Volume 7, Issue 8 - September 2006

CODE/CONCERNS

Front and Center
Multitude of Issues Affecting Manufacturers Discussed at ICC Hearings
by Michael Fischer

Whatís the significance of 200? Thatís about the number of code proposals of interest to members of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA), as we follow the I-Code proposals.

The ICC is holding two separate events of importance to WDMA and its members in September. The 2006-2007 ICC Code Development Cycle kicks off in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on September 17 with the ICC Annual Conference and Expo, followed by 10 days of code committee hearings. The code hearings will include debate and action on thousands of proposed modifications to the 2006 I-Codes. Hosted by ICC at the Coronado Springs Resort at Walt Disney World, the conference will also include the ICC annual business meeting and educational sessions.

The WDMA technical committees have reviewed the published proposals and have identified almost 200 code proposals that are of interest to WDMA members. The issues include modifications to both commercial and residential energy code provisions, door and window installation and flashing, balanced fire protection involving sprinkler and height and area tradeoffs, means of egress and safety glazing requirements. 

After the committee hearings, the ICC will publish a report and begin a public comment period. Comments received in response to code committee actions will be considered during final action hearings next May in Rochester, N.Y. The results of the May 2007 hearings will form the basis for the 2007 supplement to the I-Codes. The subsequent code development cycle will then complete the development process of the 2009 I-Codes.

Re-alignment of Committees
WDMA is working to develop positions and strategies for the ICC committee hearings in order to provide the best possible advocacy on behalf of the membership. The code committees have been realigned into exterior and interior product groups. The Exterior Products Code Committee (EPCC) consists of representatives from exterior door, window and skylight manufacturers, while the Interior Products Code Committee (IPCC) represents the interests of manufacturers of interior residential and architectural doors. 

The ICC Code Technology Committee (CTC) was established by the ICC Board of Directors to consider areas of study that require greater attention than is possible during the ICC code development process. The CTC has studied such issues as balanced fire protection, climbable guard requirements and carbon monoxide detectors. After completing a study, the CTC is authorized to submit code proposals to the ICC for consideration during the committee hearings. Although the proposals are submitted in the same manner as those from any other stakeholder, and receive no special procedural attention, the general understanding of the process the CTC uses is evident to committee members and others involved in the process. The next meeting of the CTC is scheduled for September.

Window Safety
During Building Safety Week held in Washington D.C. in May 2006, the ICC Board met and acted to send the issue of window safety to the CTC. The CTC is scheduled to meet in Washington the first week in September and begin the process of developing a project study plan. This study will provide attention to the child window fall and fire safety issues that are important when considering overall building safety. Over the past several code cycles, the issue of child falls from windows and the role windows play in emergency escape and rescue has been debated, but without the benefit of the in-depth consideration of all factors. The ICC process resulted in the implementation of a minimum window sill height requirement in certain conditions in residential occupancies in the 2006 I-Codes, despite the overwhelming lack of supporting data. It is hoped that under the auspices of the CTC, the subject will receive the attention it deserves.

Michael Fischer of the Kellen Company serves as director of codes and regulatory compliance for the Window and Door Manufacturers Association. He may be reached at MFischer@wdma.com.

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