Answering the FAQs on the 2009 International Codes

Julie Ruth
June 1, 2009
COLUMN : Code Arena | Codes & Standards

The 2009 edition of the International Codes is now available. The debut of a new edition of the I-codes usually sparks a flurry of questions about content and enforcement. It is timely therefore to devote this column to the most frequently asked questions and their answers:

  • Is the 2008 edition of AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440 referenced in the 2009 I-codes?
  • When the phrase “I-codes” is used, to what is that referring?
    The phrase “I-codes” refers to the family of model construction codes that are published by the International Code Council. The more formal and appropriate name for these publications are “The International Codes published by the International Code Council.” There are 14 in total, but many of them, such as the International Private Sewage Disposal Code, are not relevant to fenestration. The three I-codes most relevant to fenestration are the International Residential Code or IRC, which covers one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses three stories or less in height; the International Building Code or IBC, which covers all other buildings and certain other structures; and the International Energy Conservation Code, which also covers all buildings.
  • Is the 2008 edition of AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440 referenced by all the 2009 I-codes?
    The 2008 edition of AAMA/WDAM/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440 are referenced by all three 2009 I-codes– the IRC, IBC and IECC–that previously referenced the standard.
  • What do the 2009 I-codes require with regards to AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440-08?
    The 2009 IRC and the 2009 IBC require all windows, unit skylights and sliding doors to be tested and labeled through a third-party certification program to AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440-08. The 2006 IRC and 2006 IBC had the same requirement with regards to the 2005 edition of AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440.

    The 2009 IECC requires the same products to be tested for air leakage in accordance with AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440-08, as the 2006 IECC did for the 2005 edition of AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440.
  • Do the 2009 I-codes include an exemption to the 24-inch minimum window sill height requirement for windows that are equipped with window opening control devices (WOCDs) that comply with the 2008 edition of ASTM F2090?
    No. There is an exception in the 2009 IRC for windows with an initial opening size limited by a control device, but it will be for windows that are equipped with window opening limiting devices (WOLDs) that comply with the provisions of the 2009 IRC. The 2008 revision of ASTM F2090 to include provisions for WOCD was not completed in time for it to be referenced in the 2009 International Codes.
  • What are the requirements for window opening limiting devices that are given in the 2009 IRC?
    The 2009 IRC requires the following for WOLDs:
    ► Release of the WOLD shall require no more than 15 lbf (66 N) of force
    ► The device shall operate properly in all types of weather
    ► The device shall not reduce the minimum net clear opening area of the window unit below what is required by the emergency escape and rescue provisions of the IRC
    ► The release mechanisms for the device shall be clearly identified for proper use in an emergency.
  • Is this exception also contained in the 2009 IBC?
  • Will there be further debate on this?
    Yes. Although the requirements for the 2009 I-codes are finalized and cannot be changed at this point, development of the 2012 I-codes has begun. Possible proposals for the 2012 I-Codes include bringing an exception to the minimum sill height requirement for windows equipped with WOLD or WOCD into the IBC, referencing the 2008 or later edition of ASTM F2090 for WOCD in both the IRC and IBC, and increasing the minimum sill height requirement from 24 inches to 36 inches or higher.
  • Are the provisions of the 2009 I-codes currently being enforced?
    As of this writing, I am not aware of any jurisdictions that are enforcing the 2009 I-codes.
  • When will the 2009 I-codes begin to be enforced in any significant manner?
    Usually it takes about a year or so for enforcement of new model codes to begin. The fact that funds for adoption and enforcement of the 2009 IECC are included in the Federal stimulus package might cause it to happen sooner in some jurisdictions.

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