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The technical and functional review of the 2012 editions of the International Building Code (IBC Chapters 1 and 34), International Fire Code (IFC Chapter 1) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 1 Fire Code and NFPA 101 Chapters 1) and consideration of the future cost impact to the State of Michigan in adopting a single state fire code.


The purpose and function of the fire code as a regulatory tool is a means to evaluate existing buildings, structures and processes while assuring reasonable life and fire safety provisions are intact and maintained in varying types of occupancies and uses. In review of both the International Fire Code (IFC) and National Fire Protection Association Fire Code (NFPA 1) 2012 editions, it is our task group’s opinion that both codes have technical merit.

Some considerable differences occur in the administration of the codes and the potentials for varying financial impacts should one fire code be chosen versus the other. These points are noted in the observations and recommendations sections of this report. The task group has also provided substantiation material references related to the observations and recommendations made in this report.


1. The adopted building code establishes provisions through its administration sections that allow the building official to be directly in charge of the entire family of International codes. This includes a number of direct references to the IFC. While generally considered for new construction only, this allowance includes the continuing maintenance of the building which creates the potential

to be applied throughout the life of a building also. 1

This action has a potential to create hardships between inspection authorities and or departments affecting future fire department concerns or interests with existing structures undergoing building or process changes in addition to poor customer services for business and industry.

1 IBC 2012 References

  • 2. While in the new construction phase and during the administration of the code, logical arguments have been made for using the International Fire Code (IFC) with the International Building Code (IBC) simply due to it being a companion document for designers and building officials use. Arguments have also been made in relation to additional burdens being placed on design professionals and building officials by having to purchase and or use additional code books.

A comparison document developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) clearly shows that all matters referenced in the IFC from the IBC for new construction are also found in the NFPA 1 Fire Code. This fact clearly indicates that all matters referenced in the fire code through the building code for “new” construction can also be found in NFPA 1. This also eliminates the argument for conflict or an additional need for a companion document.

Both organizations allow free viewing access to each of their codes. This allowance reduces any financial impact to design professionals or other disciplinary code enforcing officials who may have concerns with purchasing additional code books.

While there may be minor technical differences amongst the codes, national code development has made great strides to bring all codes in line with each other. Any differences could be addressed through administrative rules developing processes or simply creating striking amendments as done in other states using NFPA 1. In reality, designers and building officials will use more than just the IBC for code analysis on new construction projects.

  • 3. Reviewing the technical and functional merits of both the IFC and NFPA 1, the task group has found that both codes are suitable for fire safety concerns however, NFPA 1 is a more comprehensive and definitive document for existing buildings and applications where fire service operational needs and fire protection needs are necessary thus lending itself as a better maintenance document for the fire service. 2

NFPA 1 provides a more comprehensive approach to fire safety as demonstrated by a definitive breakdown of specific safety measures for operations and processes within specific types of occupancies and for various building services found in Chapters 4, 10, 11 and 20 through 75. In comparison, the IFC does not address growing hazards associated with Photovoltaic Systems covered extensively by NFPA 1 in Chapter 11. NFPA 1 and its companion document NFPA 101 provide a clear path for fire safety regulatory needs within existing structures.

2 IFC and NFPA 1 Scoping

Using the IFC could create situations where references back to the International Building Code could factor into using the International Existing Building Code (IEBC) and International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) for regulations in existing structures creating complex and time consuming code analysis. In comparison the IEBC and IPMC may actually in some instances provide lower levels of fire safety in renovations due to built in allowances given in each code for various defined levels of alteration and renovation.

  • 4. The code development processes in both code bodies are similar with regards to allowances for any interest to participate in the development process however during the final action phases of both code development processes, a true consensus process is lost in the ICC. 3

The ICC process only permits approved governmental member representatives (regulatory officials) and honororary members to vote on the final codes and or those modified versions of the code that are acted on by floor motions during the final action hearing now called the public hearing. This differs from the NFPA process where the entire process including final voting actions remains open to all members and member stakeholders to vote on.

