ICC Works to Improve Standards for Resilient Building

November 6th, 2019 by Kyra Thompson

 

As the costs for post-disaster rebuilds continue to mound, the International Code Council (ICC) is collaborating with the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) to develop a portfolio of “Consensus Standards” relevant to a wide range of hazards. Proposed standards address how modern residential construction withstands incidents of high wind, seismic activity, tsunamis and wildfires—including through doors and windows.

According to the ICC’s director of standards, Karl Aittaniemi, the committee’s goal includes developing practices that are “above and beyond” codes, that can be easily adopted by local officials.

“In other words, a means for a better way to build which may help a higher percentage of the building remain standing or usable to provide shelter or re-build quicker for those locations that wish to do so,” Aittaniemi tells [DWM].

Every three years, the ICC examines and presents updates and improvements to current building codes that are presented to local and state governments who independently adopt the standards to be enforced in their municipalities.

The first task addressed by the committee includes updates to the standards for construction in high-wind regions (ICC 600) using the 2014 version as a base for creating the update. The update will address resistant design construction details aimed at ensuring structural integrity in areas that are prone to hazards like hurricanes/typhoons, tornados and severe thunderstorms. This includes “prescriptive details” for doors and windows, among other building components. According to Aittaniemi, the committee is scheduled to complete its ICC 600 update on December 1, 2020.

Other efforts include the development of comprehensive standards to specify enhanced prescriptive methodologies for wildfire (ICC 605), seismic (ICC 610), and tsunami (ICC 615) resistant design and construction details. All three updates include specification and enhancement of prescriptive details for doors and windows, among other building components, to improve the ability to “continue to be usable and reduce rebuilding time,” in the case of a hazardous event.

“Resiliency is an important factor relative to a building’s response to extreme events,” Aittaniemi wrote, further stressing the importance of each improved standard to the increased safety and efficiency of homes in areas prone to hazardous conditions.

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