ICC Moving to Allow Remote Voting

Julie Ruth
May 7, 2012
COLUMN : Code Arena | Codes & Standards

The International Code Council Group A hearings concluded this week, with the organization making plans to allow remote voting in coming code change cycles. The hearings also saw votes on a number of American Architectural Manufacturers Association proposals covering such matters as threshold heights, wind load provisions and flashing.

The ICC has established a goal of fully implementing remote voting in time for the development of the 2018 International Codes. It will begin with a pilot remote voting program in 2014 for the development of the 2015 International Green Construction Code.

“The ICC process has been an evolving process since its inception," observed Wally Bailey, a past ICC president and chair of the committee leading the project, in a presentation at the meetings. "We should not shy away from further changes that will allow our members to more fully participate in the ICC code development process.”

Remote voting is designed to permit active code officials to vote on code change proposals without having to attend the hearings at which they are being considered. A number of questions remain as to just how the program will work, but further details on these evolving changes will be discussed in future columns.

Patio Door Thresholds
The hearings, held in Dallas, saw approval of an AAMA proposal to permit the threshold of doors to decks, balconies and patios that serve Type B dwelling units to be up to 4¾ inches higher than the exterior floor or landing. Currently, the threshold of these doors is limited to ½ inch in height above the adjacent floor for swinging doors, or ¾ inch for sliding doors. Although the ½ or ¾ inch limit is intended to be applied to the interior floor, in some cases code officials apply it to the exterior floor. These types of exterior floors are permitted to be up to 4 inches lower than the interior floor.

The approved proposal permits a higher threshold at these doors, as can be accommodated between the lower floor and the higher floor. The threshold will still be limited to no more than ½ or ¾ inch above the interior floor, depending upon whether the door is swinging or sliding. A slope of two units horizontal vs. one unit horizontal will also still be required if the change in height between the threshold and the adjacent floor is greater than ¼ inch.

WOCDs on Replacement Windows
A proposal to require window opening control devices for certain replacement windows in existing one- and two-family and multifamily dwelling units was also approved. The WOCDs would only be required if the entire unit (glass, sash and frame) is being replaced and the opening is such that WOCDs would be required in new construction. Specifically, this occurs when the opening is within 36 inches of the floor, more than 72 inches above the exterior grade below, opens more than 4 inches and is not equipped with window guards.

Coordinating Changes to ASCE 7-10 Approved
AAMA proposals to coordinate the 2015 International Building Code with recent changes to the wind load provisions of ASCE 7 were approved. One proposal clarifies that allowable stress design wind load is to be used in the application of AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440, ASTM E330 and ANSI/DASMA 108 in the IBC. The second one modifies the glass design load equations of Chapter 24 for consistency with the allowable stress equations of Chapter 16. At the present time, states such as Florida which are adopting the 2012 IBC are needing to add these coordinating changes via amendment to that document. With these changes occurring in the 2015 IBC, local jurisdictions will not need to make them via amendment to the code when they adopt it.

Tubular Daylighting Devices
An AAMA proposal to recognize tubular daylighting devices (TDDs) as a type of skylight and sloped glazing, and establish the structural load requirements for them, was also approved. TDDs will be required to be tested and labeled in accordance with AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440, as are unit skylights, exterior windows and sliding doors.

Disapproved Proposals
The Dallas hearings saw the disapproval of some proposals submitted or supported by AAMA. Among these were a proposal that would have limited the current deflection exemption of the IBC, a proposal that would have expanded the comparative analysis provisions of the IBC for fenestration, and a proposal to add reference to AAMA 711 and AAMA 714 to the IBC.

One of the disapproved proposals would have limited the application of the current deflection exemption to fenestration products in buildings of Risk Category I or II, with design pressures that did not exceed 60 psf, or fully glazed with tempered or laminated glass. Currently the IBC requires engineering analysis when framing supporting glass deflects more than 1/175 of the length of glass edge supported. An exemption is provided, however, for products tested and labeled in accordance with AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440.

In previous cycles, the Glazing Industry Code Committee and the Aluminum Extruders Council have sought removal of the exemption. AAMA and WDMA have argued, effectively, that maintaining the exemption was consistent with the IRC. The IRC does not limit the deflection of framing supporting glass. Buildings built under the IRC have shown a significant reduction in failure rates when subjected to extreme wind events.

The proposal by AAMA was offered as a compromise between the premise of GICC and AEC, that the exemption should be removed completely, and the premise of WDMA that no limits should be placed on the exemption.

The comparative analysis proposal would have expanded current provisions to allow windows larger than those already rated in accordance with AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440 to be rated to a lower design pressure using engineering analysis only, without requiring additional testing of the larger unit. Use of engineering analysis would have been based upon all components of the larger unit being identical to those of the unit that was rated.

Unfortunately for the sealant and flashing industries, a decision rendered during the ICC Group A Hearings was the disapproval of AAMA 711 and AAMA 714. Representatives of EIFS Industry Manufacturers Association spoke against the proposal at the hearings, questioning the status of AAMA’s standards development process as being an open and consensus process. ICC rules requires referenced standards to be “developed in an open and consensus process, such as ASTM or ANSI.”

The representatives of EIMA claimed that “no EIFS manufacturer” had participated in the development of AAMA 711 and AAMA 714 standard. In actuality, seven members of EIMA are also members of AAMA, and five of those members participated in the balloting of AAMA 711 and AAMA 714. 

AAMA maintains, of course, that it employs a standards development process that meets the ICC criteria.  Members will determine the organization's next course of action regards to the disapproval of AAMA 711 and AAMA 714 at the upcoming AAMA Summer Conference, scheduled for June in Oak Brook, Ill.


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.