Recently the review and advisory council met and issued their divinely inspired decree on what updates in the 2015 series of the I-Codes are worthy of adoption fir the unique Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Of the 1900 changes the Vulcan High Council found a staggering 16 code changes that are essential to the safety of our citizens. I am not sure how code officials are going to keep up with this monumental shift, but here are brief descriptions of the modifications to get you started:
G28-12 - This makes the important distinction that commercial kitchens that are 2,500 square feet or less will be considered B occupancies and those above this threshold will be considered F-1. (Estimated Lives Saved: 3,456)
G30-12 - Clarifies that tutoring centers, martial arts studios, gymnastics studios, and similar uses shall be considered B occupancies, except of course when they are A occupancies, but should never be considered E occupancies. Never. (Estimated Lives Saved: 1,000,000).
G227-12 - Reinforces that the replacement of windows in R-2 & R-3 occupancies where there is not a change in occupancy does not require the opening to be enlarged; rather, the most compliant similar style of window that can be installed in the existing opening should be used. (Estimated Lives Saved: At least one code official)
RE6-13 - Defines insulated siding. (Polar Bears Saved: .25)
RE58-13 - Allows vertical access doors from conditioned to unconditioned spaces to meet fenestration requirements as opposed to R-Value requirements. (Polar Bears Saved: -1)
RE60-13 - Permits floor cavity insulation to be installed at the top or bottom of the cavity. (Polar Bears Saved: 0)
RE195-13 - Provides method for calculating insulated siding when determining an R-Value for an assembly. (Polar Bears Saved: .50)
F144-13 - Allows Fire Code Officials to accept automatic water misting systems as an alternative to automatic sprinkler systems in certain cases with restrictions. (Estimated Lives Saved: Does marine life count?)
F359-13 - Makes it clear that it is not a great idea to install ionization or photo-electric smoke alarms near permanently installed cooking equipment. (Estimated Lives Saved: 100 MENSA candidates.)
M106-12 - Deletes the requirement for a Type I hood above light duty cooking equipment that produces smoke or grease laden vapors. This confirms that toaster are usually only dangerous when you attempt to use them while in the bath tub. (Estimated Lives Saved: 0)
RB68-13 - Would not require any penetration protection for exterior walls with a fire separation distance of 3 feet or more. (Estimated Lives Saved: 0)
RB172-13 - Would allow spray foam to be used at perimeter joist spaces without thermal protection. (Estimated Lives Saved: 0)
RB262-13 - A private company was able to get another drawing of a specific lateral deck load connection device in the code; thus, this is now an officially approved connection. (Estimated Lives Saved: Multiple drunk dancing deck denizens.)
RB264-13 - Expands on the prescriptive requirements for residential decks. (Estimated Lives Saved: This is actually a great addition, and I encourage PACO members to hand deliver these regulations to their local Home Depot and Lowes. While you are there take a bat to wherever they utilize that awful deck designer software.)
RM34-13 - Makes it clear that the make up air required for residential kitchen exhaust systems greater than 400 cfm can use natural ventilation via gravity systems. (Estimated Lives Saved: Countless.)
RM53-13 - Clarifies that snap lock and button lock duct joints need additional sealing. (Estimated Lives Saved: 5000)
Whew! I know I am asking for a raise for having to learn all of this stuff. Who's with me?
Now, don't take any of the snark in the wrong way. I have no issue with the amount of time and effort put into the individual code changes by those whom have an interest in the code development process; rather, the sole source of my derision is the RAC's inability to perform their accepted duty. Yes, accepted duty. No one wants to hear about how much time it takes for you to evaluate all of these code changes. If you feel you are unable to complete the stated task, then step down and let someone willing take your place; furthermore, stop acting like these changes are sprung on you at the last second when the code development process occurs over a number of years.
I wouldn't even have a major issue with the RAC rejecting controversial changes like residential sprinklers, and allowing that to be decided at the local amendment level, but to just reject essentially entire editions of national standard codes because a few items are a nuisance to small portions of the population is exactly what James Madison was so adamantly against in his contributions to the Federalist Papers during the founding of our country.
Unfortunately the code adoption process in PA continues to be a joke, but hopefully enough people will begin to see through the hollow excuses of the RAC. Until then I suppose you can look on the bright side of the savings you will experience on not having to purchase new code books.