Volume 38, Issue 8, August 2003

Code Compliant
Reviewing the Changes in the 2003 IBC Affecting the Glass Industry
by Ellen Giard Chilcoat

In February of this year the three-year code-review cycle required for the International Code Council (ICC) culminated with the publication of the 2003 International Building Code (IBC). The new IBC was developed by the ICC, a blended organization resulting from the merger of the Building Officials and Code Administrators, the International Conference of Building Officials and the Southern Building Code Conference International. 

Danger Zones
The following list details locations considered hazardous by the International Code Council as noted in the 2003 International Building Code. 

• Glazing in swinging doors (except jalousies);

• Glazing in fixed and sliding panels of sliding door assemblies and panels in sliding and bi-fold closet doors and assemblies;

• Glazing in storm doors;

• Glazing in unframed swinging doors;

• Glazing in doors and enclosures for hot tubs, whirlpools, saunas, steam rooms, bathtubs and showers. The glazing enclosing any of these where its bottom exposed edge is less than 60 inches above a standing surface; and

• Glazing in an individual fixed or operable panel adjacent to a door where the nearest exposed edge of the glazing is within a 24-inch arc of … the door’s vertical edge in a closed position and where the bottom exposed edge of the glazing is less than 60 inches above the walking surface.

According to Gretchen Hesbacher, the ICC’s corporate communications coordinator, its codes are developed through a government consensus process. The general public, not just building owners or paid members, can submit code changes or contest code changes. Committees then review the code change proposals. Four committees make up the IBC: fire safety, general, means of egress and structural. Committees are made up of specialists in the industry, such as architects, engineers, etc. Final code votes are made by members only.

The IBC, however, is not automatically required or enforced by building code officials; it has to be adopted by a jurisdiction, be it state, local, county, etc. 

“It depends on the state’s requirements,” said Hesbacher. “[In terms of codes] Texas, for example, is local on some and statewide on others. It depends on what codes the state uses. We [the ICC] write the code; we don’t endorse it. That depends on the local jurisdiction. They are the ones who endorse it.”

Hesbacher continued, “The goal is public safety. These are minimum standards that are safe—as long as the product equals the minimum standard it’s OK.”

Since the code-creation process is a lengthy one, and the code itself is long, the adoption process isn’t always a quick one. For example, there are still jurisdictions adopting the 2000 IBC. To date, 45 states, the Department of Defense, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico use a version of the IBC.

2003 IBC
With the publication of the 2003 IBC, a number of changes affecting the glazing industry specifically were included.

“Our goal is to have all codes, especially the IBC, include the technical advances that will save lives, reduce property loss and ensure public safety,” said Hesbacher.

The sections of the IBC pertaining to the glass industry include: unit skylights (section 2405.5); safety glazing (section 2406); glass in handrails and guards (section 2407); glazing in athletic facilities (section 2408); and glass in floors and sidewalks (section 2409). Also pertinent to the glazing industry, section 1609 focuses on wind loads. Other sections may also affect some projects, but most fall under the areas above.

Overhead Glazing
In addressing unit skylights, the 2003 IBC entails design provisions for single- lite, factory-assembled skylights. 

“A separate rating system for positive and negative pressure on skylights allows the manufacturer to design and fabricate products that are best suited for the climate in which they will be used, rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach,” said Alan Carr, secretariat of the IBC-Structural Committee. 

Safety Glazing in Hazardous Locations
Within the 2003 IBC’s safety glazing category, Carr said three notable changes were made.
The first change addresses the use of wired glass in hazardous locations (see sidebar on page 50 for a listing of locations deemed hazardous by the ICC).

“For [2406.1.2] glazing installed in hazardous locations, the option to use wired glass meeting ANSI Z97.1 in fire doors, fire windows and view panels of fire-resistant rated walls is limited to exclude Group E occupancies (educational facilities up to the 12th grade with six or more occupants and daycare facilities with five or more children older than 2 ½ years),” said Carr. “In other words, wired glass may not be used in hazardous locations in Group E unless it complies with CPSC 16 CFR 1201. In locations not considered hazardous, the code does not restrict the use of wired glass.” (See December 2002 USGlass, page 18, for related article.)

Handrails and Guards
The IBC also addresses glazing in handrails and guards. According to Carr, the new IBC’s second notable change falls in this section [2407.1].

“The option to use wired glass complying with ANSI Z97.1 for glazing used in railing in fill panels has been removed,” said Carr.

The code requires that glass used in such applications be either single, fully tempered, laminated fully tempered or laminated heat-strengthened. Both fully tempered and laminated glass are required to comply with Category II of CPSC 16 CFR 1201.

Glazing in Athletic Facilities
The third major IBC change concerning glass involves its usage in gymnasiums and basketball courts. The locations now require safety glazing to be Category II according to CPSC 16 CFR 1201.

Seismic Applications
In addition to the preceding changes, the 2003 IBC includes language relevant to seismic applications (2404.1). 

“In buildings that are classified as Seismic Design Category D, E or F, glazed partitions, glazed storefronts and glazed curtainwall must be capable of withstanding the relative seismic displacements between the points of attachment to the supporting structures,” said Carr. “The referenced ASCE 7 provision requires that the drift causing fallout be determined in accordance with AAMA 501.6 Recommended Dynamic Test Method for Determining the Seismic Drift Causing Glass Fallout from a Wall System.”

