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September - October 2003


Fasten Your Seatbelt!
ICC's Code Cycle is Underway 
by Michael Fischer

The International Codes Council (ICC) held its 2003/2004 International Code Cycle Code Development Hearings in June. (Results were unavailable at press time.) The 2003 editions of the I-Codes were still fresh from the printer when the deadline for submittals to this next cycle arrived. The 2003/2004 cycle is a supplemental cycle, and the first in the new 18-month format adopted by the ICC. The subsequent cycle will lead to the 2006 publications. With this next cycle being the only opportunity between printings to float proposals, code proposal activity is expected to be fast and furious. 

Following are a few of the key issues facing the industry:

Fire-rated glazing assemblies. A number of code proposals affecting interior fire door manufacturers are in the hearing monograph, including clarifications to test methods that incorporate artificial bottom seals and further restrictions or prohibitions on the use of wired glass.
Fire-rated glazing assembly labeling. Two proposals would alter labeling requirements for fire door manufacturers that use glazing in their products.

Window installation and flashing requirements. The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) has submitted a proposal to add a reference to ASTM E 2112 “Standard Practice for the Installation of Exterior Windows, Doors 
and Skylights” as a means of providing installation detail in the International Building 
Code (IBC) and International Residential Code (IRC).

Window safety. Separate proposals for the IBC and IRC would set minimum sill heights for windows elevated above grade. This issue is a repeat of the last code cycle, during which similar proposals were defeated. Members of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) have serious concerns about any measure that will create the potential of an adverse effect on emergency escape and rescue from sleeping rooms. Proponents of sill height restrictions believe such limits will improve child fall safety, but fail to provide any meaningful data to support their contention. This issue has been discussed for years in various code congresses and has been defeated each time it has been proposed. 

Sunrooms. Several proposals related to definitions and exceptions for sunrooms as well as a reference to a new document that provides specifications for sunroom additions which is jointly published by the National Sunroom Association, National Patio and Enclosure Association and AAMA. The document is undergoing a revision cycle, and the code proposals are being studied.

Opening protection. A proposal submitted by the Institute for Business and Home Safety would eliminate the option of designing structures as partially enclosed instead of protecting openings from windborne debris. Other proposals would broaden the test methods available for exterior openings to include Miami-Dade protocols.

Urban Wildland Interface (UWI). A UWI code proposal includes a requirement that exterior glazed openings or window assemblies be designed to prevent fire and ember penetration into the structure, and adds a requirement that any sealants used in these assemblies be fire-resistant. The proposal fails to provide any test method or performance measure for either the window assembly or the sealants. The WDMA is committed to issues important to overall window safety and will be working with the proponent to better understand the actual intent of the proposal. 

WDMA building code and regulatory committees for both the window and door divisions have been active over the summer in researching the effect of these and many other issues included in the 2003/2004 ICC Code Development Cycle. We will continue to work to help ensure the safety of the built environment. 

Michael Fischer serves as director of codes and regulatory compliance for the Window and Door Manufacturers Association, based in Des Plaines, Ill.


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