2009 International Code Changes – Building, Residential, Fire, Energy, Mechanical, Plumbing

by evstudio on December 25, 2009

EVstudio has the pleasure of listening to a presentation put together by Tim Pate. Tim is a code official at Broomfield and a member of several committees related to the various ICC codes and the changes that happen in 2009. He shared with us this list put together by the Colorado Chapter of the ICC and allowed us to share the information with you. I realize the list may be a little hard to read, so feel free to let us know if you need clarification.



R105.2 Work Exempt from Permit

Accessory structures and detached decks that are 200 square feet or less are exempt from permits – if deck is over 30 inches above grade or if it serves the main exit door it will still need permit

R202 Definitions

Added definition of “Attic, Habitable” (70 square feet minimum and headroom heights as per section R305) and added live load, emergency escape and rescue, smoke alarm, and vertical egress requirements for these areas

R202 Definitions

Added the word “plane” to “Story above grade” since RB2 06/07 changed the scope of IRC to 3 stories above grade plane. This now matches the IBC

R202 Definitions

Definition of townhouse was changed from open space on two or more sides to yard or public way on two or more sides since yard and public way both have definitions

R202 Definitions

Definitions of Stair (one or more risers) and Stairway (one or more flights of stairs, interior or exterior, including landings and platforms) were added and now match what is in the IBC

R302 Fire Resistive Construction

This section now has all of the fire resistive construction requirements for exterior walls, projections, penetrations, party walls, and new table for separation between house and garage. No technical changes except one hour fire rated party wall allowed in townhouses with fire sprinkler systems and

Fire separation requirements do not apply to two separate accessory structures located on same lot.

R308.4 Hazardous Locations

Glazing within 24” of either vertical edge of a door and lower than 60” above floor needs to be safety glazing. Exception was added for glazing that is adjacent to the fixed panel of  sliding patio doors

R311.3 Floors and Landings at Doors

Added exception for exterior balconies that are 60 square feet or less and only accessible from that door – do not need the 36” landing in the direction of travel

R311.7.4 Stair Treads and Risers

Added scoping language to require all tolerance requirements (+ or – 3/8” on treads and risers) to be measured exclusive of carpets, rugs, or runners

R312 Guards

Guards are required when surface is located more than 30 inches above floor or grade below at any point within 36 inches horizontally to the edge of the open side and the guard needs to be 36” minimum high above adjacent fixed seating (benches)

R313 and P2904 Sprinkler Protection

Added new sections that will require fire sprinklers in all new townhouses upon adoption and fire sprinklers in all new single family homes as of January 1, 2011 and P2904 gives details on how to design and install multipurpose sprinkler piping systems

R314 Smoke Alarms

New exception was added so that adding smoke alarms for installation, alterations, or repairs of plumbing or mechanical systems is not required but will still be required for all other interior work that requires permit

R315 Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Added requirements for carbon monoxide alarms in new dwellings when there is a fuel fired appliance or an attached garage – includes requirements to add alarms for all permits to interior when there is a fuel fired appliance or an attached garage

R502.2.2.1Deck Ledger Connections

This is a new section that gives prescriptive requirements for attaching deck ledgers to the house rim boards

Primarily requires lag bolts or through bolts

R602.10 Wall Bracing

This section has been completely rewritten to provide technical accuracy and clarity. Code no longer differentiates between exterior and interior braced walls.

R612.3 Window Fall Prevention Devices

This section now requires window fall prevention devices (when bottom edge of opening is less than 24” above floor and is more than 72” above exterior grade) to meet ASTM F 2090 which will meet emergency escape release mechanism requirements

R613 Structural Insulated Panel Wall Construction

This section was added and gives all requirements for SIP wall construction but does not apply to floor or roof panels

R806.1 Attic Ventilation

The minimum size of ventilation openings has been reduced from 1/8” to 1/16” to guard against entry of insects

Potential problem with this smaller size if when you paint over and seal up smaller holes

Table R905.2.4.1 and IBC Table 1507.2.7 Asphalt Roof Shingles

These tables were added and include ASTM D 7158 D, G, or H as alternate approved test standard for wind load testing for shingles

