Category: Industry News

Group A Hearings for ICC Code Development Complete

For the first time in its code development cycle, the ICC has made an online, cloud-based system available for code collaboration. Open the to the general public, the 2015 Committee Action Hearings for Group A ended at approximately 7 pm on Monday, April 27. The unofficial results can be viewed here, which breaks the fire codes down by section and lists the Committee Action.

Next up: the official committee action results, followed by the opening of the Assembly Floor Motion Voting period in May.

The proposed changes to the 2015 Group A Codes discussed by Committee are also available online for review.


Google Wireless Service Might Come with Free Global Roaming

We first wrote about Google’s Wireless Service launch back in January. Google is now reportedly negotiating a deal with Hutchison Whampoa, who owns the cellular service provider Three, which operates in Italy, the UK, Europe and Asia. Earlier this year, Google was negotiating a purchase of excess wireless capacity from Sprint & T-Mobile to become a “Mobile Virtual Network Operator,” or MVNO in the style of carriers like Tracfone.

With the move to secure free global roaming, Google reveals an agenda outside taking on entrenched carriers like Verizon, by redefining the possibilities available to mobile customers. Though Google’s move to become a global MVNO may push prices down across the board, so far the project is still in its infancy, and experts are predicting it may take some time for Google’s entrance to the wireless service world to make any waves in the marketplace.

Devastating Fires in Condos & Apartment Buildings Built to Current Codes

In the wake of many vicious fires that have broken out recently in Los Angeles, New Jersey, and on the Eastern Seaboard, critics are pointing out that many of these fast-moving, devastating fires occurred in buildings that were technically up-to-code.

In Rhode Island, the 138-unit Westgate Condominium Building had a working fire alarm and “no outstanding deficiencies or violations” of the state code when it was engulfed in flames in early March, as reported by the Providence Journal.

In several of the recent apartment and condominium fires, a lightweight, wooden structure that was fully up to the prescribed building code allowed the fire to spread and quickly overtake the building. In most instances, the loss of life was minimized by up-to-code alarm and fire suppression systems. As the ICC is now entering its new code development cycle for the 2015-2017 IFC, the model code maker announced a new online forum for code proposal changes.

Princeton, NJ Mayor Calls for Changes to Current Fire Code

Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert sent a letter to the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), outlining recommendations for changes to the current code for multi-family housing, in a bid to improve fire safety.

The DCA is reviewing New Jersey’s construction and fire codes, with input from state municipalities. Interest has been high in the aftermath of a devastating apartment fire in Edgewater, especially as the developer, AvalonBay, is currently building a new rental complex on the former site of the Princeton Hospital. Of particular concern¬† is the current code’s use of lightweight wood construction for multi-family units, which allowed for the quick spread of fire and widespread damage sustained in the Edgewater fire.


Sunrise Beach, MO to update Fire Code

A small village in Missouri with a progressive Fire Protection District, Sunrise Beach, has just held its first reading of proposed updated to the current fire code. Citing the safety of citizens and an effort to improve the district’s insurance service organization rating, Fire Chief Dennis Reilly spearheaded the effort to revise the building code.

The board plans to formally adopt the new ordinances March 23, with an effective date of June 23, 2015.

Massachusetts Adopts New Fire Code Effective January 2015

Massachusetts has adopted a new Comprehensive Fire Safety Code that took effect January 1, 2015. The new code is largely based on the National Fire Prevention Association’s (NFPA) Model Fire Code, with Massachusetts amendments. In the thirty days since the code took effect, fire officials have reported a smooth transition, thanks in part to the continual, decades-long evolution of the state fire code.

The new code marks a departure for Massachusetts, which had previously relied on a homegrown local code. The move to a national code creates consistency with other states without compromising safety, and state specific amendments were created to cover gaps in the universal code.

Maine Works with Building Owners to Improve Fire Safety published an excellent story on the importance of fire codes in saving lives. Following a year of deadly fires, public safety officials in Maine have been working proactively with building owners to improve fire safety, and bring their buildings up to code. 25 people died in fires in Maine last year, and non-functioning smoke detectors were a major contributing factor. No working smoke detectors were found at the scene of a Portland fire that claimed six lives. More recently, another massive apartment fire broke out in Augusta. The building was up to code, and all residents escaped with their lives –¬† a testament to the effectiveness of fire safety codes.

The full story can be found here.

New York Considers Lifting Gas Station Fire Suppression System Requirement

The New York State Code Council is considering lifting the statewide requirement for fire suppression systems in gas stations. Hung overhead, the systems have heat detectors that respond to any sudden rise in temperature by releasing a spray of fire-retardant chemicals. Fire officials credit these systems for saving lives – whether the fire is fully extinguished or suppressed, the system buys first responders and firefighters additional response time, and bystanders have more opportunity to escape.

The state has not taken an official position, but points out the measure has never been included in the International Fire Code. The vote is expected to occur on February 2. 2015.