International Code Council  (ICC) Responds to Congressional Request About the Proposed Code Development Process Change for the  International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).
As previously reported in End Use Codes and Standards Updates (see December 24, 2020 Update), the process for the development of the IECC is being considered for changing from a code development process to a standard development process.  This change would essential replace the IECC development process to be conducted using an American National Standards balanced committee process replacing the current ICC process that results in a final vote on the IECC proposed revisions being conducted by an on-line vote. The proposed change has been opposed by a number of stakeholders who are suggesting it limits input from ICC governmental voters who are the only voters eligible to participate in the final vote on a proposal.  AGA staff believes that moving the IECC process from a code to a standard is a positive development and supports the change. Related to this issue, proponents for not changing the process have been supporting media stories that present their arguments for a status quo and retaining the current process.  Now the US congress has become involved in this issue. As an example, in a January 19, 2021 letter,  the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce contacted the International Code Council to request information about its code development process and specifically, the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). On February 2,2021, the ICC released information to the Committee that explains their role in helping communities around the world become more energy efficient. Download the ICC response here. BECS Committee members are encouraged to review both the January 19, 2021 U.S House Committee on Energy and Commerce request of the ICC and the February 2, 2021 ICC response. We will keep you informed as this process continues and it is expected that the ICC Board of Directors will be making a decision on the IECC process development change from a code to a standard in the very near future.
The National Acad­emies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Prereleases “Accelerating Decarbonization of the U.S. Energy System,” Attacking Natural Gas Supply and the Direct Use of Natural Gas.
According to the announcement of the study, the report:
“… identifies key technological and socio-economic goals that must be achieved to put the United States on the path to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The report presents a policy blueprint outlining critical near-term actions for the first decade (2021-2030) of this 30-year effort, including ways to support communities that will be most impacted by the transition.”
Although the study report is to be made available without cost when downloaded in PDF format, links to downloading the report are not yet active. “Consensus Study Report Highlights” of the report are available here.  Among the “lessons learned” is a need for “repurposing existing fossil fuel infrastructure [for] reducing the potential for stranded assets and workers,” but more directly to direct use of natural gas, specific sector policy recommendations include promulgation of “manufacturing standards for zero-emission appliances by 2050 while continuing to establish appliance minimum efficiency standards.”  The practical impact of such manufacturing standards would be to eliminate natural gas appliances from the new construction and appliance replacement markets.  Press coverage of the study prerelease note that “social factors could be the final barrier to deep carbonization” and point to one study participant stating that “without policies to ensure an equitable transition…the U. S. risks ‘yellow vest’ social uprisings that could derail decarbonization.”  When the study report is released in full, a “Friday Update” will provide a link to the free PDF version and provide preliminary review comments.
Proposed ASHRAE 62.2 Ban of Unvented Combustion Heaters Fails in the Continuation Letter Ballot Process.
By one vote, the proposed ban failed by not receiving the required majority of SSPC 62.2 members of votes received (15 affirmative and 15 negative).  The interpretation of the voting results has been questioned by proponents of the ban, but ASHRAE staff has responded with citations of the ASHRAE voting procedures identifying the need for a majority vote for the proposal to go forward out of the Committee and further within the ASHRAE standards development process.  Proponents have since sought to extend the voting period with the expectation that abstaining and non-voting Committee members would vote for the ban and achieve the required majority.  Procedurally, there appears to be no basis for extending the voting on this standards action.  AGA voted in the negative on the proposed ban, offering the following “reason statement,” which is required of all negative voters:
  • “In balloting this ban of unvented gas heating appliances, SSPC is playing ‘bait and switch’ with stakeholders, the ASHRAE Standards Committee, and the ASHRAE Board of Directors.  All technical discussion of coverage of unvented gas heating appliances over the past six or seven years has been around sizing and other material restrictions on the installation of these appliances, supplemental ventilation that would continue to permit their installation, combustion products and concentrations of concern, and other issues that in no way suggested that a proposal to ban the products under Standard 62.2 would be seriously considered as a standards action.  Then, and after two cycles through the Standards Committee and the Board with proposed requirements short of a ban, this standards action to ban the products is undertaken within a single SSPC meeting and without further technical deliberation or input from a cognizant subcommittee.  This is totally inappropriate behavior by an ASHRAE SSPC.
