ICC Hearings Result in Numerous Code Changes
The International Code Council (ICC) hearings were held last week in Rochester,
N.Y., and the council approved numerous changes to the building codes. The code
changes will be published later this year as the 2007 Supplement to the 2006 International
Codes. According to Mike Fischer of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association
(WDMA), some changes that related to residential and commercial door and window
selection and installation include:
- Revisions to the egress door sections of the international residential code
(IRC) clarifies that non-egress required doors are not required to comply with
the dimensional requirements of the egress-required door. Also approved is a clarification
that door thresholds at non-egress required doors (i.e. most patio doors) may
be up to 7-¾ inches above the floor or landing. This revision allows thresholds
of patio doors to be higher than the 1.5-inch limit above the floor or landing
imposed on egress-required doors.
- A change was approved that allows sliding doors in the means of egress in
some projects built under the international building code (IBC) if the occupant
load is 10 or less.
- A revision to installation language requires windows to be flashed and installed
in accordance with the fenestration manufacturer's instructions and installation
instructions must be provided by the fenestration manufacturer for each door and
- In high wind areas, the determination of the exposure category (Exposure B,C
or D), for homes built under the IRC as part of a subdivision or master-planned
community, can be based on the site conditions that will exist when all adjacent
structures have been built. This may allow the initial homes of a development
to be built as Exposure B vs. Exposure C, lowering the design pressure required
for the structure and reducing the cost of construction.
- In hurricane-prone areas, for buildings constructed under the IBC, the use
of wood structural panels such as plywood or oriented strand board for door and
window protection from wind-borne debris was revised to only R-3 and R-4 occupancies
(small adult and child care facilities, small congregate living facilities or
residential care/assisted living facilities). Permanent fasteners are required
to be installed on the building for wood structural panels. This may result in
an increased demand for hurricane shutters and/or impact-resistant doors and windows.
According to Fischer, energy-related changes to the code include:
- Proposals to raise U-factor requirements (i.e. weaken the energy code) in
Northern United States were almost unanimously disapproved, with one exception:
in the IRC, the energy requirements for northern climates were weakened slightly
by removing the area-weighted U-factor maximum limit in Climate Zones 6 through
- Proposals to require significantly-lower solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC)
values in the southern climate zones were defeated. However, in the International
Energy Conservation Code (IECC), maximum fenestration SHGC requirements for climate
zones 1 and 2 in the South were reduced from 0.40 to 0.37 (climate zones 1 and
2 include: Florida, SE Georgia, coastal Alabama and Mississippi, southern-half
of Alabama, southeast-third of Texas, and southwest Arizona).
- Commercial skylights, regardless of glazing material, will now be held to
the same material-neutral U-factor and SHGC performance requirements.
- The proposal for allowing AAMA 507 as an alternative to the National Fenestration
Rating Council (NFRC) was disapproved. NFRC will remain the only accepted certification
program for determining commercial fenestration thermal performance.
- WDMA's proposal to re-introduce material-neutral U-factor requirements in
the IECC commercial energy prescriptive table of vertical fenestration energy
requirements was disapproved.