ICC Hearings Result in Numerous Code Changes
The International Code Council (ICC) hearings were held last week
in Rochester, N.Y., and the council approved numerous changes to
the building codes. The code changes will be published later this
year as the 2007 Supplement to the 2006 International Codes. According
to Mike Fischer of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association
(WDMA), some changes that related to residential and commercial
door and window selection and installation include:
- Revisions to the egress door sections of the international
residential code (IRC) clarifies that non-egress required doors
are not required to comply with the dimensional requirements of
the egress-required door. Also approved is a clarification that
door thresholds at non-egress required doors (i.e. most patio
doors) may be up to 7-¾ inches above the floor or landing. This
revision allows the threshold of patio doors to be higher than
the 1.5-inch limit above the floor or landing imposed on egress-required
- A change to allow sliding doors in the means of egress in some
projects built under the international building code (IBC) if
the occupant load is 10 or less was approved.
- A revision to installation language requires windows to be flashed
and installed in accordance with the fenestration manufacturer's
instructions, and that installation instructions must be provided
by the fenestration manufacturer for each door and window. · In
high wind areas, the determination of the exposure category (Exposure
B,C or D) for homes built under the IRC as part of a subdivision
or master-planned community can be based on the site conditions
that will exist when all adjacent structures have been built.
This may allow the initial homes of a development to be built
as Exposure B vs. Exposure C, lowering the design pressure required
for the structure and reducing the cost of construction.
- In hurricane-prone areas, for buildings constructed under the
IBC, the use of wood structural panels such as plywood or oriented
strand board for door and window protection from wind-borne debris
was revised to only R-3 and R-4 occupancies (small adult and child
care facilities, small congregate living facilities or residential
care/assisted living facilities). Permanent fasteners are required
to be installed on the building for the wood structural panels.
This may result in higher demand for hurricane shutters and/or
impact-resistant doors and windows.
According to Fischer, energy-related changes to the code include:
- Proposals to raise U-factors requirements (i.e. weaken the
energy code) in Northern United States were almost unanimously
disapproved. One exception: in the IRC, the energy requirements
for northern climates were weakened slightly by removing the area-weighted
U-factor maximum limit in Climate Zones 6 through 8.
- Proposals to require significantly-lower solar heat gain coefficient
(SHGC) values in the southern climate zones were defeated. However,
in the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), maximum
fenestration SHGC requirements for climate zones 1 and 2 in the
South were reduced from 0.40 to 0.37 (climate zones 1 and 2 include
Florida, SE Georgia, coastal Alabama and Mississippi, southern-half
of Alabama, southeast one-third of Texas, and southwest Arizona).
- Commercial skylights, regardless of glazing material, will now
be held to the same material-neutral U-factor and SHGC performance
- The proposal for allowing AAMA 507 as an alternative to the
National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) was disapproved. NFRC
will remain the only accepted certification program for determining
commercial fenestration thermal performance
- WDMA's proposal to re-introduce material-neutral U-factor requirements
in the IECC commercial energy prescriptive table of vertical fenestration
energy requirements was disapproved.