Hurricanes and Windloads
While the 2003 IBC does not address hurricane glazing specifically, it does cover requirements for hurricane-prone areas. These areas are defined by the 2003 IBC to include:

• The U.S. Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico coasts where the basic wind speed is greater than 90 mph; and

• Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands and American Samoa.

The code defines wind-borne debris regions as those areas within the hurricane-prone regions that are within one mile of the coastal mean high-water line where the basic wind speed is 110 mph or greater; where the basic wind speed is 120 mph or greater; or Hawaii. Section 1609.1.4 states “buildings structures and parts thereof shall be designed to withstand the minimum loads prescribed herein.”

“This section does not require that openings be protected from wind-borne debris,” said Carr. “It does require that either the glazing areas be treated as openings in the wind analysis of the building or that wind-borne debris protection be provided. The presence of openings in the building envelope can have a significant effect on the magnitude of the total wind pressure required to be resisted by the building’s structure.”

Carr added that once a decision is made to protect the openings from wind-borne debris, either impact-resistant glazing (i.e., laminated glass) can be used or the glazing can be protected by an impact-resistant covering, such as shutters.

“In either of these cases, testing in accordance with an approved impact-resistant standard is necessary,” added Carr.

The section states that glazed openings located within 30 feet of grade shall meet the requirements of the ASTM E 1996 large missile test, and glazed openings located more than 30 feet above grade shall meet requirements of the ASTM E 1996 small missile test.

Future Progress
The IBC, however, is a living, dynamic document. In fact, according to Hesbacher, the code never ends.

Green:  One of more International Codes currently enforced statewide.
Orange:  One of more
International Codes currently enforced within state at local levels.
Purple:  Adopted statewide with future enforcement date.

“It is a constant, living, breathing code,” she said. “It is updated so technology is reflected.”
Since its publication earlier this year, the code continues. The 2003/2004 code development hearings will take place in September in Nashville. After that, a public-hearings report will take place in November. A public comment deadline is set for January 2004, followed by the availability of a final action agenda in April 2004, final action hearings in May 2004 and the publication of the 2004 supplement next August. Proposals and submittals will be received that same month, as work will continue on the 2006 IBC. 


Ellen Giard Chilcoat
Ellen Giard Chilcoat
is the editor of USGlass magazine.

Braving the Storm
     Coastal Markets Offer Opportunities for Glazing Professionals
by Anne Cook

State of Florida Wind-Borne Debris Region & Basic Wind Speed. Since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the use of impact-resistant glass for window protection has been accepted increasingly as an alternative to storm protection systems such as shutters, plywood and even taping windows. Through a ten-year series of complicated legislative tug-of-wars, the use of impact-resistant glazing systems finally appears to be firmly entrenched in the marketplace. A number of key factors has helped attract laminators, window and door manufacturers and other glazing professionals to this marketplace.

The adoption of ASCE 7 structural provisions into minimum building codes, for example, was one of the major factors contributing to the rising popularity of impact-resistant glazing systems. This standard, among other things, requires structures within the 110-mph wind speed zone or higher, to be designed either as partially enclosed or fully enclosed to withstand a wind event. If the architect designs the building to be fully enclosed, then all exterior windows and doors must be protected from flying debris. (Partially enclosed structures are designed to “let the storm in,” where the windows are sacrificial and the overall structure is strengthened.) 

In addition, companies such as Solutia Inc. have worked with the insurance industry over the past two years to get insurance underwriters to recognize that impact-resistant laminated glass systems are a passive (meaning always in place) means of protection and should be considered for a premium discount against the wind portion of their policy. Today, Florida insurance companies must offer some type of discount for homes equipped with hurricane protection, whether it is laminated glass systems or other code-approved forms of protection.

Many of the hurricane-prone states are also adopting the International Building and Residential Codes, which reference ASCE 7, according to Nanette McElman of the Institute for Business Home Safety. Consequently, these codes allow for both partially enclosed and fully enclosed designs in high wind zones, as Florida does. However, the Texas Department of Insurance has modified the International Building and Residential Codes to remove the partially enclosed option, which means that all structures built within their jurisdiction must have opening protection.
North and South Carolina, Texas, Long Island, N.Y., and Virginia are considered to be the next hot spots for market growth. These states were expected to have [adopted] the International Family of Codes in effect by July 2003, if not before. Efforts are underway to convince Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi to adopt and enforce a mandatory building code along their coastal areas. This would capture important coastal markets, including New Orleans, Mobile, Ala., and Biloxi, Miss. 

Hurricane Floyd threatened the entire Atlantic Coast in 1999, sparking the largest civilian mass evacuation in history. The gridlock occurring from this evacuation has made local and state emergency managers rethink evacuation procedures. 

Although emergency evacuation procedures are the responsibility of local emergency managers, the trend is becoming clear that only people who live in the storm surge zone and people in mobile homes will be encouraged to evacuate in the future, according to officials in the Florida Department of Emergency Management. With the threat of the next big one ever-present, glazing industry professionals will have all the ammunition they need to continue to develop impact-resistant window systems that can protect lives and property.

Anne Cook is the architectural marketing manager for Solutia Inc. of St Louis.


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