  • 5. The professional merits as recognized in the authority to enforce the codes differ between NFPA 1 and the IFC. The IFC allows an appointment process for a fire code official in charge of the fire code and additional deputies to carry out the duties in the enforcement of the code. There are no prerequisites for qualifications, knowledge, training or fire service experiences to apply the IFC. This action differs from the NFPA 1 fire code in as much as the NFPA 1 fire code requires those tasked in the application and enforcement of the code to meet national standards for those disciplines carried out in the enforcement of the fire

code. 4 The fire service holds itself as an industry, to a high standard and level of performance. This requires meeting certain levels of requisite knowledge and abilities before being able to perform various operations, duties and responsibilities within the industry. Typically this requires certification as a measure of one’s minimum qualification and ability to perform the responsibilities. Having a system of appointments can lead to a process of selection for those that may not meet a minimum level of training, knowledge or experience and opens itself to additional professional scrutiny. The ICC presently does not have a training curriculum or course associated to their code but continues to reference their ability to provide one. This remains a question lacking a definitive explanation.

  • 3 Code Development Policies

  • 4 Code References


There remains a difference in assistance each organization intends to offer Michigan. This affects the potential cost impact the adoption process for one

single code will have on state, public and private sectors. 5

Despite the best efforts of the task group in obtaining a firm clear commitment from the ICC on their ability to reduce the potential cost impact to Michigan, the explained costs for material, training and instruction still remains unclear and non definitive. The ICC appears to be lacking an ability to commit to Michigan whereas the National Fire Protection Association has remained consistent on their commitment to minimize the cost impact to Michigan and has provided any and all necessary information throughout the entire research process.

The ICC continues to propose vague information related to modified training information where ten percent of training venue capacity must be reserved for outside paying attendees to underwrite the costs of the training. This arrangement could have an effect to stifle discussion and learning by newer code officials or AHJs who may later be called upon to provide review and enforcement services to these same individuals. The opportunity to train with design professionals may also bring about greater opportunities to communicate and understand the responsibilities each share. These aspects were expressed during the task group discussions and both aspects must be considered.

It is the opinion of the task group that NFPA will provide the lowest cost impact to our state, design professionals and jurisdictional agencies should the state decided to use their fire code.


The State of Michigan has used NFPA 1/101 for jurisdictional regulated facilities for over 15 years in conjunction with the Michigan Building Code. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has recently made their recommendations to go forth with the use of NFPA 101, 2012 for regulated facilities. Florida and other states have used NFPA 1/101 with the state versions of the IBC code since 2000 and prior to the development of the IBC they were used with the legacy building code for many years.

In consultations with other jurisdictions using NFPA 1 nationally with the International Building Code, the task group learned that there have been very minor differences between the relationships in the enforcement of both on new construction where applicable and little if any for existing structure code enforcement. Differences are typically addressed through legislative rules language to the affect of providing a saving

5 Presentation by ICC , ICC Supplemental Correspondence and Presentation by NFPA (Public View Folder)

clause indicating whichever code promulgates the greatest degree in safety is used. In areas of conflict, specific sections are amended. 6

The ICC has made multiple offers to date to provide complimentary code books to training attendees with an unclear reference to expectations for receiving memberships in conjunction with the complimentary codebooks. The latest information received by the task group mentions complimentary codebooks will only be available on a first come first served basis. This alteration could lead one to believe that the organization has a limit on how many complimentary codebooks they plan on providing. Their proposal for modified training is presently revised to a “round” of initial training differing from the original impression that 2 regional sessions would be provided as previously presented. The ICC has now followed with an unclear reference to follow up training timelines of “a year or two later”. Additional information was requested by the group on multiple occasions to address the off setting costs for this training to be born by private sector interests and no definitive answers have been given as to how much registered design professionals would be tasked with in footing the bill for the training.

