Building Codes: Driving Growth through Innovation, Resilience and Safety
Resilient and energy efficient building were once thought to be the elite ways to construct a new structure. Today, it is the standard way to build for communities that want to grow, prosper and be safe.
The International Code Council (ICC) defines resilience as “The ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events.”
We frame resilience in the built environment in four ways: (1) efficient disaster mitigation and recovery, (2) ensuring occupant mental and physical health and wellbeing, (3) improving building life cycles, and (4) creating a sustainable community.
The International Code Council Family of Companies has several resources available to assist jurisdictions, manufacturers and the public with these building practices. For decades, ICC’s codes and standards have addressed resilient and energy-related issues and we remain committed to working with Member Jurisdictions and industry partners to bring the right building products and practices to market, labeling new homes and structures as more efficient, and spreading the word about the need for wiser resource usage and building resilient structures.
Creating a resilient nation requires diligent planning and innovative thinking. Incorporating new technologies in current building practices to achieve higher resiliency is exciting but can be expensive. Thankfully, effectively utilizing current codes and standards throughout all phases of the building’s lifecycle increases the efficacy of new building technologies and offers a cost effective path toward community stability during times of disaster. Resilience starts with strong, regularly updated, and properly implemented building codes.
A “whole community” approach
Communities are complex, interconnected systems. ICC believes that community systems are rarely, if ever, isolated from one another. When adverse events occur, all components in the local system must continue to function. An office building with functioning electricity cannot effectively operate if employees are unable to commute because public transit is shutdown. A structure built to code that stands tall in a disaster must be reachable by roads and sidewalks during and after that disaster to be occupied. Employees can’t effectively function if grocery store shelves are bare, etc.
For a community to be resilient, it must understand the resilience of each community function and how well each can respond to adverse events. That means having a community plan to get critical systems operating again. Resilience in the built environment begins with strong, regularly adopted and properly administered building codes, but communities must look across all of its interconnected functions to truly be a resilient community.
The International Code Council (ICC) is a member of the FEMA Resilient National Partnership Network, a founding member of the U.S. Resiliency Council and a signatory to the NIBS Industry Statement on Resilience.
Efficient Disaster Mitigation & Recovery
- Provisions in the I-Codes address disaster preparedness and recovery – from how and where to build in flood plains to constructing buildings that can better withstand natural and manmade disasters.
- Codes are cost-effective, too. A study for FEMA done by the National Institute of Building Sciences’ Multihazard Mitigation Council showed that for every dollar spent on mitigation efforts like adopting current codes, four dollars were saved in post-disaster relief costs.
Ensuring Mental & Physical Health and Wellbeing
- Provisions in the I-Codes address mental and physical health and well-being from dealing with sanitation and pest control to designing buildings that respond to the latest science on mood and mental health.
Improving Building Life Cycles
- Provisions in the I-Codes enable changes to the systems inside the building or even the structure itself at some point after its initial construction and occupation including repair, alteration, change of occupancy, addition to and relocation of existing buildings.
- As communities change, so do the buildings they use. Updated codes allow buildings to adapt, keeping a sense of continuity while also reducing blight from outdated, unused buildings.
Creating a Sustainable Community
- Provisions in the I-Codes include sustainability measures for the entire construction project and its site making buildings more efficient and less economically and environmentally wasteful.
- Building sustainably has effects that go beyond the walls and into the community – for example, car charging stations make it easier to own eco-friendly vehicles and smart grid demand response systems lower energy prices for the consumer and increase grid stability for the surrounding area.
The Alliance for National & Community Resilience (ANCR)
The Alliance for National & Community Resilience (ANCR - pronounced “anchor”) is an ICC co-founded 501(c)3 national coalition aimed at improving resilience and implementing good community practices in towns and cities across the United States and helping cities prevent infrastructure failure caused by natural and other disasters, thereby avoiding negative social, economic and welfare repercussions caused by such damages. ANCR’s primary objective is the development of a system of community benchmarks – the first system of its kind in the United States – that will allow local leaders to easily assess and improve their resilience across all functions of a community. When adverse events occur, all gears in the local system must continue to function. ANCR intends to give communities a voluntary, transparent, usable, and easily understandable accredited self-assessment that helps to showcase their whole-community resilience and provides a simple gauge of how their resilience continues to strengthen.”
