Code council committee strikes bath enclosure amendments, approves new energy code
The structural committee for the International Code Council of Falls Church, Va., disapproved a set of proposed amendments backed by the America’s Glass Association of Placerville, Calif., that would have toughened the hardware and glass requirements for frameless shower doors.
ICC committees heard a record 2,300 proposals to revise the 2009 edition international codes from Sept. 20- Oct. 1 in Orlando, Fla.
The proposed amendments followed a contentious debate over bath enclosure standards or codes between AGA and the Bath Enclosure Manufacturers Association of Topeka, Kan.
While both sides agree more requirements are needed for the enclosures, several fundamental differences between the associations’ approaches prevented collaboration; mainly BEMA members would like to develop a standard, while the AGA proposal amends building codes.
Donn Harter, president of AGA, said in an Aug. 8 e-glass weekly article that he anticipated BEMA’s vocal opposition at the hearings and expected it to make a difference in the committee’s recommendation. “The word of the manufacturers is pretty strong, both with contractors and code officials,” Harter said. “… If they are able to stop us at code change hearings, then we’ll just go ahead and try again next year.”
Proposal fails for alternative thermal performance rating procedure
An ICC committee struck down a proposal that would have allowed for an alternative thermal performance rating procedure from Schaumberg, Ill.-based American Architectural Manufacturers Association.
The proposal, backed by the Glass Association of North America of Topeka, Kan., and the Aluminum Extruders Council of Wauconda, Ill., would have amended the International Energy Conservation code to permitting use of AAMA 507-03 as a standard practice for determining thermal performance of fenestration systems in commercial buildings.
The IECC code will continue to only recognize the use of NFRC 100, an energy-rating system from the National Fenestration Rating Council in Silver Spring, Md., and to require determination of thermal performance values by use of default tables included in the IECC or labeling in accordance with NFRC 100.
To read more about the proposal, click here.
Approved energy code could benefit some manufacturers
An IECC committee also approved a proposal designated EC82 for the International Energy Conservation Code.
EC82 permits calculation of a weighted average U-factor for the entire building envelope and an area weighted average solar heat gain coefficient for all the glazing in the building envelope.
“Being able to use an area weighted average for the entire building envelope will be particularly valuable for manufacturers of products that have difficulty meeting the prescriptive values, such as plastic skylights and aluminum framed windows and doors, because it will allow a trade off of more insulation in the opaque parts of the exterior walls and roofs in exchange for the use of less energy efficient doors, skylights and vertical glazed assemblies,” says Julie Ruth, P.E., consultant to AAMA, based in New Lenox, Ill.
However, Ruth says, the committee’s decision may create difficulties for designers. By approving the proposal, the committee removed a provision that allowed use of prescriptive tables within ASHRAE 90.1 that help determine U-factor and SHGC based on percentage of exterior wall that is glass. The IECC tables provide only one set of values, regardless of the amount of glass.
“In some cases the tables in ASHRAE 90.1 are more stringent and in other cases the tables in the IECC are more stringent. The 2006 IECC permits the designer to choose which they want to use, or they can do performance based design of the entire building,” Ruth says.
If approval of EC82 as submitted is upheld at the Final Action Hearings of the 2006/2007 ICC Code Change Cycle next May, designers may not have the choice of using ASHRAE 90.1 in future editions of the IECC.
The results of the committees’ votes will appear in a report later this fall, and the proposals will advance to a public hearing period, says Alan Carr, ICC senior staff engineer. “This public comment period is for anybody who takes issue with committee decisions,” he says. “It also allows people to offer modifications to proposals.”
These public comments will appear on the agenda for the final action hearings of the 2006-2007 ICC code-change cycle. Those hearings are scheduled for May 22-25, 2007, in Rochester, N.Y.
To learn more about the proposals before the ICC committees, see the October issue of Glass magazine.