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Nov 14 2017

WWYD? IBC Changes

I’m working on some code change proposals for the 2021 edition of the International Building Code (IBC), along with the other members of the BHMA Codes & Government Affairs Committee.  This is our big chance to propose some changes to the IBC, to help make it easier to interpret and to address new developments in products or technologies, or new safety issues that have arisen.

For example, the 2015 edition of the IBC prohibits delayed egress locks in assembly, educational, and high-hazard occupancies, but there are two applications where delayed egress locks may be helpful in solving a problem – courtrooms where emergency egress doors lead into areas that are not normally accessible to the public, and classrooms in schools where elopement is a concern.  Proposals were made to modify the 2015 IBC and allow delayed egress locks in specific locations.  After much discussion and input from stakeholders, the 2018 IBC includes exceptions in Section 1010.1.9.8 which allow delayed egress locks to be used in:

  • Group E classrooms with an occupant load of less than 50 people, and
  • Courtrooms in sprinklered buildings, except for the main exit or exit access door

See how that works?  Here’s another example.  Prior to the 2015 edition, there was a section in the IBC called Access Controlled Egress Doors, and there was a lot of confusion about whether that section applied to all doors with access control readers (it doesn’t).  In the 2015 edition, the title of this section was changed to Sensor Release of Electrically Locked Egress Doors, to make it clear that this section applies to electrified locks released by a sensor.  There was another section called Electromagnetically Locked Egress Doors, and in the 2018 IBC this was changed to Door Hardware Release of Electrically Locked Egress Doors to clarify that this section applies to electrified locks released by a switch in the door-mounted hardware.

So, what’s your least-favorite section of the IBC (confusion often indicates an opportunity for change)?  Which sections are “grey areas”, or result in variable interpretations?  Are there new products or security problems that would benefit from a possible code change?  Don’t wait around for code changes to happen – let’s get involved!

What’s on your code-change wish list?  WWYD?

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11 Responses to “WWYD? IBC Changes”

  1. Scott Straton says:

    I have read your post on smoke barrier, smoke partition, rated, etc. on what doors need to latch, close or have seals. Nonetheless it is still quite confusing.

    • Lori says:

      You’re right – that’s a tough one. Most of the info is in the model codes and it’s pretty consistent between the IBC and NFPA 101, but I’ll take another look at it.

      – Lori

  2. Cda says:

    I am not a code writer.

    Is there anyway to combine or simplify some of the security door locking sections?

    For the sensor release section, eliminate the “push button” requirement and add some type of approved door hardware. I do not understand how the push button has survived for so long.

    Please add a ban of the term “Fire” exit. All required exits are just that exits.

    • Lori says:

      Hi Charles –

      I think it’s mostly the media that uses the term “fire exit.” I think the problem with the electrified hardware sections is that people try to apply more than one section to a particular door and usually that’s not necessary. The push button is required as a back-up release method when an electrified lock is unlocked by a sensor that detects an approaching occupant. When a lock is released by a switch in the door-mounted hardware, that application is covered in a separate section and the push button is not required.

      I know it’s confusing but I’ll bet you know more than the average AHJ about it.

      – Lori

  3. Adam says:

    Would be nice to get the whole electric-strikes-on-fire-doors thing sorted out in one neat place. I appreciate your write up lending clarity to that where it is currently missing.

    • Lori says:

      Hi Adam –

      Do you think it would be helpful to have something in the IBC stating that electric strikes used on fire door assemblies must be fail secure?

      – Lori

  4. Daniel Poehler says:

    My greatest sense of confusion is in the use of motion sensors with egress doors. Is there or is there not a second means of over-riding the lock required?

    • Lori says:

      Hi Dan –

      When an electrified lock is unlocked by a sensor that detects an approaching occupant, the lock must also be unlocked by a push button beside the door, by activation of the fire alarm, and by loss of power.

      When an electrified lock is unlocked by a switch in door-mounted hardware, the lock must also be unlocked by loss of power (but not a push button or the fire alarm).

      When an electrified lock doesn’t require separate release devices/methods and allows free egress by turning the lever or pushing the touchpad of the panic hardware (like most electromechanical locks, electrified panic hardware, electric strikes), the lock is not required to be unlocked by any of the other means (sensor, switch, auxiliary push button, fire alarm, loss of power).

      Here’s an article about this:

      – Lori

  5. Dwight Havens says:

    Actually, I will work on a proposal or two in areas that have caused me consternation and angst. When does it need to be submitted by?

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