Our current list of ANCR partners include the following:
Introduction to Resilience and the Building Codes
2018 International Green Construction Code® (IgCC®) – This was the first model code to include sustainability and resilience measures for an entire construction project and its site—from design, through construction, certificate of occupancy and beyond. The IgCC establishes a baseline for new and existing commercial buildings related to energy conservation, water efficiency, site impacts, building waste, material resource efficiency and other sustainability measures. While establishing such minimum requirements for buildings, the IgCC® also offers flexibility to jurisdictions that adopt the code by establishing several levels of compliance; starting with the core provisions of the code, and then offering jurisdictional requirement options that can be customized to fit the needs of a local community. The code acts as an overlay to the existing set of International Codes, including provisions of the International Energy Conservation Code® and ICC-700 National Green Building Standard™, and incorporates ASHRAE Standard 189.1 as an alternate path to compliance.
Future of the IgCC
ICC and ASHRAE have signed the final agreement that outlines each organization's role in the development and maintenance of the new version of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) sponsored by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), ASHRAE, ICC, the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The code, scheduled to be released in 2018, will be powered by ANSI/ASHRAE/ICC/IES/USGBC Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings developed using the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved ASHRAE consensus process. The joint Standing Standards Project Committee 189.1 will serve as the consensus body that will work to ensure the standard is consistent and coordinated with the ICC Family of Codes.
Sets minimum energy efficiency provisions for both residential and commercial buildings. The IECC covers new construction, additions, remodeling, window replacement and repairs of specified buildings with each implementing the green construction code that will make a contribution toward a healthier, lower impact and more sustainable building practices. Users of the code can choose between two methods for showing compliance, the prescriptive and performance paths.
Contains requirements intended to encourage the use and reuse of existing buildings. The scope covers repair, alteration, addition and change of occupancy for existing buildings and historic buildings, while achieving appropriate levels of safety without requiring full compliance with the new construction requirements contained in the other I-Codes.
Provides guidance for safe and sustainable building practices for residential construction, including both new and renovated single-family to high-rise residential buildings. This standard allows builders, designers and communities to choose the levels of high-performance green buildings with the following key provisions:
- Land conservation
- Rainwater collection
- Construction of smaller homes to conserve resources
- Use of low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) materials, detached garages or carports to improve indoor environmental quality
- Homeowner education on proper maintenance and operation to maintain its green status throughout its life cycle
The standard also promotes homeowner education for the maintenance and operation of green residential buildings in order to ensure long-term benefits.
2018 International Plumbing Code® (IPC®)
Incorporates innovative technologies including waterless urinals and detailed engineered designs that permit the installation of smaller, more precise water usage and water drainage systems, resulting in the savings of millions of gallons of water which helps communities be more resilient in the face of droughts.
Contains many water efficiency provisions that are noted in the IPC. The provisions in the IRC for collecting, storing, and using various types of no-potable water recognize the growing need for water conservation and the increase in the development of water conservation programs in many regions of the United States.
Presents users with regulations based on outcome, rather than prescription. This indispensable resource provides a broader parameter for meeting the intent of the International Codes, thereby encouraging new design methods. Promotes innovative, flexible and responsive solutions that optimize the expenditure and consumption of resources while preserving social and economic value.
2018 ICC Property Maintenance Code® (IPMC®)
The IPMC is an essential tool for improving public health. It addresses important issues like urban blight, pest elimination, and sanitary garbage disposal to create cleaner and healthier communities.
Ensure your community is using the latest codes with the latest water conservation and efficiency best practices. These sample ordinances will provide you the templates that will help you!
