NEW YORK CITY-The first 19 proposed changes to model building codes based upon and consistent with the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s World Trade Center recommendations were submitted to the International Code Council. They were used as templates for codes legislated, implemented and enforced by state and local jurisdictions. The NIST released the recommendations last October.”Taken together, they are a robust, reasonable and appropriate set of advancements and, if adopted, would represent a significant improvement in public safety over current practice,” says WTC lead investigator Shyam Sunder.

The 19 proposed changes were submitted by building code experts associated with two ICC committees, the National Institute of Building Sciences and the US General Services Administration. They address areas such as increased resistance to building collapse from fire and other incidents, use of spray-applied fire resistive materials, performance and redundancy of fire protection systems, elevators for use by first responders and evacuating occupants, the number and location of stairwells, exit path markings, and fuel oil storage/piping.

“NIST welcomes and fully respects the ongoing debate among the professional and building official communities as they consider these proposals for adoption,” adds Sunder. All ICC members will have the opportunity to vote on the proposals at hearings scheduled for this fall. All changes passed, and those which did not pass but for which public comments are received, will then be up for approval and inclusion in the ICC codes when ICC government member representatives meet in the spring of 2007.

The original report called for action in the areas of increased structural integrity, enhanced fire endurance of structures and new methods for fire resistant design of structures. It also recommended enhanced active fire protection, improved building evacuation, improved emergency response, improved procedures and practices as well as education and training. NIST called the study “the most detailed examination of building failure ever conducted.”

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