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!