AG 106 and IBC 3109.5 Swimming Pool Entrapment

These sections in the IRC and IBC have both been changed for swimming pool entrapment avoidance to match the recently passed Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Safety Act



IFC 102.1 Construction and Design Provisions

The new exception clarifies that the IFC does not apply to the interior of single family dwellings built under the IRC but does apply to the exterior of structure including premises identification, fire apparatus access and water supplies

IFC 511 Emergency Responder Radio Coverage

This section was added which will require an approved Emergency Responder Radio Coverage system in all new and EXISTING buildings – no time frame for existing buildings

IFC 903.6.2 Group I-2

This section was added and will require fire sprinklers in all existing Group I-2 occupancies (child care, detox, hospitals, mental hospitals, nursing homes). This is only located within the IFC and not the IBC and no timetable



Approximately 15% more restrictive

R-20 in exterior walls above grade

Programmable thermostats – at least one

50% of light bulbs to be high efficacy

Blower door test or visual inspection

for air leakage

Checking for duct leakage

Heated swimming pools and snow melt systems


Approximately 15% more restrictive

R-20 in exterior walls above grade

Programmable thermostats – at least one

50% of light bulbs to be high efficacy

Blower door test or visual inspection for air leakage

Checking for duct leakage

Heated swimming pools and snow melt systems

IRC M1411.6 IMC 1101.10

Locking access caps required for refrigerant circuit access ports that are located on exterior – applies to air conditioning condensers – also applies to commercial installations

IRC M1503.4 IMC 505.2

Exhaust hood systems capable of exhausting in excess of 400 cfm will require makeup air to match – needs to have means of closure and also automatically controlled to start and operate at same time as the exhaust – no requirement for make up air to be conditioned

IRC TABLE M1502.4.4.1 IMC TABLE 504.6.4.1

There is a new table that gives equivalent lengths of dryer exhaust duct fittings which you use when determining allowable length of dryer exhaust ducts but you can still use manufacturer’s instructions to determine length

IRC M1502.4.5IMC 504.6.5

Where the cloths dryer exhaust duct is concealed within building construction, the equivalent length shall be identified on permanent tag and be within 6 feet of the duct connection

IRC M1502.5 IMC 504.6.7

Protective shield plates will now be required for clothes dryer exhaust ducts that are closer than 1 ¼” to surface of framing

IRC M1602.2

Outdoor and return air cannot be taken from unconditioned attics or boiler rooms

IRC M2103.2 IMC 1209.5

Thermal barriers are now required for all radiant floor heating systems – this will apply to either slab on grade (minimum R-5) or suspended floors

(minimum R-11) and thermal breaks required where heated slabs meet foundation walls

IRC G2411.1 IFGC 310.1.1

CSST gas piping systems shall be bonded to the electrical service grounding electrode system at the point where the gas service enters the building and bonding jumper needs to be at least 6 AWG copper wire or equivalent or check manufacturers installation requirements

IRC G2415.4 IFGC 404.4

Gas piping shall not penetrate building foundation walls at any point below grade

IRC P2503.6 IPC 312.9

Shower liner tests are now required and specific requirements are listed

IRC P2904

Section 2904 was added and gives design and installation requirements for dwelling unit fire sprinkler systems and is an equivalent to an NFPA 13D fire sprinkler system- the design drawings will need to be provided before permit issuance

IPC Table 403.1Required Plumbing Fixtures

Footnote f was added to Table 403.1 which gives exception for when you have 15 or fewer occupants then you are not required to have two drinking fountains

IMC Section 403
Mechanical Ventilation

Section 403 was substantially revised and alters the airflow requirements along with the way they are calculated. It also references “breathing zones.” This will bring these in line with the ASHRAE 62.1 – 2004 requirements. This also helps in energy efficiency.



202 Definitions

The definition for “Labeled” has been added to reflect how approved testing labs, inspection agencies, or other agencies that do product evaluations do the labeling for products.

