Already Time to Prepare for 2012 Code Changes

Julie Ruth
February 2, 2011
COLUMN : Code Arena | Codes & Standards

The 2012 editions of the International Building Code, the International Residential Code and International Energy Conservation Code will soon be available. The target date for the publication of the 2012 editions of these code books by ICC is May 2011.

An earlier date than in the past, the purpose of publishing the 2012 editions in May 2011 is twofold. One is to correspond with Building Safety Month. Observed by ICC and its members in May of every year, Building Safety Month serves as a reminder of the importance of building and fire safety. ICC also wants to give jurisdictions the opportunity to begin reviewing the next edition of these codes, and possibly begin the adoption process, prior to their actual “effective” date of 2012.

Given the early publication of the 2012 IBC, 2012 IRC and 2012 IECC, it seems likely that we will begin to see enforcement of them in 2012, without the one-year lag usually seen between the publication year of a new edition of the International Codes, and actual enforcement.

To help window and door industry companies prepare for the potential early enforcement of some of the 2012 International Codes, this column provides a brief summary of the requirements of the 2012 IBC and 2012 IRC for fenestration. A summary of the requirements of the 2012 IECC for fenestration was provided in the January/February edition of Window & Door.

Windspeed Maps
One of the more significant changes between the 2009 IRC and IBC, and the 2012 editions actually takes place in a referenced standard. The 2012 IRC and IBC will reference the 2010 edition of ASCE 7 Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures and the design wind speed maps in ASCE 7 have changed dramatically from the 2007 edition to the 2010 edition. The maps are used to calculate the design wind pressure for window,  door and other fenestration products. 

The design wind speed maps in the 2010 edition of ASCE 7 are be based upon ultimate strength design. The previous maps were based upon allowable strength design. It is important to note that this change should not require a change in the way we test windows and doors. There has been some confusion on this issue. What has changed is simply the method used to measure required performance.

Similar to addressing both English and metric units of measurement in the industry's own standards, this change may require our industry to engage in an education program to help builders, code officials, architects, etc. understand how to apply the two different systems of measurement. AAMA will be reviewing this in further detail over the next few months.

Product Labeling
The 2012 IRC and IBC will require exterior windows and sliding doors to be tested and labeled for compliance with the 2011 edition of AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440 NAFS North American Fenestration Standard for Windows, Doors and Skylights. The label is to provide the name of the manufacturer, the performance characteristics (IRC) or product designation (IBC) of the fenestration product, and the name of the third party inspection agency responsible for the labeling of the product. Both the laboratory testing the product, and the agency responsible for its labeling, must be approved by the code official.

Exterior window and door assemblies that are not within the scope of AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440 are to be tested in accordance with ASTM E330, and the glass designed in accordance with ASTM E1300. Manufacturers of side hinged doors that fall within the scope of AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440 have the option of having them tested and labeled in accordance with that standard, or tested in accordance with ASTM E330, with the glass designed in accordance with ASTM E2112.

The 2012 IBC will also require analysis by a registered design professional to ensure adequacy of design for framing that supports glass and deflects more than 1/175 of the glass edge length. This additional analysis is not required for fenestration products that are tested and labeled in accordance with AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440. It will also not be required by the 2012 IRC. The IRC is limited in application to one- and two-family homes and townhouses no more than three stories in height.

Installation
The 2012 IRC will require windows and doors to be installed in accordance with the fenestration manufacturer’s written installation instructions. Flashing at exterior window and door openings is to be installed in accordance with the fenestration manufacturer’s installation instructions, the flashing design or method of a registered design profession, or by other methods approved by the code official. If installation instructions for the specific application have not been provided by the fenestration manufacturer, then the opening is to be flashed in accordance with the flashing manufacturer’s instructions. If flashing details for the specific application have not been provided by either manufacturer, then pan flashing that is sloped or sealed in such a manner as to direct water to the surface of the exterior wall finish or the water resistive barrier is to be used, with the head and sides of the opening also protected with flashing. Self-adhered membranes installed as flashing shall comply with AAMA 711.

The 2012 IBC will not be nearly as specific with regards to the requirements for flashing a window or door. It will simply require that windows and doors be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation instructions that have been approved by the code official.

Sill Heights and WOCDs

Finally, both the 2012 IRC and IBC will require the sill of operable windows to be a certain distance from the interior floor when they are more than 72 inches above the exterior grade or surface below the window. In the 2012 IRC that minimum sill height will be 24 inches, while the minimum sill height will be 36 inches in the 2012 IBC.

Both the 2012 IRC and IBC will provide an exception to the minimum sill height for windows that do not open more than 4 inches, or for windows that are equipped with window opening control devices that comply with ASTM F2090. WOCDs are designed to limit the initial opening of the window to no more than 4 inches, but have a secondary latch that releases with no more than 15 pounds force. Once the secondary latch is released the window can be opened to a greater dimension.

The 2012 IBC will also provide an exception to the minimum sill height requirement for operable windows that are more than 75 feet above exterior grade, when such windows are equipped with window guards that comply with ASTM F2006. These window guards do not have a secondary release mechanism. They are intended for installation solely on windows that are not required to be emergency escape and rescue openings.

Code Arena is brought to you by the America Architectural Manufacturers Association. Julie Ruth may be reached through AAMA at 847/303-5664 or via e-mail at julruth@aol.com.