When I started increasing my focus on the code requirements that affect our industry, I looked forward to receiving the new editions of the model codes and standards, so I could page through them and find out what was new.  While this approach is a bit more proactive than finding out about a code change when the code official points out a problem on the job-site, waiting for someone else to make a change can take years.

The model codes are modified and updated using a consensus process, where individuals and organizations can propose code changes.  These changes are reviewed by the technical committees and other stakeholders, and there are several opportunities for public comment and modification of the proposals.  Depending on the perspective of the person or group submitting the proposal, there may not be enough detail when the change addresses door hardware.

Because the codes pertaining to doors and hardware are often difficult to understand for anyone who is not involved in the industry, requirements that are unclear could remain unchanged for several editions of the code or standard.  This can lead to inconsistent interpretation and confusion in the field – as we have often seen with the code sections addressing access control systems and electrified hardware.

The Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) Codes and Government Affairs Committee (CGA) was created in order to take a more active role in code development.  The committee has been quite active in the ICC code development process for several code development cycles, and in collaboration with many other stakeholders, has helped revise and update the I-Codes regarding door-related means of egress requirements.  BHMA has also been involved with the NFPA codes and standards development for several decades.

Through the work of this committee, our industry has leveraged many opportunities to clarify and improve the model codes and standards that have the most impact on door openings.  The BHMA CGA was even allowed to provide input to help improve the Commentary for the 2015 International Building Code, to clarify many of the requirements in the code sections addressing electrified hardware.

At the upcoming DHI conNextions conference in May, several members of the BHMA Codes and Government Affairs Committee will hold a panel discussion about recent and upcoming code changes that our industry needs to be aware of.  The panelists include:

  • Mark J. Berger – President, Securitech Group, Inc. & Chair, BHMA Codes & Government Affairs Committee
  • Lori Greene, DAHC/CDC, CCPR, FDAI, FDHI – Manager – Codes & Resources, Allegion
  • Kurt Roeper, Director – Industry Affairs, Codes & Standards, ASSA ABLOY
  • John Woestman – Codes and Regulatory Manager, Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association

During this panel discussion, we’ll address changes that will be made to the 2018 model codes including the International Building Code (IBC), International Fire Code (IFC), and NFPA 101.  We’ll also cover some of the changes to the 2015 editions of the model codes, which many jurisdictions have recently adopted or are in the process of adopting.

Did you know?

  • The requirements for classroom security have been strengthened and clarified in the 2018 model codes.
  • There are two types of opening protectives addressed by the current codes and standards – fire-protection-rated and fire-resistance-rated – each with different testing requirements.
  • Annual fire door assembly inspections are now being enforced for some types of facilities?
  • Certain types of healthcare units can now have egress doors that are locked in the direction of egress to help prevent elopement.
  • Requirements for delayed egress locks have changed, and a change to the 2018 IBC will allow delayed egress locks to be used in educational occupancies.
  • Some components used in certain types of access control systems are required to be listed to UL 294 – Standard for Access Control System Units.
  • There are different requirements for electromagnetic locks released by a sensor vs. electromagnetic locks released by door-mounted hardware.
  • The requirements for double-egress pairs in health-care smoke barriers have now been clarified.
  • Beginning with the 2015 edition of the IBC, storm shelters are mandatory for certain types of buildings located in an area that covers all or a portion of 22 US states.
  • The criteria for mandatory panic hardware on rooms housing electrical equipment have changed.

If you have specific questions or topics you’d like to hear about in this panel discussion, you can submit them to me by email at lori.greene@allegion.com (note “code panel” in the subject).  If you are unable to attend the session, I will be covering some of these changes in future Decoded columns.

Graphic: iQoncept / shutterstock.com

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