Plenty to Be Thankful For

When I look back at our great accomplishments during the International Code Council (ICC) Code Hearing in Baltimore last month, I feel elated, proud, but most importantly thankful. Elated for our victory that will better protect our citizens and make...


When I look back at our great accomplishments during the International Code Council (ICC) Code Hearing in Baltimore last month, I feel elated, proud, but most importantly thankful. Elated for our victory that will better protect our citizens and make our communities safer for many years to come. Proud to be a member of the fire service and to witness the depth of commitment and the level of the fire service participation in the code development process. When I look back at our great accomplishments during the International Code Council (ICC) Code Hearing in Baltimore last month, I feel elated, proud, but most importantly thankful.

Elated for our victory that will better protect our citizens and make our communities safer for many years to come. Proud; to be a member of the fire service and to witness the depth of commitment and the level of the fire service participation in the code development process. And thankful for the strong support from our fellow public servants, the building officials, who are committed to the safety of their communities just as we are.

The building officials proved that although they rarely receive the well-deserved recognition for their efforts in protecting our public through enforcement of the construction codes, they indeed are the true silent defenders in our communities. Undoubtedly, without their support, we would not have been able to succeed.

This triumph forged an even stronger alliance between the fire service and the building officials. This was a great victory not only for us, but most importantly, for our citizens.

There are hundreds of dedicated fire service members that deserve our sincere gratitude for their long-term commitment and participation in this grand event. And, it is of utmost importance to recognize the contributions of our building official peers and thank them for their support. We must not lose sight that, as public servants, fire service and building officials serve the same master, the public.

As a result of this cooperation and collaboration between the fire officials and building officials, our public scored a solid victory in Baltimore.

As you recall, last year, at the ICC's Final Action Hearing in Minneapolis, we made a historic and monumental accomplishment for the safety of our public all across the nation. Two of the most important proposals that were voted were the requirement for installation of carbon monoxide detectors and also the requirement to install residential fire sprinkler systems in all new homes.

But since then, our well-respected opponents, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has shown their intense dissatisfaction with those great life safety accomplishments and has fought against them every step of the way.

After the NAHB's appeal to the ICC Board of Directors failed last December, NAHB shifted their focus and started mounting pressure on the states and the local jurisdictions, to prevent them from adopting the 2009 edition of the International Residential Code (IRC); or maybe at the very least persuade them to yank out the residential fire sprinkler requirements out of their local codes.

The NAHB was successful in a handful of states; Michigan and Texas being the biggest. And in the other states and jurisdictions that they were not successful, instead, they used the delay tactic. There, the NAHB has persuaded the building officials to take a wait and see approach. They wanted the building officials to wait until after the code hearing in Baltimore where there were several proposals (RB53, RB54, RB 56, and RB57) aimed at eliminating the residential fire sprinkler requirements in the 2012 edition of the codes.

NAHB was hoping that since four out of the 11 voting members of the ICC's Residential Building Code Committee (RBCC) were appointed directly by them, and considering that two of the remaining members had consistently voted with them in opposing the residential fire sprinklers, that NAHB would have a good chance of disapproving the residential fire sprinkler requirement at the committee level. That would have then put the burden on us once again, to overturn the committee's decision by obtaining a two-thirds majority floor vote.

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