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The Standard At Winrock: Multifamily At 2030 Winrock Blvd.


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Project Name: Winrock North Apartments

Location Address: 2030 Winrock Blvd.

Start Date: 4/1/2023

Completion Date: 4/1/2025

Scope of Work: New construction of a 398 for-rent multifamily units, structured parking garage, and shared amenity areas.

Square Footage: 9,800 ft 2

Design Firm Name: GFF

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When I first got to Houston over 20 years ago, I landed at Briarwood on Winrock.  My next door neighbor was a South Texas College of Law adjunct professor.  A nice retired couple with a meticulously cared for 1980s Mercedes Benz lived in one of the townhome units above me.  The complex got sold and renting standards all but abandoned.  There was an Asian drug gang that sold whatever you needed out of one of the townhome units.  One night there was a SWAT standoff with someone who holed themselves up with a couple of pit bulls.  Just after I moved out, someone nearly decapitated their friend in a grizzly murder that some thought was terror related.  

Even as the single family homes across the way gentrified into $1 mil+ lot value, the multifamily and retail development along and around Westheimer in this far west Galleria Area neighborhood have seen very little movement compared to so many other parts of Houston.  You could build a small city out this way by taking out the old garden style apartments and converting the strip malls to mixed use.  But this area just never keeps up any momentum.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • The title was changed to Winrock North: Multifamily At 2030 Winrock Blvd.
  • 2 months later...
  • The title was changed to The Standard At Winrock: Multifamily At 2030 Winrock Blvd.
11 hours ago, toxtethogrady said:

Boy, five floors seems to be the, um, standard for a whole lot of these...

I can't say that I know anything about Houston's building codes, but I know that in many cities, once you get over x floors, you're required to build stronger (steel girders, instead of just wood), and have better roofs, and provide elevators, loading docks, larger water and sewer connections, enhanced trash handling, traffic studies, and such.

I expect that five is the mark in Houston for rule changes that add expense.

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29 minutes ago, editor said:

I can't say that I know anything about Houston's building codes, but I know that in many cities, once you get over x floors, you're required to build stronger (steel girders, instead of just wood), and have better roofs, and provide elevators, loading docks, larger water and sewer connections, enhanced trash handling, traffic studies, and such.

I expect that five is the mark in Houston for rule changes that add expense.

You're correct.  IBC (International Building Code) limits the height of wood framed structures to 5-stories. 

Adding floors results in added mass and wind surface area, which increases lateral forces for seismic and wind loads.  Stronger structure and shear walls are need to increase strength, not to mention (accessibility) adding elevators, (life safety/egress) enclosed exit stairways, and (fire suppression) sprinkler systems throughout.

You ever notice the hundreds of tiny A/C units on the rooftops of some apartments?  That's because the structural dead load limitations.

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  • 3 months later...
On 10/13/2022 at 8:31 AM, editor said:

I can't say that I know anything about Houston's building codes, but I know that in many cities, once you get over x floors, you're required to build stronger (steel girders, instead of just wood), and have better roofs, and provide elevators, loading docks, larger water and sewer connections, enhanced trash handling, traffic studies, and such.

I expect that five is the mark in Houston for rule changes that add expense.

Here's a good website to check if you are curious about what codes have been adopted by which city:

https://up.codes/codes/houston

I'm actually surprised that Houston is still under the 2015 IBC, for some reason I was sure they were on 2018. My guess is they haven't switch to 2018 or even 2021 due to the increased insulation requirements that have only gotten more stringent as the years have gone on. Also as the years go on the IBC is trying to phase out 2x4 studs at exterior walls (again due to insulation requirements). Houston is already a challenging enough environment to build for due to humidity. Houston is classified under climate zone 2A.

https://codes.iccsafe.org/content/IECC2015/chapter-3-ce-general-requirements

So while you are correct, its technically not really the cities, but the code which is adopted. Cities, for the most part, can adopt whatever version of the building code they want, and can even write their own building codes. You hit a lot of key aspects that are very important. These though aren't the main factors that require a change in overall construction. The primary factors which dictate type of construction is Occupancy, Building Area, Building Height, and whether a building will sprinklered or not. All the other factors are important, but are more secondary rather than primary.

On 10/13/2022 at 9:24 AM, Paco Jones said:

You're correct.  IBC (International Building Code) limits the height of wood framed structures to 5-stories. 

Adding floors results in added mass and wind surface area, which increases lateral forces for seismic and wind loads.  Stronger structure and shear walls are need to increase strength, not to mention (accessibility) adding elevators, (life safety/egress) enclosed exit stairways, and (fire suppression) sprinkler systems throughout.

You ever notice the hundreds of tiny A/C units on the rooftops of some apartments?  That's because the structural dead load limitations.

Actually for your standard (pun unintended) Residential multifamily apartments of this type, its actually 3 stories...if it isn't sprinklered. If you sprinkler the entire building then with this type of construction, which is Type V-B more than likely, then you can get up to 4. Then you get up to 5 by going with a first floor all concrete Type 1A construction. To be quiet honestly a lot of the IBC height limitations are really arbitrary. Over the years data has come to reinforce why they keep these heights due to things like structural forces, but not really at least from my studies and experience. I could be wrong. You are right about the A/C units, but another reason is strictly costs. Design a central mechanical room for a large building like this is incredibly expensive, and the runs you would need to get to every unit would take a lot of ceiling height away to fit plenum, so instead its just easier to go with the individual A/C units.

On 10/12/2022 at 8:37 PM, toxtethogrady said:

Boy, five floors seems to be the, um, standard for a whole lot of these...

On 10/13/2022 at 9:41 AM, Texasota said:

6-7 stories ends up being pretty common as well because you get 5 stories of stick on top of 1-2 stories of concrete podium

What's been explained above are good responses to both of your comments. Thought I'd add in some of my own for further clarification as my last two exams go over a lot of these topics. I just couldn't help myself haha.

@toxtethogrady This is why you see the five floors a lot. Type V-B can only get you so far, but if you add sprinklers (in particular a N13R version) then you can get to 4 stories, and then you need parking right? So throw that under the building right? Well parking garages are a separate occupancy than residential (typically S-2 occupancy) which then technically makes this building a "mixed-use" if you have a mixed use you then need to fire separate the uses, typically you need to a 3 hour separation, well Type 1A (again typically concrete) is enough to get you there, and its why you see a lot of concrete podium (1-2 stories) with 3-4 stories of Type V-B or wood stud construction on top, or if you want the cheaper option its why you see the "Texas Donut" with a parking garage in the middle of a 4 story residential occupancy wrap.

Btw the online version all IBC's are free to view for those that are curious.

https://codes.iccsafe.org/content/IBC2015

...its a real page turner haha...please end my pain.

also a good book to further break things down is a book called "Building Codes Illustrated" by Francis D. K. Ching.

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