The California Building Standards Commission rescinded its selection of the National Fire Protection Association's NFPA 5000 general building code, as well as NFPA's fire and residential codes, which were to become effective in 2006. The commission's March 16 vote to reverse its July 2003 selection of NFPA 5000 for the state's next building code means state agencies can now begin adopting the rival "I-Codes" of the International Code Council, the predominant choices throughout the country.
At one time, Quincy, MA-based NFPA and Falls Church, VA-based ICC collaborated to develop a single national code, but they split in 1998 over the approach. ICC gave precedence to the views of architects and code enforcers, while NFPA's code developers gave greater weight to the views of vendors and unions. Critics claimed NFPA 5000's many references to other codes would make enforcement unwieldy. Others said that either code would need state amendments, but NFPA 5000 would be more difficult to work with. Gary Keith, NFPA's vice president responsible for the building codes campaign, says California's move "is not going to change our strategy at this point." He says California's action is more about "politics than the technical review."