May 19, 2023

Get Ready for ICC Code Development Process Changes

A new ICC code development process taking effect for the 2027 code cycle extends the time to consider proposals and incorporates a second round of committee action hearings for each group of proposals.
SEAC member John Taecker presenting at the April 2023 general meeting

At the Sustainable Energy Action Committee’s monthly general meeting on April 27, UL Solutions Senior Regulatory Engineer John Taecker presented changes that will be introduced for the 2027 International Codes development process.

During the recently completed 2024 code cycle, proposals went through a review process marked by three key milestones. First was a committee action hearing, where volunteer committee members would vet the merits of each proposal. Next interested parties would attend a public comment hearing to discuss proposals and the committee recommendations. Finally an online governmental consensus vote would determine which proposals were accepted or rejected.

The revised process extends the time to consider proposals and incorporates a second round of committee action hearings for each group, all within the three-year code cycle timeline.

Taecker says the new process gives proponents “two bites at the apple.” It provides an opportunity for proponents to consider feedback received during a first round of hearings, make changes, and resubmit an updated proposal during the same code cycle.

In this article, we discuss key milestones in the upcoming code cycle. We also cover the importance of the International Codes (I-Codes) and a couple of ways you can get involved.

ICC Code Development Changes

In the 2024 code cycle, ICC split proposals into two groups based on sections of the 15 constituent codes that they were seeking to revise. Group A included proposals affecting the International Fire Code and the mechanical and plumbing portions of the International Residential Code, for example. Group B included building portions of the International Residential Code.

For each group, code change proposals would go through committee action hearings, public comment hearings, and online voting in ten months or less.

In the 2027 code cycle, proposals get 16 to 28 months to go through the code development process before a single round of online voting in Year 3.

Here are key milestones for Group A proposals:

  1. Code Change Proposals Due: January 2024. Anyone can submit public comments through ICC’s code development process portal, cdpACCESS.
  2. First Committee Action Hearings: April 2024. Across nine days, committees will review proposals. Later, they will issue vote counts, committee modifications (if any), and their reasoning.
  3. Committee Comments Due: June 2024. In the previous code cycle, public comments would be due at this point. Now, interested parties have some time to prepare feedback on the first round of proposals for consideration at the second round of hearings.
  4. Second Committee Action Hearing: September/October 2024. Instead of hosting public comment hearings at the ICC Annual Conference, committees meet a second time to consider revised proposals if they were initially turned down or returned with proposed changes.
  5. Public Comments Due: February/March 2025. Now that committees have met a second time, interested parties can submit public comments in advance of the public comment hearings that precede online voting.
  6. Public Comment Hearings: April 2026. ICC used to provide one week of public comment hearings at the annual conference for each group of proposals. Hearings for all proposals will now be separate from the annual conference and carried out in a single 10-day session.
  7. Online Governmental Consensus Vote: May 2026. Twenty-eight months after the process began, ICC voters decide which proposals will be incorporated into the next edition of the I-Codes.

Visit ICC’s webpage on Changes to the Code Development Process for a full-scale version of the timeline below.

Importance of the I-Codes

The I-Codes are coordinated, modern building safety codes developed by the ICC. Codes, standards, and solutions developed by ICC are used to ensure safe, affordable, and sustainable communities and buildings worldwide.

Adopted by all 50 US states, the District of Columbia, and many other countries, the I-Codes are a widely accepted, comprehensive set of codes developed to ensure the engineering of safe, sustainable, affordable, and resilient structures.

ICC publishes 15 model codes, some examples of which include the 

  • International Building Code (IBC) establishes minimum requirements for building systems using prescriptive and performance-related provisions. It is founded on broad-based principles that make possible the use of new materials and new building designs.
  • International Fire Code (IFC) contains regulations to safeguard life and property from fires and explosion hazards. Topics include general precautions, emergency planning and preparedness, fire department access and water supplies, automatic sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, special hazards, and the storage and use of hazardous materials.
  • International Residential Code (IRC) comprises all building, plumbing, mechanical, fuel gas and electrical requirements for one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses up to three stories.

During the 2024 code cycle, SEAC and industry partners proposed 27 code change proposals to introduce provisions on electric vehicle charging, building-integrated photovoltaics, photovoltaics, and energy storage systems to various sections of the I-Codes.

Later this year, SEAC will develop additional proposals for the January 2024 Group A submission deadline.

How to Get Involved

Anyone interested in participating with SEAC in the 2027 I-Codes cycle can fill in the contact form on our homepage or attend an upcoming monthly general meeting.

Whether coordinating with SEAC or not, you can also apply to volunteer on one of ICC’s 15 Code Development Committees.

ICC membership is not required to serve on a committee. Anyone can apply. Committee members fall into one of three interest categories: 

  • General: Government regulatory agencies
  • User: Building owners, designers, insurance companies, private inspection  agencies, and academics
  • Producer: Builders, contractors, manufacturers, distributors

Appy online. The deadline is June 1.