ICC Improves Gas Purge Safety, Eliminates ICC 700 from IGCC, Votes on Energy-Related Code Changes
Members of the International Code Council ratified its Board’s approval of an emergency amendment to the fuel gas purging requirements of the 2009 International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC) and 2009 International Residential Code (IRC). The action was taken at the Council’s 2010 Annual Business Meeting in late October and was in response to an investigation performed by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board of a natural gas explosion that occurred at a North Carolina production facility.
“On behalf of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), I would like to take this opportunity to commend the International Code Council’s Board and membership for voting to approve an Emergency Amendment to the fuel gas purging requirements of the International Fuel Gas Code and the International Residential Code,” CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso said. “The CSB believes these new requirements are urgently needed to prevent future tragedies resulting from unsafe purging practices at industrial, commercial and public facilities. I thank the ICC for making the CSB’s recommendation a high priority, and strongly encourage state and local officials across the United States to include these new requirements in their area’s building codes.”
The emergency amendment is not to be considered a retroactive requirement to the 2009 Fuel Gas or Residential Codes and is subject to the process established by the adopting authority, according to the Code Council.
ICC 700 Removed from IGCC
The ICC Board voted to remove ICC 700, a national green building standard for housing, from Public Version 2.0 of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC). That action was in response to comments made at the IGCC Public Hearings to revise the scope of the IGCC by either eliminating the reference to ICC 700 or to limit IGCC’s scope impacting low-rise residential structures. The Board action was required because scoping of the I-Codes is the responsibility of the ICC Board of Directors, and the public comment hearing procedure says comments and committee action on the comments are forwarded to the Board for final disposition.
Energy Code Changes at Final Action Hearings
Members took action on code changes during final action hearings that will lead to the 2012 edition of the International Codes. The hearings in Charlotte, N.C., were dominated by changes to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and the related energy conservation requirements in the IRC.
The overall goal of submitted changes was to improve the energy efficiency of commercial and residential buildings constructed under the 2012 IECC by 30 percent more than those built under the 2006 edition. Three key code changes approved were the focus of that effort:
- Code change EC13 is a comprehensive set of changes to the residential energy conservation provisions of both the IECC and the IRC. It includes measures to improve the thermal envelope, HVAC systems and electrical systems of residential buildings up to three stories in height.
- EC147 accomplished for non-residential construction what EC13 did for residential construction. Enhancements include required energy savings for windows, doors and skylights; thermal envelope efficiency; and increased efficiencies for installed HVAC equipment.
- RE4 changes the fundamental relationship between the IECC and the IRC. Voting members decided the energy chapter of the IRC would no longer be distinct but would instead be a simple reference to the IECC. With this action, the IRC and the International Building Code have the same relationship with the IECC.
The International Code Council, a membership association dedicated to building safety, fire prevention and energy efficiency, develops the codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings, including homes and schools. Most U.S. cities, counties and states choose the International Codes, building safety codes developed by the International Code Council. The International Codes also serve as the basis for construction of federal properties around the world, and as a reference for many nations outside the United States.