304.1 Business Group B

Ambulatory health care facilities were added along with new section 422 for specific requirements – fire sprinklers, fire alarms, smoke compartments. Ambulatory health care facilities are medical, surgical, psychiatric, nursing or similar care – less than 24 hours – incapable of self preservation (24 hours or more still I-2)

308.5.1 I-4 Adult Care Facility

Adult care facilities provide accommodations for less than 24 hours for more than five unrelated adults and provides supervision and personal care.

Changed the exception from A-3 to R-3.

If the occupants are capable of responding to emergency without assistance then it can be classified as R-3

310.1 Residential Group R

Will allow a R-1 transient congregate living facility with occupant load of 10 or less to be classified as R-3

Condos in ski towns

402.6.1 Reduced Open Space

This section was added and will allow reduced open space (40’) for unlimited area malls. This will match reduced open space for regular buildings

403.6.1 Fire Service Elevator

This section was added and will require a fire service access elevator for all buildings with an occupied floor more than 120 feet above fire department vehicle access and refers to new Section 3007 for requirements – this does not require separate elevator

Table 403.2.4 Minimum Bond Strength

This table was added and gives higher SFRM minimum bond strengths for high rise buildings – 430 psf for building 75’ to 420’ and 1,000 psf for buildings over 420’

Higher bond strength means better cohesion to steel members

403.5.2 Additional Exit Stairway

This section was added and will require an additional exit stair for all buildings (other than R-2) with an occupied floor more than 420 feet  above fire department vehicle access – not required when elevator complying with section 3008 (Occupant Evacuation Elevator) is installed – more restrictive than Fire Service Access Elevator

403.5.5 Egress Path Markings

This section was added and will require luminous egress path markings for high rise buildings and refers to new section 1024 for details. IFC Section 4604.23 requires these egress path markings to be added to all existing high rise buildings – no timetable

419 Live Work Units

This section was added and gives requirements for Live Work occupancies

Possible amendments:

Refer to IBC Chapter 29 for plumbing fixture requirements

Refer to IBC Chapter 10 for exit system requirements

Table 503 Allowable Height and Building Areas

B, M, S-1, and S-2 allowable stories were all reduced for Type IIB and IIIB construction – B went from 4 to 3, M went from 4 to 2, S-1 went from 3 to 2, and S-2 went from 4 to 3. Attempted to reduce R from 4 to 3 but was defeated since all R occupancies require sprinklers

508.2 Accessory Occupancies

This section was completely changed with emphasis on clarifying that incidental use areas are a subset of accessory occupancies. Storage and parking garages were also deleted from Table 508.2.5

Horizontal Building Separation Allowance

This section has been modified to allow  R occupancies on the level below the 3 hour rated horizontal separation – now will allow B, M, R, multiple A (with occupant load under 300) and incidental uses (storage areas, mechanical areas, lobbies)

509.5 and 509.6

Both sections have added R-1 to allowable occupancies in buildings of Type IIIA and IIA that can have increased height and stories – now will be R-1 and R-2

509.9 Multiple buildings above parking garages

Section 509.9 (Multiple buildings above an enclosed or open Group S-2 parking garage)

This section was added to provide clarity that if there are two properly separated buildings above an S-2 garage and built in accordance with sections 509.2 or 509.3, they shall be regarded as separate and distinct buildings

Chapter 7

UL 1479 was added as an alternate test to ASTM E814 (F and T ratings) and UL 263 was added as an alternate test to ASTM E 119 (fire resistance rating of building elements, components or assemblies)

703.6 Marking and Identification

This section was added and will require all fire and smoke rated walls to be permanently identified with signs or stenciling – only exception is R-2’s that do not have removable decorative ceiling allowing access – problems might be rated exterior walls and other occupancies with hard ceilings.

