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Fire & Life Safety: Firefighter and Public Safety in the Built Environment

In July 2014, the ICC board of directors decided to sunset the activities of the Code Technology Committee by reassigning many its areas of study to applicable CACs. Items assigned to the Fire-CAC include IBC Chapter 7 issues, such as labeling of fire-rated glazing, unenclosed stairways, qualification for fire inspectors and frequency of building inspections for fire-code compliance.

The Fire-CAC was appointed by the ICC board of directors to review the 2015 I-Codes and develop code-change proposals for the next edition (2018 I-Codes) for any matters of concern to the fire service. The CAC reviewed the fire-safety chapters in the International Building Code, the entire International Fire Code, the International Wildland-Urban Interface Code and the International Performance Code.

The Fire-CAC roster includes ICC members from the IAFC's Fire & Life Safety Section executive board, the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM), National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and other fire service representatives, building officials and industry-code experts.

The CAC generated 15 code-change proposals for the 2018 International Building Code, as well as several other changes to the International Building Code and International Property Maintenance Code in cooperation with the Building-CAC. These changes address:

  • Cooking safety requirements in institutional occupancies
  • Timing of stair installation in buildings under construction
  • Construction requirements for fire-pump rooms
  • Maintenance requirements for smoke alarms and carbon-monoxide detectors

The Fire-CAC was assisted by four regional work groups (RWGs) during 2014. These RWGs include fire service representatives from the IAFC divisions, NASFM, NVFC and members appointed by ICC. The RWGs submit recommended code changes based on regional issues of concern and address specific topics assigned by the Fire-CAC.

The CAC met three times in 2014 and will meet three more times in 2015 to see their Group A code development cycle proposals all the way through the code development process and to develop Group B cycle proposals for the International Fire Code. Here are issues the CAC plans to address with code-change proposals in 2015 include:

  • Potential conflicts with security-lockdown plans and fire evacuation
  • College labs and hazmat requirements
  • Requirements related to high-rise combustible (wood) structures and cross-laminated timber
  • OSHA Haz-Com requirements; classification of flammable liquids
  • Cooking in I-2 – cooktop safety technology
  • Requirements for smoke alarms and carbon-monoxide detection
  • Fire inspector qualifications and inspection frequency
  • Combustible dust and reference to various NFPA standards
  • Retroactive requirements for fire-sprinkler systems
  • Fire-sprinkler requirements in S-1Self-storage facilities
  • Fire protection in vacant buildings
  • Fire protection for historic buildings
  • Safety for rooftop-assembly occupancies
  • Rewrite of International Fire Code Chapter 32: High-piled Combustible Storage
  • Fireworks requirements and reference to NFPA 1124
  • Requirements for liquid carbon-dioxide soda systems
  • Requirements for outdoor stages and other temporary structures
  • Requirements for tents, trade shows and special events
  • Requirements for outdoor idle-pallet storage

If you have ideas about how to improve the model I-Codes, reach out to your organization or state representatives on the Fire-CAC or Fire-RWGs and get involved!

We hope you'll participate in the ICC Annual Conference and Public Comment Hearings in Long Beach, Calif., September 30 to October 7. Information about the conference and code hearings is available on the ICC website.

Your participation in the code development process at the state and national level is the best way to improve safety in your work environment: buildings that catch fire or require an emergency response. See you in Long Beach!

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