Volume 37, Issue 6, June 2002


Important Code Updates
            Report from the ICC’s Code Hearings
by Michael J. Pfeiffer

On April 8-19, 2002, the International Code Council® (ICC®) held its code-development hearings for the 2002 code-development cycle on proposed changes to the 2000 editions of the International Codes® in Pittsburgh. The following is a recap of the 2002 ICC code-development hearings.

ICC Background and Processes
The ICC code development process is the mechanism by which the family of International Codes is updated. The 2002 cycle was initiated with the submittal of code changes, due November 15, 2001. Any and all interested parties are afforded the opportunity to submit a proposed revision to the International Codes. The code development hearing is the second phase in the process. This will be followed by the public comment period, currently in process, where anyone can submit a public comment in response to the actions taken by the committee on a given proposal. Public comments are due on July 3, 2002. This is followed by a second hearing at the 2002 Codes Forum-Joint Annual Conference on September 29-October 4, 2002, in Fort Worth, Texas. The final disposition on all code changes will be decided by a vote of the eligible governmental members of the three statutory members of the ICC: Building Officials and Code Administrators International Inc. (BOCA); International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO); and Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) at the conference. The results of the 2002 code-development cycle will be compiled with the 2002 accumulative supplement to the International Codes, resulting in the 2003 editions of the International Codes, will be available in early 2003. Instructions for submitting a public comment and details on the Joint Annual Conference can be found on ICC's website at www.intlcode.org. The full text of the code changes listed below (i.e., FS 43 - 02), as well as the published reasons for the committee's action, can be downloaded from ICC's website. These documents are titled the "2002 Code Development Cycle Proposed Changes" and "2002 Report of the Public Hearing," respectively.

Fire Safety 
Approved code changes FS43-02 and FS 56-02 clarify that fire-resistance-rated glazing need not be labeled as a fire-protection-rated glazing product. Fire-resistant-rated glazing (IBC Section 714.3.8) is glazing that is tested in accordance with ASTM E119 as part of a fire-resistance-rated wall assembly and not as an opening protective in accordance with NFPA 257 or NFPA 80. As such, all that is necessary to demonstrate code compliance is documentation that indicates the glazed assembly has been tested to the more restrictive parameters of ASTM E119, no differently than any other fire-resistance-rated wall assembly.

Section 714.2.3 of the IBC requires doors in rated corridors to have a fire-protection rating of 20 minutes and glazing material used in sidelites and transoms to be tested in accordance with NFPA 257, including the hose-stream test, for a fire-protection rating of 45 minutes as part of the wall. Submitted code change FS48-02 proposed an exception to this requirement to allow a 20-minute test in accordance with NFPA 252 without the hose stream where the sidelites/transoms are of limited size. Specifically, the proposal suggested that sidelites limited to a width of 24 inches on either side of a door and transoms above the sidelites be permitted as an exception to the 45-minute requirement. The committee denied the code change based on the premise that the sidelites should not be tested to the door standards but rather should be tested no differently than other windows within a wall assembly, as is required by the current text.

Nonsymmetrical fire-protection-rated glazing assemblies, such as those with a coating or film on one side, are not dealt with explicitly in the IBC. Since the wall that they are located in is required to be rated from both sides, common sense would dictate that since the glazed assembly is not symmetrical, there is really no way of knowing if the material on one side of the assembly would adversely affect the rating. Approved code change FS55-02 introduced a new section in the IBC (Section 714.3.2) to require testing from both sides on such assemblies.

Wired Glass
The permitted use of polished wired glass used as safety glazing in hazardous locations (IBC Section 2406.1: Exception 1) has been the subject of code changes over the last two code -development cycles. (See May 2002 USGlass, page 58.) The code changes proposed the removal of the exception which allows wired glass which passes ANSI Z97.1 to be used in fire-rated assemblies, such as doors, in lieu of the general requirement that safety glazing is required to meet the more restrictive CPSC 16 CFR 1201 test standard. As a result of this perennial set of code changes, the ICC board of directors established an ad hoc committee, comprised of code officials and representatives of the glazing industry and manufacturers to study this issue. 

The establishment of a committee allowed all interested and affected parties to document their positions and discuss the issue in an open forum, without the time constraints associated with a hearing. The charge of the ad hoc committee primarily was to evaluate the current exception for wired glass.

Based on the documentation presented to the ad hoc committee, the committee determined that the injury records demonstrate that wired glass in hazardous locations in educational occupancies (schools through the twelfth grade) present a risk of injury that is not found in other occupancies. This was the basis for approved code change S187-02, which prohibits wired glass in hazardous locations in Group E occupancies, unless the glazing can meet the CPSC test standard. An unrelated change was also submitted, S188-02, which proposed the deletion of the exception for wired glass in all occupancies. Code change S188-02 was disapproved.

The IBC currently includes general loading parameters for sloped glazing in Section 2404.2, based on dead, wind and snow loads. However, the critical load on a skylight will also depend on the climate in which it is installed. Approved code change S186-02 added provisions to the IBC that are unique to individual skylights. These provisions include a reference to a new standard, NAFS 1-00, titled “Voluntary Performance Specification for Windows, Skylights and Glass Doors.” 

This standard establishes performance requirements for skylights that include air leakage and water infiltration in combination with design loads for wind and snow. These load combinations include skylights acting under positive design pressures (dead, snow and wind loads acting toward the face of the skylight) and negative pressures (wind loads acting away from the face of the skylight and pulling up on the roof and skylight).

Next Step
The next step in the ICC code-development process allows anyone who disagrees with the committee’s decision on a given code change to submit a comment. 


Michael J. Pfeiffer, P.E., serves as vice president of codes and standards for the Building Officials Code Administrators International Inc., which is a statutory member of the International Code Council.


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