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Code Changes Make it Big

The Final Action Hearings for the International Code Council begin on Wednesday September 17, 2008 in Minneapolis Minnesota.  There are hundreds of code changes up for debate and approval by the governmental members.  The interesting part is that the process has made the front page of many newspapers including the New York Times.

The New York Times is questioning why government agencies (GSA specifically) are questioning code changes that are based on the investigative findings born after the 9/11 tragedies.  These changes are not making airplane resistant buildings, but making the super tall buildings safer for occupants to egress during an emergency.

So why are code changes now making the buzz on covers of the New York Times and why is Hillary Clinton commenting on the ICC Changes as well?

I would like to hope that the code changes are become more important to our political leaders and the public.   I’m not sure if that is the reason but there are many interesting issues up for debate.

Regardless of your position it is important to understand where codes and standards come from.  The ICC will be streaming the annual business meeting and the final action hearings on the web.  If you are not at the hearings this week, tune in online and watch code history be made.  If I can not make it to the hearings I typically have the web-cast on while I am working in the office.

Check out the web-cast and don’t forget to check back with us as we provide updates throughout the week.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Michael OBrian September 18, 2008, 9:56 am

    Well another article popped up today from the Wall Street Journal.


    Well done article.

  • Jeff September 20, 2008, 12:01 pm

    Copied from the NAHB blog:

    Lee Schwartz, MAHB, Checks in From ICC Hearings
    Don Pratt, Roger Papineau and I are on hour 28 of the hearings. It’s already been an interesting morning as the fire alarm went off in our hotel at 6:10 am with a subsequent evacuation. It was a false alarm.

    Debate and voting has been completed on the Wildlife/Urban Interface Code, the International Fire Code, and the International Building Code Fire Safety provisions. We are now on the International Building Code General provisions. The Residential Code and Energy Code changes won’t start before 6:00 PM tomorrow.

    As of this moment,two hundred and forty-one code changes have been voted on, most of them non-controversial. Just 580 more to go. It’s already been announced we will go AT LEAST until midnight tonight and probably longer. Sessions start at 7:00 AM.

    Voting over the last two 1/4 days has been fairly steady, usually around 250 to 300 votes being cast on each proposal with the highest number of votes cast at 388 and the lowest at 163. Voters have electronic voting machines the size of a credit card. Most voting is done by a show of hands but the cards are used on close votes. We’ve been tracking both the number of votes cast and the time the vote took place.

    Given the importance of the International Fire Code to fire services, it speaks volumes that the highest number of voters on this code was 388. Fire service voters were not here in large numbers to vote on the Fire Code or the Fire Safety provisions of the International Building Code.

    Rumor and supposition abound here. While ICC hasn’t announced the total number of qualified voters for the hearing, the word has gotten out that total registration is hovering in the area of 2,300 to 2,600 registrants. Not all registrants are eligible to vote. We expect the number of qualified voters in the hall to dramatically increase as we draw closer to the sprinkler vote.

    American Airlines was the “official” airline for this conference. The sprinkler advocates bought advertising on these flights both on the audio and visual in-flight entertainment. They are also running pro-sprinkler videos on the in-hotel TV channels at the major conference hotels.

    The Energy Efficient Codes Coalition paid for redoing the magnetic hotel keycards at the major conference hotels. The name of the hotel on the front of the card has the been replaced by the logo of the coalition along with the address of their website.

    I guess when approval of a code change or several code changes means billions of dollars more in income, you can spend a few dollars on frills.

    What kind of dollars are we talking about?

    The NAHB estimates had a residential sprinkler system been required in every residential dwelling in 2005, the sprinkler industry would have benefited to the tune of $5,787,990,000. Yes, that’s five billion, seven hundred and eighty-seven million, nine hundred and ninety thousands dollars in just one year. While the roughly $185 million dollars the sprinkler industry did make by sprinkling 52,664 homes that year is an impressive chunk of cash, it’s just pocket change from a child’s piggy bank compared to what they could force consumers to cough up if sprinklers are mandated in all new homes.

    Well, that’s about it right now. I’ll be sending these updates out on an irregular basis as events warrant.

    And, for those of you who suffer from insomnia, the ICC is webcasting the hearings. To watch go to:


  • admin September 21, 2008, 11:36 am
  • admin October 5, 2008, 8:32 pm

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