Numerous updates on the International Code Council (ICC) and International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) were discussed during the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA) 2022 Annual Conference held last week. Addressed were proposals regarding window fall prevention, screening, thermal bridging and more.

International Code Council Group B

Jennifer Hatfield, FGIA code consultant and managing member of J. Hatfield & Associates, began the presentation by noting two proposals that were submitted in time for the ICC Group B proposal submission deadline of January 10, 2022. The proposals will be addressed during committee action hearings the week of March 27, with public comment hearings set for the week of September 14 and final actions set to be posted by the end of the year or January 2023.

The first Group B proposal discussed for the International Existing Building Code was in regards to window fall prevention. The proposal, filed jointly with the Window and Door Manufacturers Association, changes titles to properly reflect and address fall prevention devices rather than just Window Opening Control Devices (WOCDs) specifically.

“In the body of each section we clarify that other fall prevention devices and not just WOCDs that comply with ASTM F2090 can be installed,” Hatfield explained. “I want to be clear we are not changing current requirements, but we’re providing clarity and consistency to help the code users and the inspectors.”

Hatfield said the next submitted proposal, which pertains to screening, stems from input from the FGIA Skylight/Sloped Glazing Codes and Regulatory Affairs Committee. She said that proposal takes the best parts of the International Building Code (IBC) and the Florida Building Code (FBC) to make screening language consistent. That proposal entails correcting references in 2405.2, reorganizing section 2405.3 and providing consistent wording for “retention screen” throughout.

“The whole idea with this proposal is to make it easier for the code user to understand when screens are or are not required, and how they apply differently depending on whether it’s monolithic, or multiple layer or both types of glazing,” Hatfield said.

International Energy Conservation Code

The IECC, now updated under a standards development process, includes 48 appointments to the residential committee and 45 to the commercial committee. Hatfield noted that 452 code proposals were submitted with 265 for commercial and 190 for residential. The review process for those proposals will conclude in July 2022. Public comments on those proposals will be accepted starting in August.

Hatfield began by addressing thermal bridging proposals, of which three were submitted and are now being combined. They are CEPI-33, -40 and -45.

“Basically we noted the need for a definition of thermal break, providing the AAMA glossary definition; a need for clarification of metal frame and non-metal; and a need for an exception to make clear requirements here do not apply to curtain wall construction,” Hatfield said. She also noted the definition of thermal break did not end up being included since the matter received clarification elsewhere in the proposal.

Florida Building Code

Hatfield said FGIA has submitted 21 proposals for the development of the Florida Building Code. Those submittals and others will be reviewed by multiple committees in the coming months. In June, Technical Advisory Committees will hear proposals and public comments, with all final recommendations set for consideration in December 2022. The code is set to take effect at the end of 2023.

Regional Update

Effective July 1, 2022, Georgia will adopt the 2018 International Existing Building Code. South Carolina adopted new codes in 2021 that are set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2023. The Texas Law Library has published a list of building codes referenced in Texas, and the Board of Larimer County in Colorado adopted 2021 international codes along with local amendments taking effect March 1, 2022. The 2022 California Energy Code, which improves on 2019 efficiency standards for new construction, and additions to residential and nonresidential buildings, has also been adopted.

Canada

Amy Roberts, FGIA director of Canadian and technical glass operations, told attendees that the National Building Code has adopted benchmarks for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing building efficiencies.

“To date, the central tactic for addressing emissions from Canadian home building has been the introduction of energy efficiency tiers in the National Building Code of Canada, with each of the five tiers representing a significant reduction in energy use for the homes,” she said. “What we can expect in the near future is that there will be a greater emphasis on carbon reductions.”

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and Fenestration Canada are collaborating on a new, continuing educational activity. Roberts said that effort pertains to regulations for windows, doors and skylight products manufactured outside of North America, which are not compatible with Canadian code requirements.

“There’s no recognized way to qualify imported products into Canadian standards without having them actually tested to the Canadian building codes and regulations,” she said. “Fenestration Canada has prepared a document to inform Canadians about the need to verify whether imported products have been qualified for Canadian code compliance before committing to use them.”

The Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes has finished its code-development process for the next edition of the National Building Code of Canada. Roberts said those updates to national model code manuals are expected to be published in the first quarter of 2022.

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