At its Final Action Hearings in Minneapolis, the International Code Council and its members debated and voted on code change proposals that will shape the future of building safety and fire prevention.

At its Final Action Hearings in Minneapolis, the International Code Council and its members debated and voted on code change proposals that will shape the future of building safety and fire prevention. The hundreds of approved code changes will be included in the 2009 version of the International Codes.

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 townhomes.

  • 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, including:
    • A requirement to install programmable thermostats in new homes and buildings with forced air furnaces.
    • High-efficiency light bulbs required in at least 50 percent of permanent lighting fixtures in new homes.
    • Maximum fenestration u-factors are lowered in warmer climates to reduce the amount of heat loss or gain through windows and doors to lower energy costs during cooling periods.
    • An increase in insulation R-values for walls, floors and basements in cold climates to achieve heating and cooling savings.