Whittier, Calif.—International Code Council members debated and voted on code change proposals shaping the future of building safety and fire prevention during the organization’s Final Action Hearings in Minneapolis. The hundreds of approved code changes will be included in the 2009 version of the International Codes, used to guide construction in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

"We are exploring improvements in the areas of structural and fire safety alongside sustainable and energy efficient building, all of which will have enormous impact on virtually every aspect of safety in the built environment," said Code Council President Adolf Zubia, fire chief for Las Cruces, N.M.

Following are among the major changes approved:

  • Fire sprinklers are required in all new, one- and two-family residences beginning Jan. 1, 2011.
  • Fire sprinklers are required in all new town homes.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors are required in homes with attached garages or fuel-fired equipment such as gas furnaces, gas stoves and gas water heaters.
  • A new standard, ANSI/APSP-7-06, brings the I-Codes in line with the Virginia Graeme Baker Federal Pool and Spa Safety Act of 2007. It addresses suction entrapment avoidance in swimming pools, wading pools, spas, hot tubs, and catch basins.
  • For skyscrapers—buildings greater than 420 feet in height—an additional stairwell is required to assist firefighter access to upper floors. The additional stairwell is not required if the building includes special elevators that can be used to evacuate occupants during an emergency.
  • Members did not approve the comprehensive energy package in EC-14 purporting a 30-percent increase in energy efficiency. However, several energy efficiency-related changes were approved.

The International Code Council, a membership association dedicated to building safety and fire prevention, 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. To learn more visit www.iccsafe.org.