Fire-Rated Glazing Council Shares IBC Updates

During the fire-rated glazing council meeting last week at the Glass Association of North America’s (GANA) Annual Conference at the Coronado Island Marriott Resort and Spa in San Diego, Thomas Zaremba, GANA’s code consultant, provided an update on the 2012 International Building Code (IBC), including the latest changes and proposals affecting the glass and glazing industry.

Zaremba reviewed several code chapters, including those affecting IBC Chapter 10 for schools. One proposal would have added fire-rated corridors to already-sprinklered E-occupancies. According to Zaremba, the proposal stemmed from a statistic that more than 6,000 fires occur annually in schools, causing 85 or more injuries compared to other non-residential occupancies but also more than $100 million in property damage. While the Glazing Industry Code Committee (GICC) submitted a public comment in favor of the proposal, ultimately it was disapproved.

Speaking of IBC Chapter 7 on fire safety, Zaremba said a code change proposal was approved that will provide a consistent sequence for testing ASTM E119 rated glazing when it is used in temperature rise fire doors tested to NFPA 252. This change will be a part of the 2015 IBC.

While Chapter 7: Fire Safety – Section 703.4 became a part of the IBC in 2012, GANA’s Fire Code Action Committee (FCAC) proposed that it be deleted from the 2015 IBC.

“This section of the code prohibits the use of sprinklers or other automatic suppression devices in testing for the fire-resistance ratings of construction materials, specifically, glazing,” said Zaremba.

The section was created to reverse an acceptance criteria (AC) adopted by ICC-ES (AC385) that allowed special sprinkler heads to wet glass and secure a two-hour fire-resistance wall rating, according to Zaremba; the IBC withdrew the AC385 provision shortly after this section was adopted.

Zaremba also noted the latest code development cycle started on January 3, 2013. One proposal the FCAC is submitting for the next cycle would either require all high-rise buildings to be retrofit with sprinklers or that they undergo a written engineering assessment providing evidence that the passive protections in the building provide the life safety equivalent to an automatic suppression system.

The Adhoc Health Care Committee will also submit proposals to eliminate fire-rated corridors upon approval of the authority having jurisdiction upon retrofitting hospitals with sprinklers. The IBC Code Technical Committee also will submit a proposal for the same result in nursing home facilities, said Zaremba.

GANA’s annual conference wrapped up on Friday. Visit www.usglassmag.com for more news from the event.

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