Volume 35, Number 1, January 2000


Industry Works to Develop Single Construction Code; Conflict Exists

Officials of the Building Officials and Code Admin-istrators International (BOCA), International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) and Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) say they have met their goal to develop a single group of comprehensive and coordinated model construction codes. The 2000 Edition of the new International Codes have been adopted at a joint annual conference, following public review/comment, discussion and formal comment. The first complete sets of International Codes are being prepared for publication early this year.

 Conflicting Ideas

The publication of one “national” model building code completes a long and arduous effort toward providing uniformity in codes and consistency in enforcement throughout the country—while taking differences in weather and geographic conditions into account.

Through a nearly ten-year long process, the three major code-writing groups in the country joined together to form one code-writing entity—the International Code Commission (ICC). While the ICC has produced one model building code nationally, fire codes and accessibility rules are still written and promulgated by other organizations.

One other group, the “get it TOGETHER” coalition is working toward the development of a single model building code that incorporates fire codes as written by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The 15-member coalition, which is comprised of public and private organizations in the design, construction and building industries, was formed when negotiations between ICC and the NFPA came to a standstill.

Members of the coalition believe a single set of model codes would serve as a consistent and reasonable approach to code compliance or enforcement and streamlining the building regulatory system. The coalition has offered to facilitate meetings designed to resume productive negotiations with the ICC and NFPA In a letter to NFPA and ICC leadership, the group urged the ICC to “work cooperatively with our coalition to resolve your differences and steadfastly work to establish a coordinated, successful and lasting code development effort.” The coalition offered to assist in the effort by facilitating meetings and even suggested the use of a qualified and objective third-party mediator.

“The ICC is willing to proceed with negotiations by whatever means the parties would bring beneficial and expeditious resolution of differences,” said ICC president John S. Traw.

Herman W. Brice, chair of the NFPA board of directors, also responded to the coalition’s letter. “Both parties are familiar with the issues which separate them and have seriously considered the options. It is not likely that an impartial third party is going to come up with a magic solution that will resolve the differences,” said Brice in his own letter to the coalition.

 NFPA Efforts

The NFPA is not letting the disagreements halt its own work toward a model code. The association is in the beginning stages of developing a detailed plan for integration of the association’s codes and standards into a full set of codes for the built environment. According to NFPA president George D. Miller, this initiative has become increasingly important to safety officials and other advocates. “NFPA is committed to providing an integrated set of codes with maximum emphasis on broad, open consensus, either on our own or in collaboration with other appropriate organizations,” he said.

The decision to develop these codes and standards came at the direction of the associations’ board of directors at the NFPA’s fall meeting.

ANSI Committee Rejuvenated;
Prepares for Task Ahead

When members of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z97.1 Standards Committee met recently in December, it was a chance for committee members to rejuvenate and prepare for adoption of the ANSI Safety Glazing Standard, according to Solutia’s Julie Schimmelpenningh, who serves as the committee’s secretary.

“This was our first meeting since the Glazing Industry Secretariat Committee took over,” said Schimmelpenningh. “We discussed the scope and purpose of the committee and how to move forward and get the standard approved in the two-year time frame.” The committee also discussed membership, member assessment and ANSI model procedures.

The next meeting is scheduled for June 13-15 in Baltimore, MD.


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