ICC finalizing last of the 2012 International Codes
September 29, 2011
COMMERCIAL : CODES & STANDARDS
The International Code Council is finalizing the last of its 2012 International Codes. Final action on its existing codes, including the International Building Code, International Residential Code and International Energy Conservation Code, concluded in November 2010. This fall, the ICC will take final action on its two newest codes: the International Green Construction Code and the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code. These final action hearings are scheduled for November 2-6, 2011, in Phoenix.
Adoption of the International Green Construction Code grows
A number of U.S. jurisdictions have adopted all or part of the IgCC as a green design option for commercial buildings within their jurisdiction. These include the states of Florida, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon and Rhode Island, as well as the cities of Scottsdale, Ariz.; Phoenix; and Richmond, Wash. In some of these jurisdictions, such as Florida, use of the IgCC is limited to publicly owned buildings. Use of the IgCC is optional, so compliance is not required. However, if a building owner or designer within these jurisdictions wishes to provide a green building, they may use the IgCC to establish the requirements.
ICC board of directors reviews code development process
The ICC also is reviewing changes it has made to its own code change procedures over the past few years. The review has led to a few further refinements.
The changes included splitting the 13 existing International Codes into two groups and establishing just one cycle of code development for each group between each edition of those codes.
Code development on the first set of codes, Group A, will occur in 2013. Group A codes include the IBC, addressing all buildings other than single-family homes and townhouses that are built under the IRC. The IBC is the base code for all of the other International Codes.
Code development for the second set of codes, Group B, will occur in 2014. Group B codes include the IRC, IECC and IgCC.
The purpose of having one cycle of code development for each new edition of the International Codes is to reduce the amount of time spent at code hearings. The new schedule also allows the final action hearings for each group of codes to be held in conjunction with one of the ICC's annual business meetings.
This change has resulted in shorter code hearing schedules, raising concerns about the time available for consideration of each code change proposal brought forth. The code change committees will consider each code change proposal only one time between editions of the International Codes. And the amount of time permitted for code change proponents to explain the reason for proposed changes will be very limited.
In order to allow more time for discussion of some of the more complicated issues, the ICC board of directors created a Code Technology Committee in 2006. The board can assign specific topics to the CTC for further study. In some cases, these assignments are made as a result of a recommendation from the ICC code change committee, based upon topics they think warrant further study.
The ICC CTC has had a certain level of success. Most specific to our industry has been the development of an exception to the minimum window sill height requirements for windows equipped with Window Opening Control Devices. This exception has been included in the 2012 IBC.
ICC establishes code action committees
Extending the concept of the CTC, the ICC has established four discipline-specific code action committees to "act as a forum to deal with complex technical issues ahead of the code development process, identify emerging issues and draft proposed code changes of importance to the membership".
Two ICC code action committees of potential significance to our industry will be the ICC Building Code Action Committee and the ICC Fire Code Action Committee. The ICC Building Code Action Committee will be responsible for Chapters 10, 16, 17 and 24 of the IBC. These chapters give the means of egress and structural requirements for fenestration. The ICC Fire Code Action Committee will govern Chapter 14. The requirements for weatherization of the exterior building envelope, including the installation of exterior windows and doors, are included in Chapter 14 of the IBC.
A joint meeting of these two code action committees took place September 21-22, 2011, in Chicago. The deadline for code change proposals to the 2015 IBC is January 3, 2012.
A third ICC code action committee of potential significance to our industry will be the ICC Sustainability, Energy & High-Performance Building Code Action Committee. This committee will be responsible for the International Energy Conservation Code and the International Green Construction Code. These two codes will both be Group B codes. The deadline for code change proposals for these codes will not be until January 2013. A meeting of the ICC Sustainability, Energy & High-Performance Building Code Action Committee has not yet been scheduled.
ICC retains assembly voting
The ICC board of directors also voted to retain a number of other changes that were made in recent years to the ICC code change process. These include retaining the use of assembly voting at the code development hearings and continuing to restrict the final vote on the content of the International Codes to representatives of active ICC members who are responsible for the enforcement of these codes by a local jurisdiction.
Although the board has established a goal of putting into place remote voting by 2015, it is not anticipated it will be used during the 2012 ICC code change cycle.