NFPA has made offer to provide free training for all AHJs and provide complimentary codebooks for all AHJs who attend the complimentary training. NFPA will go throughout the state to various locations providing this hosted training, which addresses NFPA 1 & 101 in the first year of the adoption and other major reference documents as necessary and directed by the State Fire Marshal in the second and third years. This NFPA free training is open to all AHJs only. These AHJ’s can be fire code officials, building code officials, college and university code enforcers, health care enforcers or any jurisdictional official obligated to enforce the code and this training is paid in full by NFPA.

The complimentary training alone has a potential to lower and or save considerable financial impact to state and local jurisdictions considering the enforcement of a single code. NFPA also offers NFPA 1 governmental users tasked with using the code a special one-time cost to subscribe to the entire codes and standards subscription service whereas other governmental agencies and users of the IFC must pay a much larger fee annually or every three years for the subscription services in order to use their codes as they referenced. In addition, NFPA demonstrates a willingness to work with the design sector to offer discounted training if necessary depending how the code is adopted and used in Michigan.

NFPA offers technical assistance with a top priority to jurisdictional officials and members who use the code while the ICC has observed a considerable drop off in customer service as experienced firsthand by this task group during the course of this research and reporting.

6 NFPA 1 User State Questionnaires (Public View Folder)

In Michigan, during new construction the building code is the charging document therefore the fire code is viewed as a maintenance document. While both fire codes evaluated require maintenance to standards approved during the building or design processes; the task group holds the opinion that the best practice approach for successful customer service in new construction is the partnership approach utilizing all

inspection authorities’ expertise and code input.

The task group feels that using the NFPA 1 fire code would serve the fire service interest better in new construction and existing building maintenance without conflict and while achieving a best practice approach for Michigan business and Industry. This process is consistent with the best practices approach recommended by the (LARA) Office of Regulatory Reinvention report and recommendations on inspections and

permitting for the state. 7

A fire code that gives control of the fire code to the fire service while minimizing the cost impact to our state makes NFPA 1 the more fiscally responsible option to choose. Therefore, based on the findings and research conducted by the task group; the group would recommend the state adoption of the NFPA 1 fire code as the single state fire code.

Respectfully Submitted By:

In Michigan, during new construction the building code is the charging document therefore the fire code

Paul L. Dove IFC NFPA 1 Task Group, Chairperson

7 LARA Office of Regulatory Reinvention Report 2013 (Public View Folder)


IBC 2012

1 101.2 Scope. The provisions of this code shall apply to the construction, alteration, relocation, enlargement, replacement, repair, equipment, use and occupancy, location, maintenance, removal and demolition of every building or structure or any appurtenances connected or attached to such buildings or structures.

101.3 Intent. The purpose of this code is to establish the minimum requirements to safeguard the public health, safety and general welfare through structural strength, means of egress facilities, stability, sanitation, adequate light and ventilation, energy conservation, and safety to life and property from fire and other hazards attributed to the built environment and to provide safety to fire fighters and emergency responders during emergency operations.

[A] 102.6 Existing structures. The legal occupancy of any structure existing on the date of adoption of this code shall be permitted to continue without change, except as is specifically covered in this code, the International Property Maintenance Code or the International Fire Code, or as is deemed necessary by the building official for the generals safety and welfare of the occupants and the public.

104.1 General. The building official is hereby authorized and directed to enforce the provisions of this code. The building official shall have the authority to render interpretations of this code and to adopt policies and procedures in order to clarify the application of its provisions. Such interpretations, policies and procedures shall be in compliance with the intent and purpose of this code. Such policies and procedures shall not have the effect of waiving requirements specifically provided for in this code.

Chapter 34 Existing Structures. The provisions in Chapter 34 deal with alternative methods or reduced compliance requirements when dealing with existing building constraints. This chapter allows for a controlled departure from full compliance with the technical codes, without compromising the minimum standards for fire prevention and life safety features of the rehabilitated building. Provisions are divided by addition, alterations, repairs, change of occupancy and moved structures. There are further allowances for registered historic buildings. There are also special allowances for replacement of existing stairways, replacement of glass and accessibility requirements. The fire escape requirements in Section 3406 are consistent with the fire escape requirements in Section 1030 of the International Fire Code (IFC).

