ICC Hearings Yield Few Fenestration Changes

April 24th, 2018 by Trey Barrineau

The International Code Council (ICC) held its annual Committee Action Hearings for the Group A codes last week in Columbus, OH, and there were no significant changes enacted to existing fenestration standards. And while this year’s event was quiet, one codes expert who was in attendance told DWM that won’t be the case next year.

“Next year is the big year,” said Jeff Inks, the senior vice president for advocacy with the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA). “We’ll have a slew of issues.”

That’s because ICC will be dealing with updates to the energy requirements in the Group B codes.

“There may not be any changes to the International Residential Code (IRC) or the International Building Code (IBC) in terms of structural performance requirements, but there will almost certainly be a number of changes to the energy efficiency requirements,” Inks said. “We can expect that. So there could be some pretty noteworthy issues.”

Inks said this year’s hearings produced just a couple of proposals regarding fenestration.

“It was a fairly innocuous hearing,” he said. “It didn’t result in any changes to the fenestration requirements.”

The ICC Building Code Action Committee submitted 11 proposals to harmonize requirements between the IBC and the IRC for emergency escape and rescue openings. They were all editorial and did not result in any substantive changes, Inks said.

Two other proposals had the potential to affect the industry, but they didn’t pass.

One sought to remove the sill height requirements for when window fall protection is required. This proposal would have required fall protection for nearly all operable windows in multifamily construction above the first floor.

Another was a proposal to remove the ASTM standards for window opening control devices from the code and instead require screens or guards. WDMA argued that it would have been a significant reduction in safety.

“Neither one of them really had a chance,” Inks said.

The 2019 Committee Action Hearings for the Group B codes will be held April 28 – May 8, 2019 at the Albuquerque Convention Center in New Mexico.


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