Special report: How to leverage IBC and ICC


Figure 3: IBC Code and Commentary includes both the code text and commentary after each section to assist the users with application of the code. Courtesy: International Code CouncilProduct evaluation

Independent evaluation of building products is critical for a building safety system. Construction materials, elements, and components must meet minimum safety and performance criteria established by codes and standards, as do new and innovative products introduced into the market by manufacturers. The IBC does not prohibit the use of new or innovative products or construction methods; rather, it encourages them in IBC Section 104.11, which addresses “Alternative materials, design, and methods of construction and equipment.”

The ICC Evaluation Service (ICC-ES) is an independent body that evaluates and issues reports of compliance based on codes and standards, with no vested interest in the applicable products or methods. ICC-ES Research Reports are covered in Section 104.11.1 of the 2012 IBC. ICC-ES Evaluation Reports are available to all code users free of charge and provide a valuable tool for the safe and consistent use of construction materials. ICC-ES provides evaluation of sustainability attributes based on green codes, standards, and various rating systems. It also offers building products and plumbing, mechanical, and fuel gas listing programs in support of construction industry professionals. Through a recently introduced listing program, manufacturers who wish to show their building product’s compliance with code-referenced consensus standards may apply for a listing to show compliance with the code and the referenced standard.

Accreditation services

Another critical part of the complete building safety system is the qualifications of those who are involved in the building construction process and their continued adherence to recognized and credible standards, such as fabricators, testing agencies, and inspecting entities. The International Accreditation Service (IAS) is the most credible accreditation body in the building construction arena, operating since 1975. The IAS accredits testing laboratories, calibration laboratories, inspection agencies, special inspection agencies, building departments, fabricators, field evaluation bodies, product certification agencies, training agencies, curriculum developments, metal building systems, building department service providers, fire prevention and life safety departments, and personnel certification bodies.

Figure 4: Another important reference is the Handbook to the 2012 IBC. It contains a discussion on fire and life safety and structural provisions in a book with several hundred color illustrations. This publication is authored by ICC staff authors and eduGlobal services

ICC is committed to promoting safe building construction and working with economies worldwide to enhance regulation and code compliance to increase the effectiveness of building codes. The ICC is also committed to disaster risk reduction and the efficient use and sustainability of natural resources.

ICC Global Services provides cooperation and collaboration in technical and institutional assistance to the global community in the area of building safety. Under the guidance of the ICC Global Membership Council, Global Services works with other ICC departments and subsidiaries to provide assistance in adoption of building code regulations, education and training, certification, code administration and enforcement, and conformity assessment programs.

Reference materials

ICC also publishes code commentaries and significant changes for new editions of the International Codes. ICC has developed seminars for 2012 and 2009 I-Code Significant Changes based on the I-Codes. Commentaries are a practical tool and a convenient reference for the codes. Presented in an easy-to-reference format, the commentary includes the full text of the code, including tables and figures, followed by corresponding commentary at the end of each section in one document. Every chapter begins with "general comments" and "purpose" sections followed by code and commentary to subsequent sections, tables, and figures. While not considered the legally adopted code, commentaries are designed to suggest the most effective method of application, and the consequences of not adhering to the code.

Hamid Naderi is the senior vice president of product development with the International Code Council, where he is responsible for managing the development of ICC technical publications. He is a Certified Building Official (CBO) and has more than 30 years of experience in various areas of construction materials testing, building codes administration, training, and publications

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