Section 3412, Compliance Alternatives, allows for existing buildings to be evaluated so as to show that alterations, while not meeting new construction requirements, will improve the current existing situation. Provisions are based on a numerical scoring

system involving 18 various safety parameters and the degree of code compliance for each issue.

Chapter 34 is repeated in the International Existing Building Code (IEBC). Sections 3402 through 3409 are repeated as IEBC Chapter 3 and Section 3410 as Chapter 13.

IFC 2012

2 [A] 101.2 Scope. This code establishes regulations affecting or relating to structures, processes, premises and safeguards regarding:

  • 1. The hazard of fire and explosion arising from the storage, handling or use of

structures, materials or devices;

  • 2. Conditions hazardous to life, property or public welfare in the occupancy of

structures or premises;

  • 3. Fire hazards in the structure or on the premises from occupancy or operation;

  • 4. Matters related to the construction, extension, repair, alteration or removal of fire

suppression or alarm systems; and

  • 5. Conditions affecting the safety of fire fighters and emergency responders during

emergency operations.

[A] 101.3 Intent. The purpose of this code is to establish the minimum requirements consistent with nationally recognized good practice for providing a reasonable level of life safety and property protection from the hazards of fire, explosion or dangerous conditions in new and existing buildings, structures and premises, and to provide safety to fire fighters and emergency responders during emergency operations.

[A] 102.4 Application of building code. The design and construction of new structures shall comply with the International Building Code, and any alterations, additions, changes in use or changes in structures required by this code, which are within the scope of the International Building Code, shall be made in accordance therewith.

NFPA 1, 2012

2 1.1 Scope.

  • 1.1.1 The scope includes, but is not limited to, the following:

(1) Inspection of permanent and temporary buildings, processes, equipment, systems, and other fire and related life safety situations

(2) Investigation of fires, explosions, hazardous materials incidents, and other related emergency incidents

(3) Review of construction plans, drawings, and specifications for life safety systems, fire protection systems, access, water supplies, processes, hazardous materials, and other fire and life safety issues

(4) Fire and life safety education of fire brigades, employees, responsible parties, and the general public

(5) Existing occupancies and conditions, the design and construction of new buildings, remodeling of existing buildings, and additions to existing buildings

(6) Design, installation, alteration, modification, construction, maintenance, repairs, servicing, and testing of fire protection systems and equipment

(7) Installation, use, storage, and handling of medical gas systems

(8) Access requirements for fire department operations

(9) Hazards from outside fires in vegetation, trash, building debris, and other materials

(10) Regulation and control of special events including, but not limited to, assemblage of people, exhibits, trade shows, amusement parks, haunted houses, outdoor events, and other similar special temporary and permanent occupancies (11) Interior finish, decorations, furnishings, and other combustibles that contribute to fire spread, fire load, and smoke production

(12) Storage, use, processing, handling, and on-site transportation of flammable and combustible gases, liquids, and solids

(13) Storage, use, processing, handling, and on-site transportation of hazardous materials

(14) Control of emergency operations and scenes Page | 9

(15) Conditions affecting fire fighter safety

(16) Arrangement, design, construction, and alteration of new and existing means of egress





2.1.1 Governmental Member - A Governmental Member shall be a governmental unit, department or agency engaged in the administration, formulation, implementation or enforcement of laws, ordinances, rules or regulations relating to the public health, safety and welfare. Governmental Member Voting Representatives - Each Governmental Member shall exercise its right to vote through its designated Governmental Member Voting Representatives, and shall be entitled to the number of Governmental Member Voting Representatives as specified in Table (Numbers of votes based on population size. Votes are from 4 12)

2.1.2 Honorary Member - An individual who has rendered outstanding service to the Council, and whose name shall be proposed by the Board of Directors and confirmed by a majority vote of the Governmental Member Representatives at an Annual Business Meeting.