Additional tools to help you advance this important cause:
Support Publications and Products
Additional related publications and products that can assist users in applying the codes and standards are:
Presented in an easy-to-reference format, the IgCC® and IECC® Code and Commentaries are a comprehensive and convenient reference for regulations in the International Green Construction Code and the International Energy Conservation Code. These publications focus on providing the full meaning and implications of the codes and are designed to suggest the most effective method of application of the code provisions.
International Energy Conservation Code®
Provides an easy-to-read companion guide to the IECC® for both beginning and experienced code users and accurate information on critical energy code applications in the office and in the field for residential and commercial construction.
These tabs were created by industry experts who carefully identified the most referenced sections in the code in an easy-to-read format.
International Green Construction Code®
Helps the building compliance and design communities to successfully implement the building commissioning process as mandated in the 2012 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) and International Energy Conservation Code. The guideline supports the adoption and application of the IgCC and its alternate compliance paths ASHRAE 189.1 and ICC 700-2008 National Green Building Standard, as well as regional green building codes such as CALGreen.
This document consists of provisions extracted directly from the International Green Construction Code™ (IgCC™) and is designed for ease of access to its water-related provisions. The IgCC Water Efficiency Provisions document offers one of the most comprehensive model code for constructing and remodeling buildings in order to reduce water consumption. It promotes water conservation associated with both the building and the building site. These provisions address systems and components including, but not limited to: plumbing fixtures and fittings, appliances, hot water delivery systems, meters, cooling towers, water treatment systems, alternate water supplies (including rainwater, gray water, and reclaimed water), landscape irrigation systems and car washes.
Published jointly by the International Code Council (ICC) and the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) and referenced in the newest building safety codes, this standard provides minimum design and construction requirements for storm shelters that provide a safe refuge from storms that produce high winds, hurricanes, and tornadoes. The magnitude of wind speeds associated with these events require building occupants and residents to evacuate the area or seek protection in a shelter designed for resistance to extraordinary loads and flying debris. The newest ICC Codes now require storm shelters in educational occupancies and critical emergency operation centers located in areas prone to extreme tornados. This standard provides design requirements for the main wind resisting structural system and components and cladding of these shelters, and provides basic occupant life safety and health requirements for these shelters including means of egress, lighting, sanitation, ventilation, fire safety, and minimum required floor space for occupants.
The scope of this standard is based on content from SSTD 10 and material standards’ and is to specify prescriptive methods to provide wind resistant designs and construction details for residential buildings of masonry, concrete, wood-framed or cold-formed steel framed construction sited in high- wind regions where design wind speeds are 120 to 180 mph. The purpose of this standard is to improve building resiliency by providing prescriptive requirements based on the latest engineering knowledge and to provide minimum requirements to improve structural integrity and improve building envelope performance within the limitations in building geometry, materials, and wind climate specified.
International Solar Energy Provisions™
The 2018 International Solar Energy Provisions™ (ISEP™) contains the complete solar-energy-related provisions and selected standards from the 2018 International Codes® (2018 I-Codes) in one document. The ISEP is organized such that it provides the best and most comprehensive tool for the design, installation and administration of both solar thermal (or solar heating and cooling) and photovoltaic systems. It includes all I-Code solar energy provisions; solar thermal standards ICC 901/SRCC 100 and ICC 900/SRCC 300; and the solar energy provisions from NFPA 70: 2017 NEC®.
This standard establishes minimum criteria for the design and installation of solar thermal systems used for applications including heating, cooling, dehumidification and co-generation. It describes the minimum requirements and methodologies for the design and evaluation of solar thermal systems and is coordinate with the I-Codes. It is referenced in the 2018 IBC, IRC, IPC, IMC and ISPSC.
This standard establishes minimum criteria for the design, manufacture and testing of solar thermal collectors. It addresses a wide range of solar thermal collectors, including flat panel, evacuated tube, concentrating, integrated storage and unglazed types. It is referenced in the 2018 IBC, IRC, IPC, IMC and ISPSC.
