ICC Log Standard on Horizon
The International Code Council’s Log Construction Standard (ICC IS-LOG), which is likely to have far-reaching ramifications within the industry, is nearing a final draft.

Through the work of representatives in the Log Homes Council (LHC), the International Log Builders Association (ILBA), building officials and others, the ICC IS-LOG Committee has split the standard development into six major sections that include Introduction, Definitions, Materials, Structural, Thermal Envelope and Settlement/Moisture.

Each of these sections is being developed and analyzed by the committee representatives, divided into task groups. The majority of the work on this proposed standard is complete. Each task group is currently working to finalize their individual sections by the beginning of August.

During the first week of August, the ICC IS-LOG Committee plans to meet, finalize the standard and release it for a 45-day public comment period. While members of the LHC and ILBA have had the opportunity to provide comments on the initial draft of the standard, the ability to comment prior to and during the public comment period still exists.

The LHC’s Steering Committee has kept this on the top of their agenda and are in the process of developing an action plan for their involvement in the public comment period. It is vital that all companies in the log homes industry take time to review the standard to ensure that their unique building practices are being accounted for.

However, timing is crucial. If you would like to receive a copy of the standard or would like additional information on how to get involved, please contact Jeremy Bertrand with the LHC at jbertrand@nahb.com or 800-368-5242, ext. 8353.

HBP Has New Marketing Team
A new marketing department is in place at Home Buyer Publications (Chantilly, VA), which publishes Log Home Living, Timber Frame Homes, and this publication along with producing the LHL Shows and Seminars nationwide.

Leigh Wilson has been named the new group marketing director, longtime HBP veteran Randy Pope is the new marketing and Web art director, Billy DeSarno is the marketing and Web graphic designer and Maha Saleh El Nasser is the new marketing coordinator.

“I am thrilled to have such talent, creativity and energy available to us. Only the best are here,” says Laurie Vedeler Sloan, group publisher for HBP, a division of Active Interest Media (El Segundo, CA), which also publishes Log Home Design Ideas.

“They are serving as an in-house agency for our magazines, the shows, seminars and our Web sites.”

Minimum Log Width?
Many log home builders say they are finding that some building officials are under the impression that only 8″ wide (and greater) logs will meet the energy code.

Naturally, this is alarming for those offering a smaller diameter log package to consumers. What’s more, it’s incorrect, says Rob Pickett of Timber Technology Network (Hartland, VT), a consultant to the log home industry.

“As a prescriptive approach, it might be true for some climate zones,” Pickett says. “But the log home industry hasn’t lived under prescriptive codes. Log walls are not currently in the code, and are viewed as an alternate material or method of construction.” The best tool log home builders have to counter this misperception is to use REScheck. If a building official says, “Log home? Does it have 8″ walls?” Respond with “I’ll get a REScheck analysis for you,” Pickett says.

Don’t know what REScheck is or how to use it? Read a full report on this by Pickett on Building Systems Magazine’s Web site at www.buildingsystems.com (under the Web Exclusive Heading, look for Officials Calling for Minimum Width Logs?).

ILBA 31st AGM & Conference
Nearly 200 members of the ILBA gathered in Parksville, BC, this past April 1-4 to share in the latest inventions of the industry, as well as review some historical tools and techniques. The event began with the construction of a gazebo that now overlooks the Pacific Ocean, beautifully handcrafted by ILBA members using various jigs and styles.

This annual event provided hands-on training, including a Spiral Staircase workshop, the annual log builders competition and an afternoon of sharing tech-talk and demonstrating the latest jigs in the industry. The event also covered several aspects of business operations, including marketing, design, sessions on the thermal performance of logs, working with building inspectors and much more. Author Rob Roy demonstrated cordwood building. Of the many classes, others included advanced compound roof layout techniques, safety training and sharpening techniques.

“Attendees enjoyed the opportunity to participate in such a variety of sessions, as well as hike the local beach and nearby Cathedral Forest,” says Cathy Hansen with ILBA. “Our sponsors were very supportive again this year, our teachers exceptional and the weather couldn’t have been better for us.”

Maine Lists Log Home Insurance Carriers
Are log homes difficult to insure in Maine? That’s the impression you might get from an article in the June 1 issue of Insurance Journal USA (always a riveting read), which points out that the state of Maine recently launched a Web site listing insurance carriers that offer programs for difficult to insure properties, including log homes. But Maine Superintendent of Insurance Alessandro A. Iuppa explains the list was developed to aid consumers in finding or maintaining coverage.

“We compiled this list of carriers as the result of questions from consumers over the past 24 months,” Iuppa says. Of the 41 insurance carriers listed on the Web site, 24 offer log home coverage. Information regarding how a homeowner can apply for insurance, a list of the participating companies and the risks insurers may be willing to cover can be accessed on the bureau’s home page at www.state.me.us/pfr/ins/contact_list_homeowners.htm. For details, call the Maine Bureau of Insurance at 207-624-8475.

Jim Barna Dies At 57
Jim Barna, the founder of Jim Barna Log Systems (which produced nearly 13,000 homes in its 29-year history), a philanthropist who gave to numerous community causes and a pioneer in creating a hands-on training institute for builders and do-it-yourselfers, died June 5 of a heart attack. He was 57.

The funeral for Barna was held Friday, June 11, at the First Baptist Church in Oneida, TN. In lieu of flowers, the family asks donations be made to the Children’s Center of the Cumberlands, at 22537 Alberta St., Oneida, TN 37841. For details, call 423-569-8900.

Born James I. Barna in Szeged, Hungary, in 1947, he and his family escaped the communist overthrow of Hungary and immigrated to the United States when Barna was 10. Barna became a naturalized citizen and later earned a bachelor’s degree from Kent College. He served as an Army Airborne Ranger in Vietnam from 1967-1968 and he received a battlefield promotion to second lieutenant. Recently, the Tennessee National Guard presented Barna with the Patriot’s Award for his longtime service and support.

The company’s board voted June 7 to elect Barna’s son, James “Jimmy” I. Barna, II, 32, as interim president and CEO. No changes to the company’s operations or mission are expected.

“My father’s death has come as a terrible shock to both of his families- the one at home and
the one at his company,” says Jimmy Barna. “I am committed to continuing his vision of leadership and excellence in an industry.”

Darlene Branim, executive vice president, says, “We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our founder, Jim Barna, who was such a dynamic business leader in our industry and in the community. To our employees, Jim’s death feels like an especially personal loss, given the close mentoring relationship he had with so many people in the company and in this industry as a whole.”

The Oneida, TN, based company currently produces more than 800 log homes annually. The homes are sold through a distributor network of 150 independent dealers and 18 agents at Barna’s Tennessee regional sales offices in Clinton, Gatlinburg, and Oneida. The company’s log homes are shipped throughout the United States and into several countries abroad, all from its manufacturing facility in Oneida. The company employs 150 people in the Oneida area, with employment totaling 250 for the company’s six divisions (both domestic and abroad), which include Jim Barna Log Systems, North American Log Crafters, JBLS Euro, Statikline, Log Home Builders and Barna Financial.

Barna gave to a variety of community causes and was a strong supporter of youth activities. Over the years, he made numerous donations of log structures, including playground equipment, park gazebos and dormitory housing for the National Park Service and others. One of his more recent contributions was the donation of the Children’s Center of the Cumberlands for abused children.