Interruption in the Cycle

System glitches alter ICC code development path for 2016
Julie Ruth
March 13, 2016
COLUMN : Code Arena | Codes & Standards

State and local jurisdiction adoption and enforcement of the 2015 International Building Code, 2015 International Residential Code and 2015 International Energy Conservation Code continues to grow. As of press time, the International Code Council website reports that the 2015 IBC is being enforced either statewide or locally in five states, and the 2015 IRC and 2015 IECC in three states.

At the same time, as code development activities begin to build steam in 2016, the ICC finds itself in a rather unique situation. Normally, Group A proposals would have been concluded in 2015, Group B proposals would be in development now and Group C proposals would not begin until 2017. Instead of having just published new editions of the International Codes and continuing normal development of Group A, Group B and Group C codes, the ICC finds itself involved in multiple code development activities at the same time.

Complicating Factors

First, the nonstructural provisions of the 2018 IBC (ICC Group A), which were originally scheduled to be finalized in October 2015, were pushed out to March 2016 due to a glitch in the electronic voting system. Approximately two-thirds of the votes taken had to be reconsidered, and developing a system to fairly and accurately reconsider the votes involved in the glitch took some time.

Ultimately, the ICC developed a two-step process to reconsider the votes involved in the voting glitch. Voting on the items that needed reconsideration was limited to only those governmental member representatives who had been issued electronic voting devices at the 2015 Public Comment Hearings.

Step one was to replicate the votes taken on the Committee Action. The vote made by the committee during the Committee Action Hearings in April 2015 was the standing motion on each proposal going into the PCH. A simple majority of those voting was needed to uphold the Committee Action. This vote took place in late January 2016.

Step two was to replicate the votes taken on any Allowable Motions based upon the Committee Action votes. Only those motions that were brought forward during the Public Comment Hearings were eligible for consideration on this ballot. This vote occurred in February 2016.

Upon the completion of this two-step process, an Online Governmental Consensus vote was taken of all the eligible representatives of governmental members. The options available to the voter were either Approve a Proposal as Submitted or as Modified via Committee Action or Public Comment; or Disapprove the Proposal. At press time, the Online Governmental Consensus Vote was to be completed in March 2016.

During the same time period, the normal ICC Group B cycle began. Code change proposals for Group B were submitted in January and posted in early March 2016. The ICC Group B codes include the structural provisions of the IBC, as well as the IRC and IECC. These code change proposals will be considered by the respective ICC Code Change Committees during the ICC Group B Committee Action Hearings being held *April 17–27, 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Group B proposals submitted for consideration can be viewed at iccsafe.org.)

Lastly, ICC is working to merge the IgCC with ASHRAE 189.1 Standard for High Performance Green Buildings. Normally, changes to the IgCC would be considered as Group C and would not start until the third year of the ICC code development cycle (which would have been in 2017). However, due to the merger, a comparison between IgCC and ASHRAE 189.1 has already been made and proposed changes based on existing provisions of the 2015 IgCC have been submitted. These proposed changes are currently under consideration by the ASHRAE 189.1 committee. These activities will continue through 2016 and 2017.

The 2018 code cycle will certainly keep code representatives and interested parties on their toes during the next two years.

*Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect a change in the schedule for the ICC Group B Committee Action Hearings. Due to the high volume of code change proposals received, the length of the hearings was extended.

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.