Work Starting on 2015 International Codes

Julie Ruth
May 1, 2012
COLUMN : Code Arena | Codes & Standards

The International Code Council begins its first set of code development hearings for the 2015 editions of its codes this month in Dallas. The ICC Group A codes to be covered include the International Building Code.  Group B codes, including the International Residential Code, the International Energy Conservation Code and the International Green Construction Code will be addressed later.

IBC Responding to Green
Despite the fact that work on the IECC and IgCC begins later, their influence on the entire ICC family of codes is quite evident in many of the proposals submitted for Group A consideration. The impact on the IBC is apparent in several code change proposals that will be heard by the IBC Fire Safety Committee. 

First, greater use of combustibles–such as foam plastics and water and vapor barriers–is being addressed by some code change proponents (FS147-FS149 and FS158-FS160). Fire safety is also the concern addressed in a proposal that would require Class A roofing around skylights abutting vegetated roofing systems (G98). A similar proposal would require a Class B burning brand test on all skylights installed on Class A, B or C roofs (FS197).

Provisions for tubular daylighting devices would be added by three proposals. The definition of TDDs that has been approved in the IRC and IECC would be added by an AAMA proposal (S176) that also clarifies the requirements for TDDS. A new type of product, sunlight delivery systems, would be introduced to the IBC by the other two (S302 and S303).

The IBC fire safety committee will also consider a proposal to add reference to AAMA 711 and AAMA 714 to the IBC (FS161) along with other proposals to revise the weather protection of exterior walls requirements (FS144 and FS145).

The IBC general committee will consider two proposals to replace the long standing criteria for natural ventilation of a building with requirements for “engineered natural ventilation” or mechanical ventilation systems (G150 and G151). Currently the IBC requires either mechanical ventilation or natural ventilation by wall openings equal to 4 percent of the floor area ventilated. These proposals respond to new requirements in the IECC and IgCC to tighten the air leakage of the building envelope.

Existing exceptions to compliance with the IECC would be added to Chapter 34 of the IBC for existing buildings by two separate proposals (G208 and G209). One of them adds a new exception for the installation of window film over existing glass. Replacement of glass in a window without requiring the new glass to comply with the requirements of the IBC for new construction would be permitted by another proposal (G226). Greenhouses that are designed and used primarily for the cultivation, maintenance, or protection of plants would be exempt from the IECC by a similar proposal (G199).

Finally, the IBC structural committee will consider proposals to address straw bale construction in the IBC (S313-S316). These proposals generate the question. How do you flash a window in straw bale construction?

Structural Design Proposals
There are a few code change proposals of potential interest to our industry that are not related to energy conservation or green construction. Some seek to address glitches that occurred when the design wind speed model was changed from allowable stress to strength design in the 2010 edition of ASCE 7-10. These proposals clarify that allowable stress design loads are to be applied to glass design and other standards, including AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440-11 (S78, S98, S173 and S295).

Another requires a top rail to be used in lieu of a hand rail or guard rail on glass guard systems (S299). Adding a standard for design of glass walkways would be accomplished by another (S301).

All exterior doors, except overhead doors, would be required to be tested and labeled in accordance with AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440 by one AAMA proposal (S172). The comparative analysis provisions of Section 1710.5 would be expanded to include units larger than those tested by another AAMA proposal (S174).

At the present time, the IBC requires a P.E.-stamped analysis ensuring safe design when framing that supports glass deflects more than 1/175 of the length of glass edge supported under design load. An exception is provided for products that are tested and labeled in accordance with AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440-11. This exception would be limited to products in Risk Category I or II buildings where the required design pressure is less than 60 psf, or all the glass is tempered or laminated, by an AAMA proposal (S339).

A similar proposal by GICC would apply to products in Risk Category I and II buildings (S175). These limits roughly correspond to products in residences built under the IRC. The IRC does not contain the requirement for PE analysis of framing that deflects more than L/175 that is contained within the IBC.

Window opening control devices would be required by a proposal from the ICC code technology committee, when the entire window (sash and frame) is replaced in an existing building, and a WOCD would be required if the opening were in new construction (G225).

Type B dwelling units are those that are to be “visitable” by persons with disabilities. Their application is fairly wide spread within the IBC. For example, in an apartment building with more than 4 units, every unit must meet the criteria for a Type B dwelling unit.

The thresholds of balcony doors serving Type B dwelling units would be permitted to be up to 4¾ inches above the exterior deck or balcony for sliding doors, or 4½ inches above the exterior deck or balcony for swinging doors, by an AAMA proposal (E60). The fact that although these exterior decks or balconies are considered part of the Type B dwelling unit and therefore have to be accessible, the doors serving these spaces do not have to meet the criteria for accessible entry doors, would be clarified by another proposal (G185). Since these doors do not have to meet the criteria for accessible entry doors, they do not have to be openable with no more than a 5 pound force.


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