Revised: 12/6/12

7.4 Eligible voters: ICC Governmental Member Representatives and Honorary Members in attendance at the Final Action Hearing shall have one vote per eligible attendee on all International Codes.


Revised: 12/10/10


Voting member categories: Governmental Members include local, county, state and

federal agencies, departments or units meeting the description in section 2.1.1 of the bylaws.

  • 1.2 Honorary members are selected by the membership. Honorary Members will not be

charged membership dues.



3.1. Membership. There shall be three classes of membership in the Association:

Director Members, Voting NFPA Members, and Nonvoting NFPA Members.

Voting NFPA Members (See Subsection 3.3.1)

  • (a) Regular Member

  • (b) Life Member

  • (c) Senior Member

  • (d) Honorary Member

3.3.1. Voting NFPA Members. As further set forth in and subject to these Bylaws, a Voting NFPA Member shall be entitled to vote at Meetings of the NFPA Members. The categories of Voting NFPA Member are as follows:

  • (a) Regular Member. An individual desiring to advance the purposes of the Association

shall be eligible to become a Regular Member. A Regular Member shall pay dues as determined by the Board of Directors in accordance with Subsection 3.3.6 of these


  • (b) Life Member. An individual who has been a Voting Member continuously for 35

years shall be eligible to become a Life Member. A Life Member shall receive all benefits of Regular Membership but shall be exempt from payment of dues.

  • (c) Senior Member. An individual of age 65 years or greater shall be eligible to become

a Senior Member. A Senior Member shall receive all benefits of Regular Membership and shall pay dues as determined by the Board of Directors in accordance with Subsection 3.3.6 of these Bylaws.

  • (d) Honorary Member. An individual who, in the determination of the Board of

Directors, has rendered to the Association exceptional services of the highest order over a substantial period of years shall be eligible to become an Honorary Member. An Honorary Member shall receive all the benefits of Regular Membership but shall be exempt from payment of dues.

4.5. Voting.

4.5.1. Only Voting NFPA Members of record 180 days before the opening of any Annual, Regular, Special, or Technical Meeting of the NFPA Membership who have duly registered and paid any registration fees for the meeting shall be entitled to vote at that meeting. Except as may be required by law or as may be provided in a Regulation or Standing Rule promulgated pursuant to Article 8 of these Bylaws, any action of the NFPA Voting Membership shall require the affirmative vote of a majority of the votes cast at the meeting. (Article 8 reviewed and not relevant)


  • 4 IFC 2012

[A] 103.2 Appointment. The fire code official shall be appointed by the chief appointing authority of the jurisdiction; and the fire code official shall not be removed from office except for cause and after full opportunity to be heard on specific and relevant charges by and before the appointing authority.

[A] 103.3 Deputies. In accordance with the prescribed procedures of this jurisdiction and with the concurrence of the appointing authority, the fire code official shall have the authority to appoint a deputy fire code official, other related technical officers, inspectors and other employees.

  • 4 NFPA 2012

1.2* Purpose. The purpose of this Code is to prescribe minimum requirements necessary to establish a reasonable level of fire and life safety and property protection from the hazards created by fire, explosion, and dangerous conditions.

A.1.2 Consideration for life safety could include occupants, fire department personnel, fire brigade members, employees, responsible parties, and the general public.

1.7.2* Minimum Qualifications to Enforce this Code. The AHJ shall establish minimum qualifications for all persons assigned the responsibility of enforcing this Code.

A.1.7.2 For additional information on qualifications of code enforcement personnel, see NFPA 1031, Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Inspector and Plan Examiner; NFPA 1033, Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator; NFPA 1035, Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire and Life Safety Educator, Public Information Officer, and Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Specialist; and NFPA 1037, Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Marshal.