Aug 30, 2021
Welcome to episode 15 of the solocasts Fire Code Tech. On this episode we are taking a dive into the international building code. More specifically we are taking a look at the first couple chapters and accessing their importance and structure. Don’t forget to check out patreon.com/firecodetech if you would like to listen to more solocast episodes.
Hello. Welcome to the solo cast of fire code tech in these episodes. It's just gonna be me, your host, Gus Gagliardi. There's gonna be a range of topics, but I'm gonna talk about specific technologies, installation, standards, codes, and how they work as well as some other interesting topics that don't neatly fit inside of the context of a normal interview.
Hello, all welcome to episode 15 of the solo cast of fire code tech. On this episode, we're talking about the international building code. So we spoke about codes and standards and the process of development and incorporation of codes and standards in episode two of the so acid fire code tech. And so if you need a refresher or if you're looking for more content, I'd invite you to go listen to that episode again, if you want to tag onto this one in a meaningful.
So in this episode, I wanted to double back on the international building code and talk about, more about how this code functions in, uh, the process of codes and standards in the us. As far as being a fire protection and life safety professional in the us for the built environment. The I B C is the most critical model code to understand and understanding how model codes work will give you a good context.
If you live in somewhere else in the world, and you have a different model codes and standards process, how to address, um, your system of codes and standards. Don't forget to subscribe to fire code text. So you never miss an episode. Also follow us on social media so you can see the different, uh, user engagements.
And different useful posts that we put out also in typical podcast or a YouTube fashion, I'm gonna implore you to go and give a five star review on apple podcasts. It helps out the podcast so much and it'll take a minute or two of your time. Let's dive into the show. So in this episode, I wanted to get started with the general composition of the building.
And so there are a couple of chapters that comprise the majority of the time. You're going to spend doing a code analysis as a fire protection and life safety professional. So there's a wide range of, uh, you know, work that you could be contracted to do as a fire protection and life safety professional.
Um, I work primarily in systems, so I spend a lot of time in chapter. Which is fire protection systems, but also there is a huge component of the building code, probably the majority that deals with life safety, which is, uh, chapters like 3, 4, 5, 6, and chapter 10, I would say are the big ones for life safety.
So let's break that down a little bit more in. So, this is a very common layout with many codes and standards that the codes start out very general. And then they kind of narrow down in on the specifics of a certain aspect of the building. So in the instance of the international building code, you start off with, you know, a very typical format like scope and administration in chapter one.
Um, I always think it's a good thing to talk about, which is scope. And, you know, the codes in standards process episode is kind of me given the scope, talk for the model code to begin with. So let's preface our whole statement with, you know, you have to understand your jurisdiction and if the international building code is applicable in the first place, So, uh, I'm sure if you've listened to many of the solo cast, you've probably heard me say that about a dozen times, but it's so important because I see tenured professionals trying to perform a code analysis without understanding the fundamentals.
Um, so if you don't have your fundamentals, rock solid, it's gonna end up in rework or wrong work or change orders. So. It pays to be diligent and understand the, the code track. So chapter one is scope and administration, and I always tell people, take a look at the scope of the code and our standard. And there's some interesting information and some telling information to be found for the international building code as well.
In chapter one of the building code, there's a section titled 1 0 1 0.2 called. Scope says the provisions of this code shall apply to the construction, alteration, relocation, enlargement replacement, repair equipment, and use and occupancy location, maintenance, removal, and demolition of every building or structure or any apartments connected or attached to buildings or structures.
So this gives you a very clear picture of when this code is used. . And so I've been in many situations in which I've had to try to determine, you know, when do I use the standard? Is the standard applicable for a gazebo? Is the standard applicable or is the code applicable for a gazebo or an exterior structure?
You know, when is the threshold to when these, uh, when you use the IBC or, you know, so is this a building? Is this a structure. There are, uh, keys in the very early parts of the I international building code that will tell you when to use, uh, the IBC also in chapter one, there are important references to other codes in standards, namely the plumbing code, the mechanical code, the international fire code and the international existing building code.
So. In time, we'll talk about all these codes, but for the purposes of this discussion, understand that the building code is just one piece of, uh, the requirements for a building. I guess that makes pretty obvious sense. But, um, much of these other codes work in a similar fashion. So, um, in time we'll speak about these as.
Moving on to chapter two, which is definitions. This is a very important chapter. We've talked about it, a bunch in our hazardous materials discussion, which is solo cast, episode number seven, when the building code is adopted by your jurisdiction, it becomes a legal document. And for all legal documents or lawyering types of professions, the definitions of the law is extremely important.
So knowing to go when you're looking for, I can't tell you how many times I've needed a little bit of clarification on a, on a code topic or a, a standard implication. And I've had to go check the definition of, you know, what is a building or, you know, what is a, an exit component or a stairway, you know what?
These seem like straightforward things. But when you're looking to, uh, apply. Requirements, you need to understand, um, the term in which you're referencing. And so this is a big help in time you get used to this jargon. So this very well defined jargon, and it doesn't become so difficult, but it's, uh, takes some time to become used to the exercise of going back to the definitions, reading.
And yeah, I guess this applies across the board with N FPA standards as well. So that's always a good point. If you know, it might not be the same between NFPA 1 0 1 or the international building code, depending on your jurisdiction. So NFPA 1 0 1 can be used in a similar fashion as the international building code.
