WASHINGTON, DC - The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) secured initial approval of its key proposed amendments to the 2015 editions of the International Residential Code (IRC), International Existing Building Code (IEBC), and International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) during nine days of code hearings conducted by the International Code Council (ICC) that concluded earlier this month in Dallas, TX.
Among the improvements to the building codes that will result from WDMA's amendments are:
- Greater clarity in requirements for window opening control devices and applicability of emergency escape and rescue requirements for replacement windows;
- The use of skylights to meet natural ventilation requirements;
- New provisions allowing skylights to use the same structural compliance methods as windows and doors;
- New provisions allowing the use of WDMA's comparative analysis standard as an alternative structural compliance method for all fenestration products; and
- The closing of a loophole in the IECC that arbitrarily applied more stringent requirements to all non-metal fenestration products in commercial and multifamily buildings with higher window-to-wall ratios.
In addition, other proposals actively supported by WDMA were also approved, including:
- New provisions covering the use of dynamic glazing in residential construction;
- New provisions for fenestration flashing materials; and
- Elimination of provisions that didn't give credit for using more efficient fenestration than what is required under the IECC performance compliance path.
"Collectively these amendments will provide greater flexibility for builders, remodelers and for fenestration manufacturers and they are also better for homeowners, so we are very pleased with the approval of them by ICC's code development committees," said Jeff Inks, WDMA Vice President of Code and Regulatory Affairs.
Equally important was the disapproval of many proposed amendments opposed by WDMA. Some of the most problematic proposed amendments voted down were:
- Unjustifiable increases in the stringency of fenestration requirements for residential construction;
- Reintroduction of more stringent requirements only for non-metal fenestration products in commercial and mid- to high-rise residential construction; and
- Overly broad provisions exempting replacement fenestration from the minimum efficiency requirements of the IECC.
"These proposals would have resulted in unnecessary cost increases, bias against non-metal fenestration products, and unnecessary exemptions from applicable efficiency requirements, so disapproval of them was entirely appropriate," said Inks.
The next challenge for WDMA is to ensure that these decisions are upheld at the ICC Public Comment Hearings where final action on them will be taken by ICC code official members. Those hearings are scheduled for October 2-10, 2013 in Atlantic City, NJ.
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