704.1.1 Primary Structural Frame

This section has added bracing members that are essential to the vertical stability of the primary structural frame under gravity loads to be considered part of the primary structural frame – this relates to fire protection requirements in Table 601

706.5.1 Fire Walls

This section has added wording that requires using an imaginary lot line to extend out from the intersection of a fire wall at exterior wall in order to verify requirements for exterior wall and opening protection

706.8 Openings

This section was changed so that the allowable size of fire rated openings in fire walls went from 120 square feet to 156 square feet – still cannot have openings in party walls and still can have any size openings when building has NFPA 13 sprinkler system

708.2 Shaft Enclosure Required

Exception 14 was added and will exempt elevators in open and enclosed parking garages that only serve the parking garage. Exception 15 was added and will exempt mechanical shafts in parking garages

708.14.1 Elevator Lobby

Elevator lobbies are now required in Group I-2 occupancies (detox, child care, hospital, nursing home) and exception 7 was added which exempts elevators serving only open parking garages from needing an elevator lobby

714.1 Exception 5 Joints

This section has added wording that exempts joints in fire resistive walls, ramps, and floors within enclosed parking garages – matches open parking garages

903.2.2 Group E

The threshold for requiring a fire sprinkler in E occupancies was reduced from 20,000 square feet down to 12,000 square feet

903.2.6 Group M

Group M occupancies which are used primarily for the display and sale of upholstered furniture will require fire sprinklers – furniture that has padding inserts – not mattresses and box springs as per CPSC – THIS DOES NOT HAVE ANY SIZE THRESHOLD

903.2.9 Group S-2

This section now requires a sprinkler system when the fire area of enclosed parking garages exceeds 12,000 s. f., or exceeds three stories above grade plane, or total fire areas exceed 24,000 s.f., or fire area exceeds 5,000 s.f for storage of commercial trucks

Table 1005.1 Egress Width

Table 1005.1 was deleted along with the sprinkler exception to reduce exit widths – .3 inch per occupant for stairs and .2 inch for all other egress components is to be used for any building and space – potential problem may be existing building – use section 3412

1007.3 and 1007.4 Exit Stairs and Elevators

Both sections have exception added back for a fire sprinkler system in lieu of the required areas of refuge but new section 1007.8 was added and two way communication systems are now required at all elevator landings even if building has approved sprinkler system

1007.6.2 Required Separation of Areas of Refuge

Areas of refuge are required to be separated by a smoke barrier. The word vertical was deleted from the exception. Areas of refuge can be located within an exit enclosure which could include an exit passageway

1007.8 Two Way Communication

This section was modified and gives specific requirements for two way communication systems for areas of refuge and at elevator landings

1008.1.2 Door Swing

Exception 9 was added and allows manually operated horizontal sliding doors from spaces with occupant load of 10 or less – similar to exception 1

1009.4.1 Dimension Reference Surfaces

This section was added and requires that stair treads and risers need to meet the required dimensions exclusive of carpets, rugs, or runners

1009.4.5 Profile

Exception 2 now allows open risers in F, H, and S occupancies where not accessible to the public

1009.12 Handrails

Handrails are only required on 4 or more risers within R-2 and R-3 occupancies – previously required for 2 or more – now matches the IRC – now only difference between IBC and IRC is guard needs to be 42” high in IBC dwelling units

1009.13 Guards

Guards will be required when surface is located more than 30 inches measured vertically to the floor or grade below at any point within 36 inches horizontally to the edge of open side

1014.3 Common Path of Egress Travel

Exception 4 now allows 125 foot maximum travel distance in R-2 occupancy when you have 13R system – previously just for 13 system

1021.2 and Table 1021.2 Single exits

Section 1021.2 and Table 1021.2 have been modified by changing the word building to stories for the requirements for only allowing a single exit

Roof Gardens and Landscaped Roofs

This section was added and refers you to sections 1607.11.2.2 and 1607.11.2.3 for design requirements


You can go up on the ICC website www.iccsafe.org and get more specific information about all previous code changes. If you need additional information please contact Tim Pate at tpate@broomfield.org. Tim prepared these notes and and was a great help in getting EVstudio up to speed. A little more information on his position and experience:

EV Studio
December 16, 2009
2009 IBC, IRC, IFC

Tim Pate

Co- Chair CCICC Code Change Committee

Senior Plans Analyst, LEED AP

City and County of Broomfield

2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006

2008, 2009


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