The International Building Code (IBC) ensures the safety and integrity of any building by setting layout, fortification, and material standards for industry stakeholders. IBC guidelines allow the public to safely walk into commercial, industrial, or residential facilities without the fear of it suddenly falling, tearing apart, flooding, or catching fire.
Besides preventing injuries and deaths from faulty structures, IBC requirements also protect assets from financial and property loss.
Overall, the IBC considers environmental problems, public health and safety, fire and seismic safety standards, pipework, cost efficiency, investment value, lighting quality, acoustics, equipment productivity, air quality, energy performance, and maintenance.
While the IBC establishes the best practices in the industry and promotes the durability of a structure, it is not immune to criticism. Architects and construction firms comply only with the bare minimum standards of the code, making properties more vulnerable to wear and tear.
6 Issues to Consider When Complying with IBC Requirements
Meeting only the bare minimum standards
IBC requirements set the basic standards for building processes. However, its guidelines are not intended to be the sole conduct of properties during their construction and design. When complying with the International Building Code, most construction companies would pursue the bare minimum just so they’re within the legal requirements.
This can be problematic in the long term, as establishments may end up having bulging foundations, rotten sills, and undersized rafters. Failing to pay attention to a location’s context and a property’s purpose may also hamper a structure’s durability and increase its vulnerability to damage if natural disasters were to happen.
Code compliance over high-quality craftsmanship
Some modern construction projects disregard the importance of formal training and high-quality craftsmanship. Consequently, the availability of special skills has decreased, as contractors hire untrained workers to minimize expenses, resulting in a construction workforce shortage.
Thus, young generations have gravitated against the position of construction workers because of the low pay and fewer incentives, in contrast to the numerous opportunities of an experienced master builder. Opponents of the International Building Code argue that the construction industry would more likely prosper with well-trained master craftsmen than strict code enforcement.
Lack of resources to enforce building codes
Not all jurisdictions require education for builders to maintain their license in the field. This highlights the need for inspection, which is critical in mitigating the adverse effects of negligent decisions while constructing a project.
However, as budgets have continued to diminish for many regions, it’s become common to see fewer inspectors, worker layoffs, and hiring freezes.
The lack of financial and technical resources makes it all the more difficult for state and local officials to ensure that each building is constructed within IBC requirements. This failure to fund inspections can heighten structural damage from natural disasters and unexpected events.
Additionally, some inspectors lack an ICC certification, while other municipalities have their own code, aside from IBC requirements. The discrepancies in the local regulations from one community to another make enforcement sparse, non-existent, and inconsistent.
Updating with technology and public health needs
As technology, appliances, and building science develop, facilities reach higher energy efficiency, quality, and safety levels. Through the International Building Code, there is an opportunity to take advantage of these new technologies and make facilities more cost-effective and practical for the public.
Indeed, modifications in IBC requirements will accelerate innovation, extend the market for products, increase sales and profits for all construction stakeholders, improve the lives of the public, lower prices (with economies of scale), and increase the renovations made to existing structures.
However, while the International Building Code is updated every three years, this is a long period for many innovations to rise. Moreover, jurisdictions do not always apply the International Building Code revisions to existing structures. The lag time in incorporating these updates can be detrimental to building safety, especially during calamities.
International Building Code legislators – also known as the International Code Council – are challenged to please all industry players. When drafting building regulations, they have to consider the costs and profitability of construction firms, contractor concerns, technological innovations, opinions of architects and designers, different government regulations, and even the advocacies of non-profit organizations.
Their ultimate goal is to meet the common good, but this can be difficult with many disputes and arguments from different stakeholders regarding each standard. Sometimes, legislators can disregard recommended codes to pursue a consensus among all industry players.
Sacrificing safety and quality for cheaper materials
The increased reliance on regulations has significantly contributed to the decline of construction companies to be responsible and accountable for their projects. The International Building Code determines what companies must do, how they must work, and what materials to use. Since homeowners and property owners put enough trust in IBC requirements, they are not as meticulous with the best materials for their property.
Aside from training being optional for construction workers, construction companies tend to neglect the quality and safety of their projects. Instead of pursuing the endurance and quality of a building, some infrastructures have been built with profits and price in mind.
So that you don’t have to compromise quality, you can source your materials from reliable suppliers. For instance, SAFTI FIRST’s fire rated glass and glazing solutions are a top choice for improving a building’s compliance to fire safety standards.
Prioritize Quality & Experience
IBC requirements have played a significant role in ensuring the public’s safety whenever they walk into a structure. Despite that, some contractors tend to overlook the quality of a property and its materials for the sake of minimizing costs.
As a builder, you should always prioritize quality and work with contractors who go above and beyond merely complying with IBC requirements. SAFTI FIRST is a manufacturer of USA-made fire rated glazing with over 40 years of experience in manufacturing high quality, USA-made solutions that meet more than the minimum requirements as specified in the IBC requirements and other building codes.
Contact us today to learn how fire rated glazing solutions can provide safety without compromising aesthetics.