The ICC is Working Through the Sprinkler Requirements for Institutional Care

Several weeks ago, I announced that RALNA had begun working with the International Code Council Health Care Committee. This committee, and others, make the recommendations for changes to 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.

Just before Christmas, I participated in a virtual meeting discussing the sprinkler requirements for closed spaces. Although the discussion was centered entirely on I-2 facilities (Translation: “Institutional facilities”), it caught my attention. This is a common issue in residential assisted living homes and can arise where fire departments are inspecting a RAL, and contemplating whether closets should have sprinkler systems. The committee and participants were largely comprised of architects from the private sector and there was general interest in avoiding having a sprinkler head in every available space. The discussion was centered around finding a reasonable solution that balances the risks with the costs.

From outside of the committee room, the law and regulations that flow from the ICC recommendations can sometimes appear insensitive to practical matters. Thus, I found it very heartening to participate and hear the opinions of the other participants. Final recommendations will come out in February, and will be available for public comments. Because this issue could logically lead to related restrictions for residential assisted living, I will keep you informed and invite your comments.

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

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