The International Code Council became a unified body as of Feb. 1. Officials held a news conference and formal ceremony at the International Builders Show, held Jan. 21-24 in Las Vegas.
The move means manufacturers in the building and construction market are required to comply with only one building code, rather than three regional codes, in areas that fall under the ICC.
All manufacturers are familiar with the three acronyms that have more letters than alphabet soup: BOCA (Building Officials and Code Administrators International), ICBO (International Conference of Building Officials) and SBCCI (Southern Building Code Congress International).
For manufacturers serving broad geographic areas, the regional codes meant frustration, time, money and, in some cases, delays getting products to market.
Officials said the services, products and staff of BOCA, ICBO, and SBCCI will be consolidated and phased in during the next few months. The new organization is based in Falls Church, Va.
Under the universal code, the group will have a single set of hearings for proposed changes, said Tom Frost, senior vice president of technical services in ICC's Chicago regional office.
``So this provides a single focal point for code-development activity,'' he said in a Feb. 4 telephone interview. ``It also provides more time to submit code changes.''
Under the new body, code hearings will occur every 18 months. Previously, each regional code body held its own annual cycle, Frost said.
The concept of one code has been around nearly 30 years, officials said. The International Plumbing Code became the first official published I-code in 1995.
``There are no negatives,'' said Todd Shaw, vice president of RTI Piping Systems Inc., an extruder of cross-linked polyethylene pipe in Bellport, N.Y. ``We're seeing all positive. You're eliminating at least three layers of bureaucracy.''
Still, it doesn't mean the code-body fights are over. The other national code body, the National Fire Protection Association 5000, based in Quincy, Mass., competes against ICC.
The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, under which the Uniform Plumbing Code falls, now is partnered with NFPA.
``There was no getting ICC and IAPMO together,'' said Bob Friedlander, owner of Dallas-based Construction Code Consultants. ``That dream that people had of having one code in the United States has died. There will be two codes.''