Coming soon for all members of the building materials supply chain: Lots more paperwork to satisfy more "green-building" codes and standards.

In a couple of years, every segment of the building materials supply chain will have to have information to meet the requirements of three green model codes and energy standards, not simply one, said John P. Cross, a vice president of the Chicago-based American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) at the 2012 North American Steel Construction Conference, held April 18-20 in Grapevine, Texas. The conference, with a record attendance of more than 3,500, incorporated the World Steel Bridge Symposium and the Annual Stability Conference.

No longer will each segment of the supply chain be able to focus only on the stipulations of the U.S. Green Building Council's green building rating system, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Soon they will have to accommodate LEED, updates in model codes and other energy conservation standards when looking at a green project, said Cross.

Within the steel supply chain, fabricators, mills, producers and service centers are not the only ones affected. Even structural engineers need to prepare for a "paradigm shift" in terms of green information required of them, warned Cross.

The upcoming documentation needs are further complicated by the coming transition from LEED 2009 to the proposed LEED 2012, currently undergoing its third public review.

The materials documentation changes will occur over time, as the latest versions of the green model codes and standards are adopted and implemented. "My guess is that these expanded information requirements won’t really be a major factor until 2014 or 2015," predicted Cross. "But it is important for every stage of the supply chain to start to prepare for those information and documentation demands now," he advised.

Cross outlined his vision of future information needs for each member of the steel supply chain, including useful tips:

For steel mills and producers:
• For every product line:

—Help develop an industry-wide product category rule.

—Support the publication of an industry-wide energy product declaration (EPD).

—Publish chemical content information.

—Publish a producer-specific product EPD.

• Collect operational data to support EPDs.

—Track the source of all major materials, including scrap, iron ore and coke products that come from a basic oxygen furnace (BOF) process and semi-finished products, like coil used in the production of high-strength steel.

• Maintain records of pre- and post-consumer content.

• Be prepared to distribute the documented recovery rate of the product.

• Track the shipping mode by typical radius.

• Document process as electric arc furnace (EAF) or BOF. • Consider including some of this material on the material test report (MTR).

For service centers:
• For all stocked material, include:

—Mill source including location.

—Transportation history (rail, barge, truck).

• Have in possession to pass on with material:

—Industry EPD for product type.

—Producer EPD if available.

—Product chemical content sheets.

—Industry-wide recycled content/recovery rate values.

For fabricators:

• For every material order, document for each product/source:

—Mill source (location).

—Mill type (BOF or EAF).

—Recycled content (pre and post consumer).

—% of raw materials from project site radius.

—Source of ore and coke (BOF only).

—Transportation history. • Have: — Industry EPD for product type

—Producer EPD if available

—Product chemical content sheets

—Industry recycled content/recovery rate values

—Mill test report on file

For the project:

—Cost of material delivered to site

— Mass of material delivered to site

— Volume of material delivered to site (may not be possible or meaningful)

For structural engineers:

• Have a “cheat” sheet handy for all materials showing:

—Typical recycled content

—Recovery rate

—Typical sourcing for the project site area (location of scrap, mill, fabricator)

—Typical transportation mode and/or split between modes

—Availability of EPD and chemical content sheets

• Estimate building mass and volume at each phase of design

• Perform preliminary threshold calculations

• Evaluate the possibility of using used material

• Prepare standard language for frame service life

• Prepare to opine on the deconstructibility of the structure

• Specify material requirements necessary to meet project thresholds, not project thresholds for each material.

• Learn about life cycle assessments and their limitations

• Be prepared to educate local jurisdictions about the requirements

"There has been a tendency under LEED for a specifier to simply say 'I want all material to have a 75% recycled content and be regional' for all materials and then at the end of the project see what they actually got in hopes that whatever complied added up to the LEED thresholds," said Cross.