The Washington State Building Code Council's executive committee, at its meeting
in Spokane on Friday, June 10, voted to implement an emergency rule to prohibit
the use of polished wired glass in hazardous locations in all new building construction
in the state.
The emergency rule by the executive committee on Code Change IBC 2406.1.2 will
be in effect for 120 days, by which time permanent rule-making is expected to
The code change proposal was brought forward by Greg Abel of Advocates for
Safe Glass of Eugene, Ore. He said he took the action because a number of schools
are being built and renovated now before the wired glass ban is put into effect
by the code change.
Washington is the first state in the nation to adopt the new model code by
"Advocates for Safe Glass will continue to be a strong presence on this
issue as we educate school districts and industry professionals on the new building
code standards, as well as to provide assistance in addressing existing applications
of wired glass," said Abel.
Thirteen-year-old Zach Darmanin of Bellingham, Wash., and his grandparents,
Alice and Anthony Darmanin, joined Abel in presenting testimony to the council.
Zach was rollerblading at Silver Beach Elementary School last year and impacted
an exterior door containing wired glass. He suffered nerve, tendon, artery and
muscle damage to both arms and his chest.
Steve Nuttall, the local government fire services official for the city of
Bellevue and a member of the Washington State Building Code Council who supported
the motion to adopt the emergency rule, stated, "I feel that we as a committee
have a rare opportunity to perform the duties we were enlisted to do, that of
The council's agenda and minutes can be found on its Web site www.sbcc.wa.gov.
Abel formed Advocates for Safe Glass (www.safeglass.org) after his son, Jarred,
was seriously injured when his hand impacted wired glass while playing basketball
in a University of Oregon gymnasium in January 2001.
Shortly thereafter, Abel joined forces with Oregon State Senator Vicki Walker
to force the wired glass manufacturers to meet the same safety standards as all
other architectural glazing products. They worked with code officials, members
of Congress and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to bring awareness
to this issue and to advocate for glass safety. They were successful in securing
support from the International Code Council (ICC), the regulatory body who oversees
the development and implementation of the International Building Code (IBC).
Oregon became the first state in the nation to adopt the 2003 code change that
eliminated wired glass in educational occupancies and athletic facilities. It
also became the first state to advocate for a code change for all other occupancies.
The ICC overwhelmingly voted to restrict the use of wired glass in hazardous
locations in all buildings at its Overland Park, Kan., meeting on May 19, 2004.
The matter was appealed by the wired glass industry, but the vote was upheld by
the ICC board of directors in September of 2004. The code change will now become
a part of the IBC to be adopted by states in the 2006 code cycle.
Abel said that he plans to meet soon in Washington, D.C. with representatives
from Oregon and California as well as Washington state to discuss wired glass
use between now and the next code cycle.