  • The banned products are currently design certified to the ANSI-recognized standard, Z21.11.2 for emissions of the combustion products of ongoing concern, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide.  Additional combustion products including water vapor (and relevant dewpoints) and carbon dioxide are addressed in technical analyses presented by the appliance industry to SSPC 62.2.  But neither these submissions nor proposals to modify Standard Z21.11.2 to ‘more appropriate’ emissions proposal were never offered to the consensus process by SSPC 62.2 or the proponents of the ban who serve on the SSPC.  If these proponents were indeed sincere about emissions concerns or shortcomings of the standard, they would have engaged in discussion of the analyses submitted and with the Z21.11.2 Technical Subcommittee to pursue changes to the Standard.  Cynically, the proponents seek to regulate the products through an indirect way, and in the process and by their logic, they are leaving others in the general public ‘at risk.’
  • Manufacturers of the products have been disenfranchised in the handling of this standards action and throughout the process of development and review of the preceding Addendum ‘a’ since they have been denied the opportunity to review the proponents’ proposals and materials because they are not SSPC members.  To the extent that technical background materials have been provided, those opportunities have been provided after the drafting of restrictive language and at the convenience of the proponents.  Additionally, this treatment of background materials and standard actions has been brought before the full SSPC when it should have been vetted by a cognizant subcommittee and debate properly held among interested parties.  Instead, this standards action, in particular, was proffered only before the SSPC and voted on by individuals who, by my interpretation, just wanted the SSPC to get off the subject and move on to other business.
  • Jurisdictions adopting versions of Standard 62.2 containing this ban will face restraint of trade legal challenges based upon the reasons stated above and the unjustified restriction of an consensus standards recognized product, which according to industry experts has over 23 million units shipped, most of which are installed in occupancies within the scope of Standard 62.2.
  • The published responses to negative votes at the meeting on January 28, 2021 when the ban was passed by voice vote were authored by the Chairman of SSPC 62.2 and not agreed to by the SSPC.  Exercising this approach, the Chairman took undue liberties with the Chairman’s role and introduced bias into the continuation letter ballot process.”
AGA’s comments focused upon issues that ASHRAE would face at its highest levels by promulgating a product ban under its standards.  Other negative commenters focused on other considerations such as standards development process issues in development of the ban along-side SSPC approved standards actions for regulation of the products and the disproportionate time and effort on unvented combustion heaters by the SPCC at the expense of other standards work.  On the issue of potential  restraint of trade that an adopting authority would face in implementing a ban of these appliances, unvented combustion heater manufacturers are currently investigating legal relief in this eventuality since, even while the ban has been avoided at this stage, it is expected that proponents within SSPC 62.2 will make additional efforts toward adoption of a ban.
New Buildings Institute (NBI) Webinar, “Getting to Zero Carbon Neutral Codes” Slides Posted to NBI Website and AGA Codes and Standards Committee Website.
Following up on last week’s “Friday Update” coverage of the NBI webinar, the slides for the presentation are now posted on the Codes and Standards Committee website here and can also be accessed through the NBI website:  The NBI portal also provides a link to watch the webinar in full and links to a number of other useful news items under “Recent Posts.”
State Codes Activity Update
[This is a weekly feature of the “Friday Update” covering state code calendar activities as presented by the online utility “Fiscal Note,” which is sponsored by APGA and AGA Code and Standards. AGA staff continues to request your comments on retaining this feature for future End Use Codes and Standards Update]
Recent Activity Alerts
On January 14, 2021, the State Building Code Council of Hawaii released a press statement with the Hawaii State Energy Code Amendments to the 2018 IECC, which was adopted on December 15, 2020. They also announced that no later than December 15, 2021, the design of all state building construction must comply with the 2018 IECC and attached amendments. Further, no later than December 15, 2022, each county in Hawaii must amend and adopt the 2018 IECC and amendments to the code. If by December 15, 2022, a county does not amend the 2018 IECC and attached amendments, it shall become applicable as an interim county energy code.
The Board of Building Regulations and Standards discussed and voted on the draft adoption schedule for the next building code edition.
The Plumbing Board held a status update on proposed amendments to Chapter 4714, proposed adoption of 2018 UPC with amendments, three corrections, lines 4.17, 37.16-37.17 and 55.4.
The 2021 International Fire Code Technical Advisory Group members and all interested parties will review existing IFC State Amendments WAC 51-54A. They will also continue discussion on WA House Bill 2701, relating to inspection and testing of fire and smoke control systems and dampers.
