Volume 13, Issue 5 - June 2012


Code Update
Changes Coming to the IBC

If you don’t know what a window opening control device is (WOCD), you may want to study up for the changes that will make their way into the next version of the International Building Code (IBC). The International Code Council (ICC) held its code hearings in May so find out what changes were approved and what proposals didn’t make the cut. For all the news from the code hearings visit dwmmag.com.

The ICC made a change saying that window opening control devices complying with ASTM F2090 shall be installed where an existing window is replaced.

Egress Codes are Revised
The ICC reviewed proposed changes to the International Building Code’s Section 1008.1.7 (IFC [B] 1008.1.7), related to thresholds, as part of proposal E60-12 and Section 1013.8 (IFC [B] 1013.8), related to window sills, as part of proposal E109-12, and passed both.

Julie Ruth, representing the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), proposed the revision in E60-12, to add a second exception to section 1008.1.7 (IFC [B] 1008.1.7). The exception reads: “In Type B units, where Exception 5 to Section 1008.1.5 permits a 4-inch (102 mm) elevation change at the door, the threshold height on the exterior side of the door shall not exceed 4 ¾ (120 mm) inches in height above the exterior deck, patio or balcony for sliding doors or 4 1/2 inch (114 mm) above the exterior deck, patio or balcony for other doors.”

Ruth supported the motion as did Jeff Inks, representing the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA).

“This proposal permits the height of the threshold itself to exceed ½ or ¾ inch in height, as long as the resultant profile from the interior floor to the exterior surface is maintained as required by current code text,” Ruth explained.

“We have put in a lot of work and the revisions have been reviewed by those who understand the requirements very well,” Inks said. “Builders have been struggling with this for a long time. It is an important fix from water infiltration to the interior and the potential of snow build-up on the outside.”

The motion passed 14-0.

Carl Baldassarra, chair of ICC Code Technology Committee (CTC), was the proponent of the revision in E109-12. The CTC study group on child window safety examined Section 1013.8 during the preparation of the code change for existing buildings and questioned the original intent and scope, according to the ICC.

“Reviewing all the code changes that led to the current language, we concluded that the limitation on window openings and the requirement for use of protection devices was focused on dwelling units within buildings,” according to the revision document. “We also felt that any such buildings would have a high incidence of exposure by small children to other window openings where they might fall and be injured.

The following proposals were not approved during the code hearings.
Flashing: The International Code Council (ICC) reviewed proposed changes to IBC Section 1405.4, Chapter 35, related to flashing, and rejected these as part of proposal FS 161–12. The committee disapproved the motion by 13-0.

The ICC rejected a proposal that would have added a section to the code to specify that Level 1 alterations to existing buildings or structures be permitted without requiring the entire building or structure to comply with the energy requirements of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) or the International Residential Code (IRC). The proposal, G208-12, put forth by Vickie Lovell of Intercode Inc. representing herself, was rejected with a vote of 7-4.

Fenestration Assemblies:
The ICC reviewed several proposed changes to the IBC related to exterior door and window assemblies. Ruth proposed a revised version of the exception in section 1710.5 as part of proposal S172-12 to allow for comparative analysis. Additionally, in sections 1710.5.1 and 1710.5.2, she proposed revisions to tighten up testing levels as part of S174-12.

“Therefore, we have clarified the language specifying that it is all windows in an R-2 or R-3 building, which has dwelling units in it. Similarly, we have clarified that the height is to be measured to the top of the sill of an operable window. Finally, the exceptions aren’t actually exceptions, but conditions where various devices and their standards are allowed to be used.”

Ruth supported the motion, and it passed 14-0.

Window Replacement Proposals Gain Support
The ICC reviewed two proposed changes to the IBC that dealt with window replacements. Both were approved as submitted. One related to window opening control devices, while the other had to do with the size of the window opening.

The first, G 225-12, proposed that in all windows in group R-2 or R-3 buildings containing dwelling units, window opening control devices (WOCD) complying with ASTM F2090 shall be installed where an existing window is replaced, according to section 3048.1. Ruth and Inks both spoke in support of the proposal, which ultimately passed 10 to 1.

Ruth said the proposal would apply to existing openings and that AAMA has been hearing from its members on this issue.

Inks also submitted G227-12 regarding replacement window openings. According to the proposal, which relates to section 3408.1 of the code, where windows are required to provide emergency escape and rescue openings in group R-2 and R-3 occupancies, replacement windows shall be exempt from the requirements of Sections 1029.2, 1029.3 and 1029.5 provided the replacement window is the manufacturer’s largest standard size window that will fit within the existing frame or existing rough opening.

The intent of the proposal is to ensure the IBC does not discourage or prevent improvements in fire safety in older residential occupancies by requiring replacement windows meet all of the provisions of Section 1029 when doing so could require increasing the size of the rough opening or altering the interior wall.

"We proposed this because we are getting calls at the local level as to how egress windows apply to this section of the code."
—Jeff Inks, WDMA

“We proposed this because we are getting calls at the local level as to how egress windows apply to this section of the code,” said Inks. “The intent is to avoid a situation where a window replacement is avoided because a jurisdiction says a window opening must be bigger.”

The proposal passed as submitted 7-4.

Exterior Doors Section of Fire Safety Code is Revised
The ICC reviewed proposed changes to IBC Section 2603.4.1.8, related to exterior doors, and passed them as part of proposal FS 184-12 submitted by the WDMA.

Inks proposed the following revision to the IBC Section 2603.4.1.8 Exterior Doors in Buildings of Group R-2 or R-3: “In occupancies classified as Group R-2 or R-3, foam-filled exterior doors to individual dwelling units that do not require a fire-resistance rating shall be faced with aluminum, steel, fiberglass, wood or other approved materials.” The revision added the words “aluminum, steel, fiberglass” to the section.

The Fire Safety Code Committee approved the proposal as submitted by WDMA by a vote of 10-3.


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