[Washington, DC] - Several beneficial code changes proposed by the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) were adopted at the International Code Council (ICC) hearings in Dallas, Tex. this past week. The association gained approval of several code changes for the upcoming International Building Code (IBC). All three of the amendments proposed by WDMA earned broad approval and will go into the 2015 edition of the IBC pending final ICC action this fall. The amendments developed by WDMA will make labeling easier for manufacturers, streamline fire door safety requirements, and allow more consumers to afford replacement window renovations through common-sense pricing.
Jeff Inks, WDMA's Vice President for Code and Regulatory Affairs attended the ICC meetings and said, "Each of these WDMA amendments respond to issues raised by our members and their builder customers. These three key amendments alleviate many problems the industry is experiencing in the field and are important improvements to the code. ICC clearly agreed."
In addition to the big amendment wins, WDMA supported other organizations' proposals and successfully convinced the ICC to vote against groups promoting redundant and unnecessary proposals that would have negatively impacted the industry. That included a proposal that would have imposed more stringent deflection requirements on many fenestration products just as economic activity is starting to improve.
"We strongly opposed that bad deflection proposal because there is no substantiation that the existing requirements are deficient - it would have required redesign, testing and labeling of many window products when it simply isn't necessary. This was clear to the committee and they unanimously voted against the proposal," Inks said.
WDMA's amendments clarify and improve IBC requirements for labeling smoke partition doors and fire rated doors, the use of steel and fiberglass faced insulating residential entry doors, and egress requirements applicable to window replacement.
1) The WDMA proposal for smoke partition doors clarifies that the "S" letter labeling designation, indicating compliance with applicable smoke protection requirements, is permitted to be used on doors that are smoke partition only and not necessarily fire rated. The result will be a broad and consistent treatment of labeling for smoke partition and fire rated doors.
2) WDMA's amendment for residential entry doors added aluminum, steel, and fiberglass faced doors to the existing fire safety requirements covering insulated doors, allowing the use of them without the need for special approval by a state or local jurisdiction.
3) The WDMA revision on egress requirements for replacement windows places new provisions in the IBC allowing bedroom replacement windows in older residences to be of the same size and type of those being replaced. Current IBC provisions are unclear and applied differently by code officials in different jurisdictions, with some code officials requiring replacement windows meet the full egress requirements for new construction when doing so would require expensive and unnecessary renovation of walls to make rough openings larger.
Other important proposals WDMA supported to gain ICC approval include amendments allowing higher threshold heights for sliding patio doors to help prevent water infiltration and new provisions for fall protection for replacement windows.
"Allowing greater threshold heights for these doors helps alleviate a significant problem builders have been struggling with over many years without comprising accessibility requirements. We also worked with ICC to develop the fall protection requirements for replacement windows to ensure they are sound," said Inks.
The Dallas IBC hearings are the first of two rounds of hearings for amending the IBC. The amendment cycle for the 2015 editions of the International Residential Code, International Energy Conservation Code, and International Green Construction Code begins January 3, 2013.