1 September 1999
13-1. INTRODUCTION. This chapter covers the design requirements for aluminum structures,
membrane structures, and other types of structures constructed using unique materials and
unique construction methods not covered by the previous chapters. All special construction
must comply to the requirements of the National Fire Protection Association.
13-2. NEW MATERIALS AND METHODS. The use of special construction is permitted
whenever it appears necessary, advantageous, and economical. However, specifying new or
untried materials or methods of construction should be avoided until the merits of the methods
or materials have been established. New, unusual, or innovative materials, systems or
methods previously untried may be incorporated into designs when evidence shows that such
use is in the best interest of the Government from the standpoint of economy, lower-life-cycle
costs, and quality of construction. Manufacturers should prove the merits of their products by
certified laboratory results, by evidence of satisfactory installation under conditions similar to
those anticipated for the proposed construction, and by demonstrating compliance with
appropriate industry standards.
13-3. SPECIAL CONSTRUCTION STANDARDS. Special construction often involves design
requirements and construction methods different from those covered by current design
manuals, construction standards, and guide specifications. In cases where special
constructions has application beyond the scope of a particular project, the agency responsible
for design will submit a recommended change report to the agency/or agencies responsible for
maintaining and updating design guidance, construction standards and guide specifications.
The recommended change report will allow current design guidance, construction standards,
and/or guide specifications, to be updated to cover the new special construction method. The
recommended change report should contain justification and documentation supporting the
new special construction method, including cost benefits, proposed special criteria and
controls, performance history, and tests.
13-4. ALUMINUM STRUCTURES. Aluminum when used for structural purposes in building
construction will be designed in accordance with the Aluminum Association AA-94, Part 1-A,
"Specifications for Aluminum Structures - Allowable Stress Design", and Part 1-B,
"Specifications for Aluminum Structures - Load and Resistance Factor Design of Buildings and
Similar Type Structures". Approval under the provisions of Paragraphs 2 and 3 is not required
unless the aluminum structure is part of a unique structural system.
13-5. MEMBRANE STRUCTURES. Membrane structures include membrane-covered frame
structures, cable supported membrane structures, and air supported structures. Membrane
structures are those which utilize an enclosure membrane acting in tension as a structural
element. Membrane structures must either be noncombustible, or flame resistant. Structures
will be designed to sustain dead loads, loads due to tension or inflation, and live loads
including wind, snow and seismic loads. The use of membrane structures is particularly
applicable to temporary construction, to situations requiring minimum structure weight, or to
conditions requiring large, column-free spaces. Membrane structures are also used to cover
water storage facilities, water clarifiers, water treatment plants, greenhouses, and other