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NAHB Appeal on Residential Sprinklers

“We felt the balance has shifted”

The International Code Council (ICC) heard testimony today about the National Association Home Builder’s (NAHB)  appeal on code action on RB 64 07/08 and RB 66 07/08. The appeal process by the ICC occurred today and was chaired by Ron Lynn.  The intent of the appeal is over the process that occurred, not in response to technical issues

The committee was made up of four representatives of the ICC.  They heard testimony in favor the NAHB appeal as well as other interested parties testified in support of the appeal.  Mr. Ed Sutton of the National Association of Home Builders summarized his testimony which stated the ICC could loose credibility and also stated that NAHB has funded travel in the past and supports the ICC to eliminate all 3rd party funding.

The testimony from various parties focused on the need for balance in the process, fire service involvement, and who should be allowed to be a designated governmental official.  Mr. Bob Raymer with the California Building Industry Association stated the votes skyrocketed and questioned the credibility of the ICC.  Mr. Lee Schwartz of the Michigan Home Builders Association questioned the validity of Volunteer fire fighters voting in the final action hearings.

The staff did provide insight to the process of voting and the number of people voting.  Questions did arise on the application of the governmental process and if the ICC follows up on governmental members that may or may not meet the requirements of the classification.

Testimony was given by those against the appeal which appeared to focus on the process of the ICC and that the ICC process does meet the requirements of an open process.  The testimony included discussion on the fire service and who from the organization could be considered a governmental member.  This included discussion on the role of “volunteer” or paid on call fire fighters who may have attended the hearings.

It was noted that during the final action hearings, the opponents to the committees decision  were able to provide testimony which was very persuasive with facts and can not be discredited on its ability sway votes.

The hearing followed with the chance for appellant and those against the appeal to provide further testimony.  The committee returned and stated:

The appeal board would need to find a significant irregularity.  The appeals board gave a unanimous decision against the appeal and no violation of the ICC by-laws or policies was found.  They board will recommend that policies  and procedures be developed by the ICC to address the issues that arose during testimony.

The findings of the appeals board will be filed with the CEO of the ICC.  The findings will be presented during the ICC Board meeting on Friday December 19, 2008 in Las Vegas Nevada.  The question which seems to repeat is who from the fire service should be involved, how can the ICC provide balance during the final action hearings and was the vote stacked?

The code development process is critical that all inspectors, plan reviewers and AHJ’s are allowed the opportunity to provide influence on the code.  The ICC must look at the process and remove any doubt of a fair and equal process.

Our next issue of Code Talk, will include audio testimony from the appeal process.

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Brian Dove December 15, 2008, 8:22 am

    The ICC is going to look at the process and “…remove any doubt of a fiar and equal process” Seems to me that that is exactly what is happening here. If you can’t get your way in the technical process then blame the technical process for not getting your way.

    The NAHB Questions the Validity of Volunteer Fire Fighters Voting on Fire Service Issues? Does the NAHB really want to pick a fight with Volunteer Fire Fighters.

  • Donn December 23, 2008, 12:07 pm

    The National Association Home Builder’s (NAHB) did not sem think there was anything wrong with funding “Educational Grants” to go to the ICC meetings. They (NAHB) always seem to have a problem with anything to do with safety or saving lives.

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