Building Managers’ Group Battling Code Change Proposals

The 2009 Building Code of the International Code Council already contains a requirement for an additional exit stairway for new buildings over 420 feet tall, and ICC’s Joint Fire Service Review Committee has proposed a change in the ICC Fire Code that would require installation and modification of emergency responder radio coverage systems in new and existing buildings. At next month's 2008 Final Action Hearing in Minneapolis, the Building Owners and Managers Association International hopes to defeat both.

BOMA has asked its members to meet with local building and fire service officials who have ICC voting status to enlist their support for the votes that will take place during the Sept. 17-23 hearing. The organization says the radio coverage requirement would be an unreasonable and enormously expensive burden on building owners and tenants. Also, the fire service has traditionally been reluctant to rely on equipment it doesn't maintain, BOMA says; however, the Joint Fire Service Review Committee consists of representatives from numerous fire departments and fire service agencies, chiefly IAFC.

BOMA tried to undo the exit stairway requirement in February 2008 but did not succeed. It maintains proponents of the added stairway have provided no evidence that it would increase safety, and code impacts including lifetime costs and initial construction were not properly considered when the stairway rule was approved during the 2006-2007 code change cycle.

For more information about the hearings, visit www.iccsafe.org. For information about BOMA, visit www.boma.org.

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