Volume 35, Number 6, June 2000



NFPA’s Model Codes Questioned by ICC

The International Code Council Inc. (ICC) has expressed disappointment at the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) decision to develop a model building code. The ICC announced in 1995 its intention to cooperate in the development of a single family of model codes. The ICC International Codes/2000 are available and meet the needs of all levels of government, industry and the public, according to ICC chairman Dan Nickle. “[Is] another model building code really needed or even desirable?” questioned Nickle. During the past five years ICC coordinated with many organizations and interests in the creation of a single code system. However, Nickle said they were unsuccessful in their negotiations with NFPA.

Performance-Based Codes Adopted; Prescriptive Codes Used

When a designer presents an alternative fire model how can the builder know how it was tested, who developed the test criteria, and whether or not the methods and techniques used for design are acceptable? While the opportunity to use alternative methods based on performance objectives has been available to building designers and others for quite a while, many find the process too burdensome and unaccountable to take advantage of. According to Southern Building Magazine, that may soon change. Performance code development committees formed by the National Institute of Standards and the American Institute of Architects are attempting to develop tools and testing criteria that the designer and code official will need. The committees will attempt to answer these questions. They intend to get input from countries already using performance-based codes, such as Japan, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.

According to Southern Building, 90 percent of new buildings are constructed in areas that have adopted performance-based codes but still are designed and built using prescriptive codes. Because the evaluation process for performance-based codes is highly technical and time-consuming, prescriptive codes will never go away, the article continues. The development of performance-based codes, however, can help modify out-dated codes and give designers more flexibility in designing complex buildings.


The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the International Code Council (ICC) settled a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by ICC against NFPA. The dispute regarded the NFPA’s use of the name “International Electrical Code.”  … The Michigan State Fire Safety Board, Department of Consumer and Industry Services, adopted the 1997 editions of NFPA 1, Fire Prevention Code® and NFPA 101, Life Safety Code ... The Florida Building Commission voted to adopt code measures for the statewide building code, written by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The proposed code requires new buildings to withstand winds up to 120 miles per hour and be equipped with window shutters and impact-resistant glass … The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued its final review of the Inter-national Building Code (IBC), and affirmed that the 1992 and 1998 editions of the ICC Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities constitute “safe harbors” for compliance with HUD’s technical accessibility requirements   … The Vermont Department of Labor and Industry adopted the 1997 editions of NFPA 1, Fire Prevention Code and NFPA Standard for the Protection of Cultural Resources.


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