Questions and Answers about Madison Crescent and Noise Issues

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1 Questions and Answers about Madison Crescent and Noise Issues Question: What codes were applicable to our condos when they were built? Answer: The Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (VUSBC) - The Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development is appointed by the Governor and adopts the VUSBC. The VUSBC is updated approximately every three years in conjunction with the International Code Council's update to the International Building Codes. The International Building Codes and the VUSBC go through an extensive public vetting process which allows anyone to submit proposed Code Changes for consideration. Currently, Virginia is accepting proposed Code Changes for the 2012 Code Cycle. It is important to note that State law prohibits localities from amending the VUSBC or publishing their own local Building Code. SOUND TESTING QUESTIONS Question: What sound standards/code compliance requirements apply to the construction of our condo? Answer: This structure falls under the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Codes and the International Building Codes as follows: SECTION 1207 SOUND TRANSMISSION Scope. This section shall apply to common interior walls, partitions and floor/ceiling assemblies between adjacent dwelling units or between dwelling units and adjacent public areas such as halls, corridors, stairs or service areas Air-borne sound. Walls, partitions and floor/ceiling assemblies separating dwelling units from each other or from public or service areas shall have a sound transmission class (STC) of not less than 50 (45 if field tested) for air-borne noise when tested in accordance with ASTM E 90. Penetrations or openings in construction assemblies for piping; electrical devices; recessed cabinets; bathtubs; soffits; or heating, ventilating or exhaust ducts shall be sealed, lined, insulated or otherwise treated to maintain the required ratings. This requirement shall not apply to dwelling unit entrance doors; however, such doors shall be tight fitting to the frame and sill Masonry. The sound transmission class of concrete masonry and clay masonry assemblies shall be calculated in accordance with TMS 0302 or determined through testing in accordance with ASTM E Structure-borne sound. Floor/ceiling assemblies between dwelling units or between a dwelling unit and a public or service area within the

2 structure shall have an impact insulation class (IIC) rating of not less than 50 (45 if field tested) when tested in accordance with ASTM E 492. Question: Did Prince William County perform testing for sound code compliance during the construction phase of our condos? Did any codes or regulations require the builder to perform testing to verify acceptable sound levels and code compliance? Answer: No. The Code does not require either Prince William County or the builder to conduct testing for sound code compliance. Question: Hush Acoustics LLC was hired by Miller and Smith to perform the sound testing on April 19. Since Miller and Smith has worked with Hush in the past, is this considered a conflict of interest? Answer: The VUSBC authorizes the Building Official to consider/accept reports from competent professionals (i.e., registered architects; professional engineers; licensed contractors; certified testing agencies). Eric Mays, the Building Official for Prince William County has determined that the company and the company's assigned engineer are competent to conduct and analyze the STC Field Testing. In accordance with state law and regulations, Professional Engineers are licensed professionals that are to exercise their engineering judgment without bias or prejudice. If the engineer was a direct employee of Miller & Smith, or he had an ownership interest in Miller & Smith, it would constitute a potential conflict of interest. However, in this case the company and its engineer are acting as a consultant to the Building Official, and Miller & Smith is paying for the consulting services. If you have any direct evidence of a conflict of interest or bias, please forward that information to Eric Mays at immediately. Question: What is the Statute of Limitations as it pertains to Building Code Violations? Answer: Building Code Violations must be discovered by the Building Official within two years of the issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy. Once discovered, if the violation is not abated, the Building Code Violation must be prosecuted within one year. If the Building Official discovers a Building Code Violation after the Statute of Limitations for Prosecution has expired, the Building Official is required to issue an Inspection Report documenting the Building Code Violations; however, any subsequent legal action requires a civil action by the contracting parties (i.e., homeowner, builder). Question: What date was the certificate of occupancy recorded with Prince William County for the Madison Crescent development? Answer: The Certificate of Occupancy was issued to each individual unit. In order to respond to this question, please provide the following information:

