NFPA Joins Battle of New Code Standards
As a response to the growing riff between the National Fire Protection Association and the International Code Council over code unification, NFPA voted to write its own building code by 2002 to compete with ICC's code.
NFPA announced that it will develop the NFPA Building Code as an addition to its Consensus Codes set, a full set of codes and standards for the built environment.
"For some time now, we have been evaluating whether or not it would be necessary for NFPA to provide a full set of codes, and specifically a building code," said NFPA President George D. Miller. "We have heard from NFPA members, our other constituents, and legislative and agency officials that they want NFPA to develop a building code utilizing our full, open consensus process."
NFPA allows building product manufacturers and others to vote on code matters in a process sanctioned by the American National Standards Institute. ANSI requires balanced representation on committees and reconciliation of negative ballots to prevent manufacturers from gaining an undue advantage. Last year, NFPA broke ranks with ICC, mostly over ICC only allowing public safety officials to vote on code matters.
At its March 2000 meeting, the NFPA Board of Directors voted unanimously to go forward and directed the NFPA Standards Council to establish a new project for a consensus building code at its April 2000 meeting. In addition, the Board also committed to addressing firefighter safety in the development of the code.
The NFPA Building Code will be issued in 2002. "Our position has been clear and firm from the very beginning," Miller continued. "We will not compromise NFPA's ANSI-approved, open consensus process, and we intend to work with our existing partners and other organizations to ensure their expertise forms the basis of each document in the Consensus Codes set."
The NFPA Building Code will be developed in the NFPA consensus process and will be based upon the EPCOT Building Code, promulgated by Reedy Creek Improvement District, whose requirements cover everything from dwellings to public occupancies to power generation facilities. The EPCOT code was established nearly 30 years ago.
"Under the EPCOT code, our loss history has been extremely impressive," said Tom Moses, Reedy Creek Vice President of Administration. "The EPCOT Building Code references numerous NFPA documents and is coordinated with the EPCOT Fire Prevention Code, which tracks closely with NFPA 1, Fire Prevention Code. We see this as an appropriate and highly credible foundation for NFPA's building code."
NFPA will continue to collaborate with its existing partners in the development of the Consensus Codes set, including the American Gas Association (AGA), with whom NFPA jointly publishes NFPA 54, National Fuel Gas Code; the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), with whom NFPA signed a cooperative memorandum of understanding (MOU) in August 1999; and the Western Fire Chiefs Association, with whom NFPA recently signed an MOU to produce a joint NFPA 1/Uniform Fire Code.