ICC Develops Model Building and Fire Codes

by | Code Revisions

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The International Code Council (ICC) develops model building construction and fire prevention codes that are adopted by states and jurisdictions. These model codes are revised every three years.

The ICC appoints a Fire Code Action Committee (Fire-CAC) to develop code change proposals.For the next edition of the model codes for any matters of concern to the fire service; with the explicit responsibility to review the fire safety chapters in the International Building Code (IBC) and the entire International Fire Code (IFC).

The Fire-CAC roster includes ICC members from the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) – Fire and Life Safety Section Executive Board, the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM), National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) and other fire service representatives, building officials and industry code experts.  Under the leadership of the F-CAC Chairman and Vice Chairman, with administrative support by ICC staff from the Government Relations and Technical Services Departments, the Fire-CAC created a special Work Group to address needed changes and updates to the IFC Chapter 31 Tents and Other Membrane Structures.


This Work Group of fire code officials and industry experts/stakeholders initiated a comprehensive review and update of the IFC requirements for Tents, Trade Shows and Special Events.  The Work Group, consisting of approximately 40 stakeholders.

“Meeting regularly from April 2015 through September 2016 to:”

  • Review existing IFC requirements,
  • Identify gaps in the code for safely mitigating hazards associated with the installation of tents and membrane structures, large outdoor gatherings for special events and indoor trade shows.
  • Develop code proposals that will effectively address identified hazards in each of these categories.
  • This Work Group developed five code change proposals for the 2018 International Fire Code (IFC) that were approved and submitted by the Fire-CAC as a proponent.

“These changes addressed:”

  • Structural requirements for tents for more than 1000 occupants or larger than 7500 so. ft.
  • References ANSI E1.21 for special event structures
  • Added safety and emergency planning requirements for special outdoor events
  • Reorganized the chapter into a user-friendly format

All 5 Fire-CAC proposals were ultimately approved through the ICC Governmental Member Voting Process and will appear in the 2018 IFC, Chapter 31.

In subsequent posts (blogs), we will explain these changes in greater detail and discuss methods to achieve compliance with these new requirements.

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