3 Name of the property owner Address of the property In addition to this, it would be helpful to have the phone number and in order to communicate with the owner. Question: Will PWC release the bonds currently being held for Miller and Smith knowing these issues exist? Answer: The Bonds have been extended for this project. At this time, no request for Bond release has been received by Prince William County. For additional information on this issue, contact Oscar F. Guzman at NEW FAQ s as of May 12, 2012 Question: What can the Homeowner do to minimize sound issues? Answer: If the homeowner wants to increase the STC and IIC Rating between the second floor and third floor, there are two basic options. The first option is to install a floor covering on the third floor that absorbs sound (i.e., carpet with carpet padding). The second option is to alter the floor/ceiling assembly between the second floor and third floor. The second option requires that a Virginia registered design professional submit a Building Permit Application and proposed plans to the County for review and approval. A Virginia licensed contractor will need to obtain the Building Permit before commencing the work, and County inspections will be required. Question: How may I view the plans that were approved by the County for the construction of the Madison Crescent Condominiums? Answer: Please submit a Freedom of Information Request to Ray Jackson at requesting to the view the documents. Mr. Jackson will contact you to schedule a time for you to view the documents. Question: Does the County s inspection procedures require Field Testing of the STC and IIC? Answer: No. Field Testing of the STC and IIC is not required to be conducted as part of normal inspection process. (NOTE: The County is not aware of any Virginia jurisdiction that mandates the Field Testing during the normal inspection process.) Question: Who was responsible for doing the sound testing that was conducted; Prince William County or Miller and Smith? Answer: Based on the County s request, Miller and Smith hired a consultant to conduct the Field Testing.

4 Question: Will the Engineer s Report be available to all residents requesting such? Answer: The Engineer s Reports are posted on the County s website at Question: Were the Madison Crescent Condos inspected by County inspectors or were they inspected under your policy 1.16 Third Party Building Inspection Certification Program? Answer: The foundation inspections were conducted under Policy 1.16 Third Party Building Inspection Certification Program. All other inspections were conducted by the County. Question: Based upon the plans Miller and Smith provided, what measures did they take, in the design process, to ensure that they would meet the IIC- 50 rating as required by the VUSBC? Did the County specifically inspect the plans for this? Given the difficulties of meeting sound requirements in Condo Units, were the design measures specifically inspected upon installation? Answer: The designer provided a detail which included 3-1/2 fiberglass batt insulation in the fire rated floor/ceiling assembly, and the plan detail indicated compliance with STC and IIC required design ratings. The County plan reviewers confirmed compliance with STC and IIC required design ratings. The County Inspectors confirmed the installation of the insulation in the floor/ceiling assembly. Question: Does the County have any specific procedures for dealing with latent defects? Answer: Complaints are submitted to the Building Code Enforcement Section in the Building Development Division. An investigation is conducted to determine if there is a Building Code Violation. If a documented Building Code Violation is within the Statute of Limitations for Prosecution of Building Code Violations, a Notice of Violation can be issued. If a documented Building Code Violation is outside of the Statute of Limitations for Prosecution of Building Code Violations, an Inspection Report is sent to the homeowner and builder to document the Building Code Violation. If the homeowner pursues civil litigation, the Inspection Report can serve as evidence of the Building Code Violation. NEW FAQ s as of June 1, 2012 Question: Will Miller & Smith conduct any additional field testing? Answer: The County did request that the builder, Miller & Smith, conduct Sound Transmission Testing throughout the Madison Crescent Two over Two dwelling units. Miller & Smith did hire a consultant to conduct Sound Transmission Testing at 7931/7933 Crescent Park Drive and 7782/7784

5 Cedar Branch Drive. However, Miller & Smith declined to conduct any additional testing, and the County does not have sufficient empirical evidence to compel Miller & Smith to conduct additional testing. Question: If I decide as the homeowner to proceed with field testing, what do I do? Answer: There are two options: 1. Destructive Testing A licensed contractor will need to obtain a Building Permit to temporarily remove portions of the ceiling in the lower dwelling unit to allow for the inspection of the sound insulation installed in the fire rated floor/ceiling assembly. Once the inspection is completed, the fire rated floor/ceiling assembly will need to be repaired immediately to mitigate the fire hazard created by breaching the fire rated assembly. The County will need to be present to witness the destructive testing and the immediate repair of the ceiling. 2. Sound Transmission Testing A qualified professional engineer may conduct testing in accordance with ASTM E and ASTM E The engineer s qualifications and report can be submitted to the County for review. Question: How can the Building Official s decision be appealed? Answer: Please refer to Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code background information located, here.

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