April 1, 2005
The California Building Standards Commission
rescinded its selection of the National Fire Protection Association's
NFPA 5000 general building code, as well as NFPA's fire and
residential codes, which were to become effective in 2006.
The commission's March 16 vote to reverse its July 2003 selection
of NFPA 5000 for the state's next building code means state
agencies can now begin adopting the rival "I-Codes"
of the International Code Council, the predominant choices
throughout the country.
At one time, Quincy, Mass.-based NFPA
and Falls Church, Va.-based ICC collaborated to develop a
single national code, but they split in 1998 over the approach
(ENR 8/5/02 p. 10). ICC gave precedence to the views of architects
and code enforcers, while NFPA's code developers gave greater
weight to the views of vendors and unions. Critics claimed
NFPA 5000's many references to other codes would make enforcement
unwieldy. Others said that either code would need state amendments
but NFPA 5000 would be more difficult to work with. Gary Keith,
NFPA's vice president responsible for the building codes campaign,
says California's move "is not going to change our strategy
at this point." He says California's action is more about
"politics than the technical review."