RALNA is Now Engaging with the International Code Council and National Fire Protection Association

Brian Pinkowski, President

RAL Owners have a number of challenges that arise primarily because governments focus on industrial health care models for seniors. Governments like to work with giant organizations that look like . . . well that look like government. The result is often regulation and enforcement that fundamentally promotes large-scale senior care operations. I wanted to share a few exciting developments that have occurred here at RALNA in November to let you know that we are making progress on behalf of our RAL members.

First, the International Code Council (“ICC”) has opened the door for our participation in the Health Care Committee meetings to make and comment upon proposals that affect the RAL industry. This is a big step because this committee, and others, make the recommendations for change of the International Building Code (“IBC”) and International Fire Code (“IFC”), and International Residential Code (“IRC”), and other code documents that are adopted by state and local governments. The language from these codes is adopted as regulation, municipal ordinances, and sometimes law across the U.S. Acknowledging that they have almost no familiarity with the issues associated with small care homes, they have opened the door to our involvement and begun sharing the proposals under consideration for amendment to the three code documents mentioned above.

In addition to the ICC, we have also begun engagement with the National Fire Protection Association (“NFPA”), and NPFA 101 in Particular. As many of you know, NFPA 101 is also known as the “Life Safety Code,” The Life Safety Code “is the most widely used source for strategies to protect people based on building construction, protection, and occupancy features that minimize the effects of fire and related hazards. Unique in the field, it is the only document that covers life safety in both new and existing structures.”

We have applied for a seat on the NFPA “Board and Care Facilities Committee and the “Means of Egress Committee.” These are important committees that influence RALs and our NFPA contacts have acknowledged that they also do not know the small care home industry.

Some of you know that we have been successful making your voices heard on the Facilities Guidelines Institute expert committee, and there will be changes in the 2022 FGI Guidelines that reflect the realities of the residential care home environment.

It may take some time for us to get traction in these international committees, but we are getting “in the room” and have begun to let people know that small RALs are an important part of the senior care industry.

Your work is important, and your voices will be heard.

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