Home Energy Efficiency Rating Systems
This standard provides a consistent, uniform methodology for evaluating and labeling the energy performance of residences. The methodology compares the energy performance of an actual home with the energy performance of a reference home of the same geometry, resulting in a relative energy rating called the Energy Rating Index. Where the energy performance of the actual home and the reference home are equal, the Energy Rating Index is 100 and where the actual home requires no net purchased energy annually, the Energy Rating Index is 0 (zero).
This Standard provides a consistent, uniform methodology for evaluating the airtightness of building envelopes and heating and cooling air ducts, and the airflows of mechanical ventilation systems. These test procedures can be used as building diagnostics, in quality assurance and control, for determining compliance with codes and standards, and to determine input to energy simulations and ratings. The Standard recognizes some test procedures are easier to perform depending on house and HVAC system characteristics, and different codes and standards have specific testing requirements. Therefore, the Standard presents several alternative approaches for each measurement to allow flexibility in application of the standard.
Rainwater Harvesting and Landscape Irrigation Standards
ICC and CSA released a comprehensive standard addressing the design and installation of rainwater harvesting systems in April, 2018. CSA B805/ICC 805 – 2018 is a ground-breaking standard provides minimum provisions for the collection, storage and treatment of rainwater and stormwater. It also covers a wide range of applications ranging from landscape irrigation to water closet flushing and even potable uses. The standard provides for both prescriptive and performance methods to meet key water quality criteria.
ICC and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) partnered to create the ICC 802-2014 Landscape Irrigation Sprinkler and Emitter Standard to set uniform testing procedures, and establish minimum design and performance requirements for commercial and residential landscape irrigation components. It is used in the EPA WaterSense Specification for Spray Sprinkler Bodies, to help set testing methods for pressure regulation features to reduce water waste and boost performance. ICC-ES provides certification to this specification for several manufacturers.
SRCC and its certification programs were established in the 1980’s as a direct result of the combined efforts of several state, federal and industry organizations. SRCC operates various ISO 17065 certification programs for solar thermal collectors, domestic water heating systems and pool heating systems. The programs include valuable third-party performance ratings that allow the direct comparison of collectors and systems for specific applications and locations. SRCC’s certifications and ratings are used by code officials and incentive programs throughout North America and are even used to set rebates and tax incentives. SRCC also develops and promulgates the ICC 901/SRCC 100, ICC 902/SRCC 300 and ICC 902/APSP 902/SRCC 400 standards through ICC’s ANSI-approved standard development procedures.
Pool Solar Heating and Cooling Standard
ICC 902/APSP 902/SRCC 400-2017 Solar Pool and Spa Heating System Standard as created and released in 2017 as the result of a three-way partnership between ICC, ICC-SRCC, and the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals (APSP). It brought together code officials, pool builders and solar pool heating experts to produce the first-of-its-kind standard integrating pools and solar water heating systems. The result is a set of design and installation requirements that ensure that solar water heating systems installed on pools and spas work together to ensure safety, water quality and compatibility.
ICC Education for IgCC and IECC
Expert training from ICC is available both online and on location and provides CEU credit for renewal of certifications. These programs include:
- IgCC Fundamentals
- IECC Update
- IECC Significant Changes
- IECC Performing Residential Energy Plan Reviews
- IECC Performing Residential Energy Inspections
- IECC Fundamentals
- Plus training on all I-Codes, Standards and Best Practices
Complete descriptions of education programs are available online at stage.iccsafe.org.
ICC Certification Services
The Code Council certification program is the oldest, largest and most prestigious credentialing program for construction code administration and enforcement professionals in the United States. Code Council certification examinations are maintained to the highest standards and include continuous review by committees of experienced professionals. Becoming Code Council-certified is a significant personal and professional accomplishment, and is a key step toward enhanced professional stature.
The Code Council offers these Energy and Green related certifications:
Energy Conservation Certification
- Commercial Energy Inspector
- Commercial Energy Plans Examiner
- Residential Energy Inspector/Plans Examiner
- Commercial Energy Inspector/Plans Examiner with ASHRAE 90.1
Green Building Certification
- Green Code IgCC Inspector/Plans Examiner with ASHRAE 189.1
- G1 Green Building—Residential Examiner
ICC — Additional Benefits
Online Discussion Boards
ICC offers online discussion boards through the ICC website for users to discuss questions and issues related to the IECC and IgCC. Go to stage.iccsafe.org/forums.
