Report on ICC Code Hearing for Changes to the International Building Code, Chapter 10 Means of Egress

This is a summary of the actions taken on the 2012 Proposed Changes to the ICC International Codes at the April 29-May 6 Code Development Hearings held in Dallas, TX, as it pertains to the PSA.

There were several proposals made that, if approved, could have had a negative impact on the Photoluminescent Egress Path Marking. I am pleased to report that based on the actions taken by your Board of Directors all negative proposals were disapproved. Specifically, proposal E-22 through E-28 and E-30 through E32, which in various ways sought to add Motion Sensors into the Means of Egress portion of buildings nation wide.

It is the position of the PSA that motion sensors have a useful function in commercial buildings, but should never be allowed in the Means of Egress within a building. Some of that reasoning is present here for your information future use:

  • If a motion sensors fails, do the building lights automatically come on?
  • Reliability is the issue. People can buy a cheap motion sensor off the shelf with no quality assurance. Thorough technical requirements would need to be specified.
  • Who guarantees that motion sensor is pointed in the proper direction?  Certain Motion sensors come with movable heads.  If sensor is never even pointed in the proper direction during installation … if sensor head is moved during cleaning or by vandals … if the sensor is pointed upwards/ in a wrong direction, people could walk underneath and not set off the sensor.
  • Who guarantees that sensor is properly mounted to catch motion by children / short people/ person in wheelchair?
  • Motion sensors currently do not have to meet stringent exit device requirements. There is no current listing requirement but that has to be essential for such a life-safety reliant use.
  • What happens to motion sensor when smoke is present?  How dark, how thick is the smoke?  No motion sensor testing done through various intensities of smoke.
  • At which distances do motion sensors need to get installed to guarantee gap-less coverage?

Adding Motion Sensors to the path of egress was first attempted in the 2008 building code cycle and disapproved.

One proposal of interest to members is E29, which was approved with modification. This addition to the code allows photoluminescent markings to be used in auditoriums and positions the technology favorable to that of LED lighting. When details become available in late June we will forward them to the membership. The final action hearings will be held in October in Portland, OR.

Jim Armour
Chairman Codes Committee