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Tent codes face scrutiny

On the Job, Safety & Codes | November 23, 2015 | By:

Group A building code proposal passes Public Comment Hearing with modifications.

A proposal to the International Code Council’s International Building Code (IBC) that affects the tent industry passed in the Public Comment Hearing (PCH) in October, with final results in December.

The original proposal to the 2018 Model Code would have resulted in many tent installations needing site-specific structural reviews. On behalf of the Tent Rental Division (TRD) of IFAI, Tom Markel of Bravo Events, Buffalo, N.Y., advocated for modifications that limit the scope of the structural review and sync with the code change in the 2015 version of the International Fire Code (IFC).

If the proposal that passed the PCH in October is voted in, structural reviews of multistory tents would be limited to factors such as wind, rain, and snow load when required by a code official, but won’t require seismic or flood plain analysis.

Because this proposal fell under the IBC, it was part of the Group A code cycle. The focus now turns to the Group B. Codes related to tents fall primarily in Group B, which includes the IFC.

“There’s a whole rewrite effort with regard to IFC Chapter 31 for tents and special events,” Markel says. “Some of the potential proposals will be acceptable to the industry and some won’t.”

The TRD Code Committee is considering it own proposals. One possibility is to attempt to put TRD’s staking and ballasting studies into the code. That would require TRD to give up its copyright of those studies. Other potential proposals would update codes related to fire extinguishers, fire labels and flammability certification of tents.

“Meaningful code proposals that come from the industry help to convince code officials that safe installations are an industry priority,” Markel says.

Important 2016 dates for the Group B code development cycle are as follows: Jan. 11 deadline for code change proposals; April 17-27 Committee Action Hearing (CAH); July 22 deadline for public comments on code proposals; Oct. 19-25 Public Comment Hearing (PCH), with results posted Dec. 6.

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