Sustainability Membership Council
Open to all ICC Members who are looking to get more involved in green and energy code enforcement and influence the direction of ICC. An application for membership and more information about the Sustainability Membership Council is available at stage.iccsafe.org.
The ICC Family of Companies
In addition to ANCR, there are three other ICC subsidiaries that support the green, sustainable and energy fields and are dedicated to the construction of safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures:
ICC-Evaluation Service (ICC-ES) Environmental Programs
ICC-ES is the leader in the technical evaluations of building products, components, methods and materials. In response to the increased demand for the evaluation of "green" building products, ICC-ES developed the Environmental Programs that provides manufacturers with independent and comprehensive evaluation and/or certification for their products that meet specific sustainability targets. We offer the following services under the ICC-ES VAR Environmental Report and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) Programs:
ICC-ES VAR Environmental Reports
Evaluation of assemblies for compliance with the provisions of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), the ICC-ES VAR Environmental Program creates reports that are used by code officials, government agencies, architects, engineers, specifiers and many others as an independent, third-party assessment of a product or assembly. ICC-ES VAR evaluates products to green building codes such as:
- International Green Construction Code (IgCC)
- California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen)
- ASHRAE 189.1
Evaluates products to green building rating systems and standards such as:
- S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
- Green Building Initiative's GBI-01 Green Building Assessment Protocol for Commercial Buildings Standard
- ICC700-2012 National Green Building Standard
ICC-ES EPD Program
Conducts a Type III environmental declaration program that certifies a manufacturer's EPD as conforming to the requirements of the ISO 14025 Environmental Declaration standard.
IAS Accreditation (IAS) Programs
A nonprofit, internationally recognized accreditation body which accredits a wide range of companies and organizations including; governmental entities, commercial businesses and professional associations. IAS offers multiple programs that accredit organizations whose services may be used by businesses and regulators engaged in providing energy-efficient, sustainable infrastructure. It is committed to facilitate the needs of industry and regulators by identifying energy-related and sustainability standards and by offering accreditation under these “green” standards to testing laboratories and inspection agencies. Recognizing that environmental issues were becoming increasingly important in the construction industry, IAS’s green initiatives convened a “Green” forum in conjunction with the public hearings of the IAS Accreditation Committee. The forum was used to launch an initiative to address environmental concerns and to benefit the organizations that IAS accredits, the construction industry and manufacturers who need independent verification that their products, services and systems truly meet sustainable standards.
IAS offers accreditation for the following sustainable, green and environmental programs:
- Testing Laboratory Accreditation
- Inspection Agency Accreditation
- Commissioning Training and Certification Agency Accreditation
- Management System Certification Body Accreditation of Environmental Management Systems
Solar Rating & Certification Corporation (SRCC)
SRCC and its certification programs were established in the 1980’s as a direct result of the combined efforts of several state, federal and industry organizations. SRCC operates as various ISO 17065 certification programs for solar thermal collectors, domestic water heating systems and pool heating systems. The programs include valuable third-party performance ratings that allow the direct comparison of collectors and systems for specific applications and locations. SRCC’s certifications and ratings are used by code officials and incentive programs throughout North America and are even used to set rebates and tax incentives. SRCC also develops and promulgates the ICC 901/SRCC 100, ICC 902/SRCC 300 and ICC 902/APSP 902/SRCC 400 standards through ICC’s ANSI-approved standard development procedures.
The International Code Council is a member-focused association. It is dedicated to developing model codes and standards used in the design, build and compliance process to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures. Most U.S. communities and many global markets choose the International Codes.
Our vision: Protect the health, safety and welfare of people by creating safe buildings and communities.
Our mission: To provide the highest quality codes, standards, products and services for all concerned with the safety and performance of the built environment.
For more information visit: stage.iccsafe.org / 888-ICC-SAFE (422-7233)