Calif. Officials Change Minds, Pick ICC Codes

Special to CONTRACTOR SACRAMENTO, CALIF. The California Building Standards Commission voted in mid-March to rescind its July 29, 2003, decision by an 8-2 vote to select the National Fire Protection Associations NFPA 5000 as Californias next building code. Other codes included in the decision to rescind were the NFPA 1 Fire Code and the International Code Councils International Residential Code. The

Special to CONTRACTOR

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. — The California Building Standards Commission voted in mid-March to rescind its July 29, 2003, decision by an 8-2 vote to select the National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 5000 as California’s next building code. Other codes included in the decision to rescind were the NFPA 1 Fire Code and the International Code Council’s International Residential Code.

The Building Standards Commission’s action followed a unanimous 7-0 recommendation issued March 8 by the commission’s coordinating council, made up of the state’s code-writing agencies.

The commission’s action now allows state agencies to move forward with the adoption of the ICC’s International Building Code, the International Fire Code and the International Residential Code, also know as the I-Codes. The I-Codes were supported by more than 500 private and nonprofit entities, including the American Institute of Architects, California Council; The California Building Industry Association; the California Building Officials; and the Structural Engineers Association of California.

The changes will not affect the Uniform Plumbing Code and Uniform Mechanical Code from the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials.

“Of course, our plumbing and mechanical codes are still the codes chosen for California,” Jay Peters, senior director of codes and education for IAPMO, told CONTRACTOR.

State agencies will now begin the process of advancing proposed code amendments back to the Building Standards Commission for approval, a process that is estimated to take two years. This approach is consistent with how California has adopted building codes in the past and provides state agencies the discretion to use the I-Codes noted as base documents for state amendment.

“Today’s decision sets a course that will help ensure the highest level of building and fire safety in places where Californians live, work and play,” said James Lee Witt, CEO of the ICC. “We applaud the California Building Standards Commission for undertaking a detailed analysis of the codes and making public safety interests its first priority.”

The ICC has extensive experience working with California state and local government agencies. The Uniform Codes used in California are the predecessors of the I-Codes, according to the ICC. The ICC’s 100-plus employees at offices in Sacramento and Whittier, Calif., provide technical, training, certification and other support services.

The American Institute of Architects, California Council noted that the IBC is adopted and enforced in 44 states at the federal, state and local levels. The U.S. Department of Defense, Department of State, Department of Commerce, Department of Housing and Urban Development, GSA and National Parks Service also use the IBC.

The architects’ California Council represents 10,000 architects and allied professionals in the state. Founded in 1944, the AIACC is the largest component of the national AIA organization.