Fire Side Chat with Shane Clary
How the ICC Sees the Code Process
Those in the fire/life-safety industry should be conversant in the processes both ICC and NFPA use for code and standards development. As the ICC process is open to all for the submittal of changes or additions, those who use its codes should not be shy about submitting proposals if they see a need for a change. Read on to better understand how ICC functions.
NFPA Vs. ICC Pros and Cons
I spend most of my time within the NFPA process, and for the most part prefer the more deliberative consensus approach that organization uses. I particularly like the ability to have a full debate among the Technical Committee members at both the proposal and comment meetings.
That stated, there is something to be said for the time limits in place within the ICC process. It tends to force the speakers to be more focused in their discussions. As a former chair of a NFPA Technical Committee, I can remember a discussion on one sentence within NFPA 72 that went on for more than eight hours! The Code Action Committee meetings do allow for more casual discussions on proposals and comments.
However, I am opposed to the position ICC takes in who is permitted to participate in the voting process. The notion that a building or fire code official does not have financial interests in what changes are made to a code is absurd. I have on several occasions witnessed changes made to a code that do not increase fire, building or life safety but do incur costs for the building owner. It is my position any user of the I-Codes who has a vested interest should be allowed to have a vote on the final actions.
Shane Clary, Ph.D., has more than 37 years of security and fire alarm industry experience. He serves on a number of NFPA technical committees, and is vice president of Codes and Standards Compliance for Pancheco, Calif.-based Bay Alarm Co. He can be reached at email@example.com
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