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For more information contact:  
Lee G. Jones
Director of Technical Services
(703) 538-1611 or
For Immediate Release
July 21, 1999

AWCI Supports Fight to Ensure Fire Safety in the IBC

As the pending International Building Code final draft currently reads, fire safety standards are reduced below those of any existing major building code. The Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industries—International, Falls Church, Va., supports changes to the IBC to limit measures currently in the code that threaten the life safety of building occupants and firefighters. AWCI has convened a special task group to study, develop and promote industry and public awareness regarding fire safety.

At issue are the relaxed standards in the IBC that permit the construction of larger buildings with reduced fire ratings. For instance, under the IBC, structures that once required a fire-resistance rating of two hours now require a rating of just one hour or no rating at all. Historically, buildings with high fire-loads and buildings with high-occupant risk required the use of fire-resistant construction, or passive fire protection, to limit the spread of fire, protect structural integrity, provide building occupants sufficient time to escape to safety, and allow time for firefighters to perform search and rescue measures and fire-fighting activities.

During the final round of IBC hearings, September 12-17, 1999, in St. Louis, Mo., the membership of the International Code Council will hear public comments regarding proposals that did not pass during the previous hearings.

Among the proposals to be reviewed during the public comments, item O274-99 asserts that a table prepared by the Board for the Coordination of the Model Codes should be substituted for Table 503 in the currently proposed version of the IBC. These tables set allowable height and area limits for buildings by construction and occupancy type. Also, acceptance of item O296-99 would limit the allowable floor area of multistory buildings per BCMC recommendations. AWCI supports these revisions, and urges others to do so, because they provide an acceptable safe alternative to the current IBC provisions.

Since 1918, AWCI has been serving wall and ceiling contractors, manufacturers, suppliers/distributors and others allied to the fields of acoustics, drywall, EIFS, fireproofing, insulation, plaster, steel framing, stucco and many other interior and exterior applications. AWCI's official publication is Construction Dimensions, a monthly, four-color magazine that serves the wall and ceiling industry.

The International Code Council is a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing a single set of comprehensive and coordinated national codes. The publication of the IBC is due in the year 2000.

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