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Summary Results of the April/May 2012 ICC Building Code Hearings The International Code Council (ICC) recently held the first round of public hearings for the 2015 model codes in Dallas. This document highlights key outcomes of interest to apartment firms. In a break with past practice, the ICC has split the 15 I-Codes into three groups, with different timetables for each. NMHC/NAA’s efforts in this first round, the Group A hearings, focused primarily on the International Building Code (IBC). Final votes on the Group A codes take place in October, but they will not be published for local adoption until 2015 when the Group B and Group C codes are also completed. For more information on the ICC code development process, including the timeline for Group B codes, visit NMHC/NAA’s new Building Codes Toolkit at www.nmhc.org/goto/ICC-Codes or www.naahq.org/governmentaffairs/Pages/default.aspx. Favorable Code Decisions 

An NMHC/NAA-opposed proposal to require firefighter breathing air replenishment systems in all new buildings taller than 120 feet and in all existing high-rise buildings without sprinklers was defeated. Instead, fire service representatives and others agreed to work with NMHC/NAA to develop related provisions for the code appendix. Placing them in the appendix allows the local jurisdiction to elect whether to require compliance.

The IBC chapter that limits building heights and areas, Chapter Five, was rewritten to accommodate the benefits buildings achieve by including sprinklers. The revisions include new tables that eliminate the need to separately calculate sprinkler incentives, thus making it much easier to determine allowable building height and area.

A provision to clarify the means of egress, signage and separation required for elevator lobbies was approved. The revised provision clearly states that a single elevator lobby of not less than 150 square feet and a minimum dimension of eight feet can serve multiple fire service elevators.

Chapter 34 (Existing Structures) was deleted from the IBC. As a result, existing buildings will be regulated by the International Existing Building Code (IEBC). This change eliminates conflicts between the two documents.

A change was approved to allow replacement windows to be installed in existing emergency escape openings as long the replacements are the largest standard window that will fit within the existing frame or existing rough opening.


An NMHC/NAA-opposed proposal to require properties up to 75 feet high and with sprinklers to comply with elevator lobby requirements was defeated; the current code includes an exemption for these properties.

An NMHC/NAA-opposed proposal to require properties in areas with wind speed greater than 115 mph to include storm shelters was defeated.

An NMHC/NAA-opposed proposal to require the installation of radon reducing measures in properties in high radon areas was defeated.

An NMHC/NAA-opposed proposal to prohibit the area above the ceiling in corridors to be used as a means for HVAC return air was defeated.

An NMHC/NAA-opposed proposal to require accessible parking for every apartment unit instead of the 2 percent now required was defeated.

An NMHC/NAA-opposed proposal to require leak monitoring system for gas and water in all buildings (including individual apartments) that would turn off the source if a leak was detected was defeated.

An NMHC/NAA-opposed proposal to require floor drains in all kitchens and bathrooms was defeated.

An NMHC/NAA-opposed proposal to require water submetering in all apartments was defeated.

An NMHC/NAA-opposed proposal to require mechanical ventilation in all apartments was defeated as was a second that would have required the mechanical ventilation to comply with the ASHRAE 62.1 and 62.2 ventilation standards.

An NMHC/NAA-opposed proposal to require makeup air to replace the air discharged by dryer vents was defeated.

An NMHC/NAA-opposed proposal to require pressure testing of all building duct systems was defeated.

An NMHC/NAA-opposed proposal to require townhouses to be accessible was defeated.

An NMHC/NAA-opposed proposal to require two-story apartments in multistory buildings to provide all of the accessible features on the floor accessed from the building elevator was defeated. This would include bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms.

An NMHC/NAA-opposed proposal to create a new appendix for resilient construction that would have required buildings to be constructed out of masonry was defeated. Unfavorable Code Decisions

A proposal was approved to require developers to prevent the interior side of gypsum wallboard used in an exterior wall from being penetrated when foam plastic insulation is used.


NMHC/NAA will submit comments expressing concerns with the proposal, namely that it offers no clear path for compliance and instead leaves it up to local building code officials to determine. 

Proposals by NMHC/NAA and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) to base dwelling unit accessibility requirements for existing buildings and those that have had a change in occupancy type on the Fair Housing Accessibility Guidelines (FHAG) was rejected. The current code imposes accessibility requirements that exceed the FHAG. More specifically, the code excludes conditions similar to FHAG’s provision exempting buildings constructed before the Fair Housing Act accessibility requirements went into effect and buildings with a change of occupancy.


Summary Results of the April/May 2012 ICC Building Code Hearings