Is this a topic for discussion?
Are the same thing? Who is wining?
NFPA vs IBC / IFC
Very integrated partnership. IBC references NFPA codes explicitly. ICC codes (IBC, IFC, and others) provide a template of sorts to small towns to states to large cities and other jurisdictions. These jurisdictions can add to and change the code as they see fit. In many cases, the ICC codes are less restrictive than NFPA codes, often due to stakeholder concerns about their ability to meet the best practices put forth by NFPA. In many other cases, the ICC codes address matters that the NFPA does not address, and vice versa.
I really don't think there is an issue here. It's like asking which foot is more important when one is walking.
At it's simplest, NFPA outlines how something is done while the codes define when something is done.
A good example would be fire alarm pull stations (manually actuated alarm-initiating devices).
2016 NFPA 72 17.14 outlines how to mount them and how they will operate. 2016 California Fire Code (and Building Code) 907.2 specifies when and where they are required depending on the occupancy group and other factors.
Another example would be Contra Costa County in California. California codes do not require notification devices in storage areas. Contra Costa does require them in storage areas larger than 200sf. In either case, the devices must be mounted in accordance with NFPA 72.
Not competition, cooperation.
Many thanks, Thomas and Hugh, very useful comments.
I am a European guy working for the insurance industry that uses a lot the NFPA as technical reference codes. I am not very familiar with US reality and legal frameworks... but I learn every bit and day.
I see no competition between the groups ICC and NFPA just a different goal for building and life safety. I see the IBC (ICC) is a building code for the minimum requirements on how to build a new building helping local communities to deal with legislated building safety regulations, and the NFPA as the best of current research is building safety of how a new or existing building should be best used and maintained for the occupancies.
Enforced both for many years.
The best way to view these documents - in my humble opinion - is this. the ICC documents are CODES, while the NFPA documents are STANDARDS. The CODES tell us where a system or type of construction is required. While the STANDARDS tell us how the systems are to be installed. The CODES reference the STANDARDS - just look in the back of the IBC for instance and you will see all the reference to the NFPA standards.
I disagree with your statement. The NFPA writes codes also. The Wisconsin Department Of Public Safety And Personal Standards has site in their course on codes and standards that between the IFC and IBC there are over 200 references to NFPA Codes. NFPA Codes and Standards are scourec doccuments along with other testing standards by other aginces for many of ICC Codes. Please keep in mind that a off the shelf code be it ICC or NFPA do not become codes untill it is legally adopted by a muncipality. Does not NFPA 101, NFPA 70, NFPA 99, NFPA 5000 to name a few NFPA Codes all tell where a system or type of construction system is required and what can be done and what can not be done. The only NFPA Code NFPA 72 where a slight argument can be made that it could be a standard because some sections tell how while others tell where and what can be done and not done which all seems to be an argument of symantecs. It is the adopting LJHA that had the final authority to decide what is adopted as a Code or standard. As an example the US DoD has adopted all NFPA Codes as Codes and Standards as Standards. The IFC and IBC are very basic while NFPA Codes and Standards are very detailed and in depth. As in an earlier survey on this subject by this web site where the majority of Fire Inspectors preferred to use NFPA codes because of there depth and detail. Just my opinion. Hope this is helpful.
you are 100% correct that NFPA writes both Codes and Standards. But I was talking more in generalities. When one goes to the NFPA website and scrolls down through the list of their Codes and Standards, one will see that the majority are Standards. While the ICC family of documents are written to be adopted as Codes. Thanks for raising that point so the others here will understand.
I may have misenturpted the point you were making. It appeared to me that you were stating that as the examples of NFPA codes I gave you were stating that they were standards. Thank you for clarifying your point.
I find the easiest thing for a fire inspector to do if his jurisdiction is using ICC Codes is to be throwly the codes and have a good understanding of the NFPA Codes and Standards so that they complement each other. Just my opinion. Hope this is helpful.
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