4specs.com    4specs.com Home Page

Has ICC ruined the original goal? Log Out | Topics | Search
Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

4specs Discussion Forum » Archive Coffee Pot and Water Cooler » Has ICC ruined the original goal? « Previous Next »

Author Message
Alan Mays, AIA
Senior Member
Username: amays

Post Number: 110
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Monday, November 05, 2012 - 06:00 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

The original goal of a unified code was to simplify the application of the code without so many different codes to follow. As ICC continues to update their code they seem to make it more difficult to get all the codes into play. It used to be prior to ICC, that when I was the architect, I would just look into the building code for all the architectural requirements. Today, you have to read all the ICC codes to find all the architectural requirements. You now have to look into the IFC, IMC, IPC, Green Code, etc.

Now the states modify their individual codes on top of that. Then the counties and/or the cities make changes on top of the state codes. Finally throw in the mix that we have a federal law requiring us to follow such federal guidelines. ADAAG, FHA, etc.

What I am finding is that there is miscoordination within the different ICC codes as well as within the each specific code. Then on top of that the states butcher the code and add more miscoordination and contradiction on top of that. To go even worse they also can be contradicting to the ADAAG, FHA, and other laws. California has done that with their code. They are in direct conflict with ADAAG in many instances with their modifications. This is the perfect example of the issue. ADAAG was modified in 2010. California issued their IBC 2009 modified code in 2010 with the ADAAG from 1994. Los Angeles issued their modified 2010 CBC in 2011. That has the 1994 ADAAG rules in it. Here in November 2012, I am stuck violating ADAAG 2010 because as of March 15, 2012, I must follow 2010 ADAAG. There are direct conflicts.

On another issue that can interfere is the ICC adoption of NFPA. NFPA is another code written that ICC adopted by requiring certain testing per NFPA. Some states(?) and municipalities also have adopted NFPA. In one place, we must follow IBC, NFPA, IFC, IMC, IPC, ADAAG, and any additional modifications... Have you got a few years to get through those...

Finally, what we are experiencing now that we have never really experienced before is that the cities have lost their knowledge base. What we are discovering is that during this Great Recession cities let go most of their trained code reviewers and we are dealing with young inexperienced reviewers. We had a recent reviewer comment to one of our project managers, that he doesn't review this chapter of the code and you have to talk to a different person or department. The subject matter was on a conflict between the CBC changes that directly conflicted with the IBC that they left in for the same subject matter. The most common words we hear these days are,"you have to talk to my supervisor".

We wonder why the clients are always saying that we are nothing but a roadblock...
Sheldon Wolfe
Senior Member
Username: sheldon_wolfe

Post Number: 597
Registered: 01-2003

Posted on Monday, November 05, 2012 - 09:58 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Add in the growing number of "green" requirements, and the multiple standards issued by ASHRAE, ASTM, and others, and it's a hopeless mess. None of which matters, of course, when you're explaining why you didn't comply with all the applicable regulations.
Dave Metzger
Senior Member
Username: davemetzger

Post Number: 446
Registered: 07-2001
Posted on Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - 12:28 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

And people asked me why I retired......
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 1465
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - 05:30 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I'm not sure that the situation is worse that before, but the complex web of codes is difficult. My experience is that it is often the local jurisdictions that make a mess of things. I think all of the various codes from the ICC are well-coordinated, but to keep it that way the code-adopting jurisdictions need to keep them updated together, and not mess with them too much. And, of course, not all of the codes that the ICC promulgates are necessarily adopted by a particular jurisdiction. I'm not sure that the IGCC has been adopted anywhere yet.

Rhode Island is a mess because they have adopted the IBC statewide, but also adopted NFPA 1 statewide. Obviously, these are not coordinated so conflicts abound. In Massachusetts, after years of heavily revising our state code to suit our own quirks, the Board of Building Regulations and Standards has realized that the fewer modifications, the better. So these are kept to a minimum now. (Unfortunately, the elevator code is one example where we have a byzantine code, but I won't go into that.)

I don't think that the referencing by the IBC to NFPA tests (and ASTM, ANSI, ASCE, AAMA and all the others) is all that bad a practice. Rather than making this stuff up on their own, they at least can rely on more specific standard setting organizations. However, that means to maintain a complete library one has to have quite a budget, especially when practicing in multiple states. And it does mean that it is difficult to track down the provision you want. Makes code consulting a good specialty.
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 1466
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Tuesday, November 06, 2012 - 05:31 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Dave, I retired because of the weirdness and insanity of sustainable certification systems. The heck with performance and durability, just make sure it's made out of wheat grass and bee pollen!

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | Help/Instructions | Program Credits Administration