Significant changes to the 2018 International Residential Code
The 2018 Significant Changes guides are available for the International Building, Residential, Fire, Plumbing, Mechanical and Fuel Gas Codes. This valuable series can help any code user save time by zeroing in on the most critical changes in the 2018 International Codes. The Code Council’s technical experts provide summaries, analysis and graphics for these changes making them clear and easy to understand.
2018 International Residential Code
An addition to Section R322.214.171.124 (Solar Panels near emergency escape and Rescue openings) states that rooftop-mounted photovoltaic solar energy panels and modules are not permitted to be installed directly below emergency escape and rescue openings.
As covered in Section R310, an emergency escape and rescue opening is required in every bedroom, basement and habitable attic to provide occupants a way out of the dwelling in case fire, smoke or other emergency blocks the means of egress path. The code also provides minimum net dimensions for the escape opening as well as operational criteria for windows and coverings. To ensure a path from the escape opening to a public way or yard that opens to a public way, the International Residential Code spells out window well and area well requirements and requires a path not less than 36 inches high when the opening is under a deck or porch. Similarly, new language in the photovoltaic solar energy provisions is concerned with providing a safe path for the occupant climbing out of an emergency escape and rescue opening that is above a roof. Installing a photovoltaic solar panel below the escape opening would cause an unsafe condition in an emergency situation. The required clear path must be at least 36 inches wide to provide emergency escape from the roof as well as emergency access to the roof as stated in Section R324.6.
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