Building Safety Month has arrived. The annual event celebrates 43 years in 2023 and is hosted by the International Code Council (ICC). The month-long event seeks to raise awareness about building codes and safety issues in commercial and residential buildings.

The month-long event seeks to raise awareness about building codes and safety issues in commercial and residential buildings, including how to adopt sustainable measures at home.

The theme changes each week. The first week’s theme is “Building Safety Starts at Home.” The week highlights preventative measures contributing to occupant health, such as fire protection and sustainability. The overall theme of Building Safety Month reinforces several matters, including the importance of adopting modern building codes for safety, the belief that building safety is everyone’s responsibility and that disaster preparedness saves lives.

“We need to do more to help everyone prepare for and prevent disasters; to promote building safety; and to support our too-often overlooked engineers, construction workers and code enforcement inspectors, who do so much every day to keep Americans safe,” says U.S. President Joe Biden in his proclamation recognizing May as Building Safety Month.

Building codes are continuously evolving, something the glass and glazing industry knows well. For example, deadly hurricanes pushed Florida to adopt the Florida Building Code following Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The state-wide codes mandated new construction be able to withstand hurricane-force winds and feature shutters or impact-resistant glass in all openings. The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, altered how buildings were designed to better plan for potential threats. Climate change and bird deaths have pushed states to pass legislation that updates codes to mandate bird-friendly and photovoltaic glass use on new buildings.

Fires have also changed how building codes are written, which is why the ICC offers educational opportunities for fire safety.

Fire Safety

Fires have altered the way buildings are designed. For example, the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 destroyed more than 17,000 buildings in the city, leading to stringent building codes.

Chicago further cemented its fire-safety building codes in 2019 by adopting the 2018 International Building Code (IBC). The IBC allowed the city to recognize two types of fire-rated glass: fire protection and fire resistance. Diana San Diego, Safti First’s vice president of marketing, told USGNN™ that the IBC outlines how fire-rated glazing will be marked based on testing and where fire-protection glass and fire-resistance glass are allowed, along with its limitations.

“Moving forward, there should be less confusion among architects, building officials and end users on what type of fire-rated glazing should be used for the application because it is clearly outlined in these tables,” she said.


The ICC also offers courses and tips on how to adopt sustainable measures at home. Energy efficiency has been a key talking point for years throughout the glass and glazing industry. Glass companies worldwide are doing their part to move toward carbon neutrality. Dow recently revealed its carbon-neutral silicones for building codes, while NEXT Energy Technologies is testing its energy-harvesting solar windows at Patagonia’s Ventura, Calif., headquarters.

The federal government has even pitched in. The Inflation Reduction Act provided $1 billion to help states and localities adopt building energy codes. It included the Dynamic Glazing Act, which offers a 30% energy tax credit amendment to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 for electrochromic glass. There are also tax credits for solar panels to be made in the U.S. and for ENERGY STAR Most Efficient skylights.

Build Safety Month: Week Two

Week two of Building Safety Month begins on May 8 and highlights building professionals’ roles in keeping facilities safe. This includes courses and videos on how buildings are designed around modern codes.


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