Recent and Upcoming Code Body Meetings
Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission
State Plumbing Board
Building Code Council TAG Meeting: Fire Code
West Virginia
Fire Commission
Building Code Council TAG Meeting: Building Code
Building Code Council TAG Meeting: Fire Code
Indiana Code Update Exploratory Committee
Elevator Code Committee
Building Code Council TAG Meeting: Building Code
Building Code Adoption Committee
Building Standard Commission
Building Code Council TAG Meeting: Fire Code
Building Code Council
Bills with Recent Activity
Bill #
Bill Title
Primary Sponsor(s)
Last Action
Last  Action Date
Relating To The State Building Code Council
Dru Kanuha, Stanley Chang, Gil Keith-Agaran, Sharon Moriwaki
Passed First Reading
Requires the council to consult with builders of residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. Requires the council to adopt the International Building Code every six years starting with the 2018 edition. Adds two voting council members, representing the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties and the construction trade unions, respectively.
Relating To Agricultural Buildings
David Tarnas, Troy Hashimoto, Greggor Ilagan, Lisa Kitagawa, Nicole Lowen
Re-referred to AGR, CPC, referral sheet 2
This bill increases the  maximum area for each agricultural shade cloth structure, cold frame, and greenhouse that could qualify the structure for an exemption from building permit and building code requirements.
Single-family Housing Modifications
Ray Ward
House Comm – Held : House Business and Labor Committee
The bill provides for statewide amendments to the International Residential Code related to accessory dwelling units. This bill also requires municipalities and counties to classify certain accessory dwelling units as a permitted land use and prohibits municipalities and counties from establishing restrictions or requirements for the construction or use of certain accessory dwelling units.
2020 edition of the national electrical code
Introduced, placed on calendar
Megan Jones
A bill for an act requiring the electrical examining board within the division of state fire marshal of the department of public safety to adopt the 2020 edition of the national electrical code and including effective date provisions.
Revise certain references to the International Building Code
First read in House and referred to Commerce and Energy H.J. 153
Ernie Otten
This bill amends section 11-10-5. New construction standards–Building code ordinance. It provides that if a governing body of any local unit of government adopts any ordinance prescribing standards for new construction, the ordinance shall comply with the 2021 edition of the International Building Code as published by the International Code Council, Incorporated. The governing body may amend, modify, or delete any portion of the International Building Code before enacting such an ordinance. Additional deletions, modifications, and amendments to the municipal ordinance may be made by the governing body and are effective upon their adoption and filing with the municipal finance officer. Additional deletions, modifications, and amendments to the county ordinance may be made by the governing body and are effective upon their adoption and filing with the county auditor. No ordinance may apply to mobile or manufactured homes as defined in chapter 32-7A that are constructed in compliance with the applicable prevailing standards of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development at the time of construction. Additionally, the design standard for any new construction commenced after July 1, 2021, within the boundaries of any local unit of government that has not adopted an ordinance prescribing standards for new construction pursuant to § 11-10-5 shall be based on the 2021 edition of the International Building Code as published by the International Code Council, Incorporated.
Construction Codes Advisory Council membership modified
Authors added Ecklund
Luke Frederick, Rob Ecklund
This bill modifies the membership of the Construction Codes Advisory Council, adding a member from the energy conservation industry and a building accessibility advocate.
Relative to ratification of amendments to the state building code and state fire code
Public Hearing: 02/08/2021
Carol McGuire
This bill ratifies certain amendments to the state building code and state fire code adopted by the fire marshal and state building code review board in 2015, 2016, 2019, and 2020.
Directs the state fire prevention and building code council to update the state fire prevention and building code and the state energy conservation construction code
Referred to Government Operations
Pam Hunter
Directs the state fire prevention and building code council to update the state fire prevention and building code and the state energy conservation construction code within 12 months of the publication of any updated or revised edition of the international and national codes relating thereto, so as to ensure that the state’s codes reflect such revisions and updates.
Relating To The State Building Code Council
Passed 1st Reading
Stanley Chang
Requires the state building code council to consider the impact of building codes and standards on the cost of single- and multi-family homes built in the State when considering whether to adopt a code or standard; and include with its annual written report to the governor a financial impact assessment on each code and standard adopted by the council.
Uniform Building Code Commission Amendments
House Business and Labor Committee
Curt Bramble, Mike Schultz
This bill adopts the 2020 edition of the National Electrical Code; amends statewide amendments to the International Building Code and the International Residential Code to reference the 2020 edition of the National Electrical Code; amends statewide amendments to the National Electrical Code to update the reference of a deleted section; and makes technical and conforming changes.