For, uh, occupancies, like department of defense, you will have to use the NFPA 1 0 1 in conjunction with the international building code. And this gets very tricky because there are some portions of the life safety design, like means of egress that are NFPA 1 0 1. And there are some portions of the design, like occupancy classification in which you use both.
NFP 1 0 1 and the international building code. And then, uh, yeah, so it's just a little bit of back and forth and a big, uh, learning curve in itself as well. More on that in a later episode, the scoping of chapter two definition states, unless otherwise expressly stated the following words in terms shall be for the purposes of this code, have the meaning shown in this chapter.
There's another important section here, uh, linking to other codes and standards 2 0 1 0.3 terms defined in other codes where terms are not defined in this code and are defined in the international energy conservation code, fuel gas code, fire code international mechanical code plumbing code such terms shall have the meanings ascribed to them in those codes.
As in those codes, important definitions in definitions chapter. Well, there's a bunch of 'em, but, uh, like we spoke about before hazardous materials and what, how you define a flammable combustible, liquid, or a corrosive or a toxic versus highly toxic, it can all be found in chapter two, which is definitions also important.
Uh, Important caveats to what is, uh, a fire alarm or a fire suppression system can be found in chapter two, the egress components, which we talked about before, exit exit discharge access, the difference between net and gross floor areas for life safety implications. Here's an important one for life safety analysis.
Here's the definition of means of egress. Continuous and unobstructed path of vertical and horizontal egress travel from any occupied portion of the building or structure to a public way. A means of egress consists of three separate and distinct parts, exit access, exit, and the exit discharge. So, this is an extremely, uh, important definition within the chapter two of the building code.
And within this statement, there are, uh, at least three to four other terms, which are also defined in chapter two. So when you are looking at, uh, life safety analysis and trying to determine if. The means of egress are compliant within a facility. You have to understand what does it even mean to say means of egress and what is a public way or an exit discharge and where do those things start and end?
So you can see how, um, these definitions can quickly become extremely important. Moving on to chapter three, which is use and occupancy classification. So even if you only design fire protection systems, you're going to have. Uh, know how to determine what occupancy that your, uh, facility is classified as, or what, um, multiple occupancies your facility is classified as.
So this is an absolutely, uh, crucial part of understanding fire protection system design and life safety design is how to categorize, uh, Use and occupancy of a facility, chapter three is extremely important. And one of the first areas that you're gonna need to know how to use. So probably even before you, um, are able to navigate.
Um, chapter three and in chapter two, uh, you'll be able to go in and take a look at these different occupancies and kind of relate them. And there's some play to these occupancies in which you'll need experience to know how to apply these I'd I'd call it. Uh, it's similar to like hazard determination and taking a look at, uh, NFPA 13 systems and, and, um, applying, uh, you know, a broad hazard category.
Uh, a facility there's some experience and, um, engineering judgment and discretion involved with classifying occupancies. So there are 10 classes of occupancies, and I don't know if you call it classes or what you would call it. Groups, I guess, would be a better phrase. That's how the building code describes it.
But in those groups are a, B E F H I M R S. And. So that's assembly business, educational factory, high hazard, institutional Meile, residential storage and utility slash miscellaneous. Each one of these different occupancies has varying levels of concern for fire and life safety. So when you start your fire and life safety analysis, you have to.
Determine there's a much, uh, different approach to fire line safety for an EDU, an educational occupancy as compared to a storage occupancy. And there may be a case. And generally there is where you have multiple occupancies in a building. So an example would be you have a business building, say an office building.
And within that building, you have storage closets, janitorial, closets. Um, and different functional areas within the buildings that might classify as an S one or an S two. Oh, okay. So, and we didn't touch on this point within these 10 categories or groups, there are subcategories. So there are five different types of assembly groups.
There are two different types of factory, uh, groups. Um, institutional has, uh, let's see, three, no four gradients. And so within these groups are further deviations from the classification. So if I say that we have a, a group, a three. This is a assembly occupancy, but more specifically, the building code goes to describe assembly occupancies that are a three as amusement arcades, bowling alleys, community halls, dance halls, exhibition halls, gymnasiums, indoor swimming pools, etcetera.
So it gives an example in, in much similar the way that N F P 13 for hazard determination gives examples of combustible loadings for different hazard groups. We give. In the building code, examples of, uh, facility types for different occupancies. So this is a little bit of an illustration of the different, uh, occupancy groups.
And it's very important because we have groups like H N I, which are on the, the greatest side of severity for fire and life safety. I'd say probably. I and our occupancies, depending on the one that you're looking at, um, are usually pretty high as far as fire and life safety. And we could go into that in depth, but yeah, I think that's a good place to stop, um, for the building code.
As you can tell, we didn't get too far. I thought that I was gonna get farther. But, um, we'll continue on the Patreon. Don't forget to go check out, uh, patreon.com/fire code tech, where you can get more solo casts. If that's something that you're interested in. And yeah. Thank you so much for listening. We'll see you next time.
Thanks for listening. Everybody. Be sure to share the episode with a friend, if you enjoyed it, don't forget that fire protection and life safety is serious business. The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are by no means a professional consultation or a codes and standards interpretation. Be sure to contact a licensed professional.
If you are getting involved with fire protection and or life safety. Thanks again. And we'll see you next time.