Approved IBC Proposal Clarifies Language for Skylights and Retention Screens

The public comment portion of the International Code Council hearings are underway in Las Vegas, and USGNN™ is monitoring the code hearings as they take place through Wednesday. Changes to a proposal clarifying the use of skylights and retention screens, as proposed by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), were approved as modified by the public comment to S190-19.

This International Building Code (IBC) section applies to installation of glass and other transparent, translucent or opaque glazing materials installed at a slope of more than 15 degrees from the vertical plane, including glazing materials in skylights, roofs and sloped walls.

Current code language explaining when screens are required below unit skylights and sloped glazing, has been difficult for users to interpret. They are incorrectly told they need to install a glass retention screen below conforming (30-mil interlayer) laminated glass, according to AAMA. Skylight and sloped glazing system manufacturers are often asked to intervene to ensure that unsightly, unnecessary screens ― which decrease daylighting ― are not installed in these instances.

In testifying on behalf of AAMA, Jennifer Hatfield said the public comment to the proposed code change clearly states that laminated glass with 30-mil interlayer does not require screens.

“Calling that out more clearly in section 2405.2 should reduce the frequency of code misinterpretations,” Hatfield said.

In other action, to reduce redundancy in code language, AAMA proposed a change to S191-19 that would have removed a line in Section 2405.2 ― the sloped glazing section ― pointing code users instead to Section 2110.1 for glass-block construction requirements. The line also exists in the safety glazing section of the Code, which AMAA members felt was a more applicable location. Public comment hearing voters opted to keep current language intact and disapproved the S191-19 proposal. However, “keeping the line intact in Section 2405.2 won’t impact the skylight and sloped glazing industry,” Hatfield said.

“Earning approval on the more significant proposal, S190-19, will make it easier to determine when screens are and are not required below skylights,” said AAMA codes and regulatory affairs manager Kathy Krafka Harkema. “That’s a big improvement for code enforcement officials, those who construct and occupy buildings, and the skylight industry.”

“Approval of S190-19 also aligns with another AAMA code proposal, RB83-19, that passed on the consent agenda for the International Residential Code, accomplishing the same clarification,” Hatfield said.

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1 Response to Approved IBC Proposal Clarifies Language for Skylights and Retention Screens

  1. It’s always good to understand the code intent, when trying to interpret. In this case, the code is preventing glass from falling on occupants below in case of glass breakage. Laminated glass will keep the glass pieces together should a lite shatter.

    Though not required, to my knowledge, another safety measure to consider would be to structurally adhere the glass to the frame. Even if the system being used, is not an SSG system, structurally sealing the glass inside the glazing pocket will add as additional protection in ensuring the glass remains in the frame should it break.

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