code requirements that naturally occur across jurisdictional boundaries and to provide for a unified book for design and code enforcement. Also, CABO can be thought of as a precursor to the eventual integration of BOCA, SBCCI and ICBO into what we know now as the International Code Council and the International Residential Code."
Mike Black, PE
Sunday, January 13, 2013 11:36 AM
As a past home builder (who used CABO) and currently involved with the forensic investigation of construction defects, I heartily endorse NAHB's efforts to find better ways to build. Your comments about NAHB'S involvement with CABO caught my attention: I 'm interested in the history of CABO's origin and evolution. Does your Home Innovation have any background in that area?

Michael l. Black, PE"