Building Codes & Standards: Photoluminescence
IBC Codes : photoluminescent paints & markings

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IBC Codes & Photoluminescent Paints


What Is ICC, What Are IBC Codes, And Why Should I Care?
The International Code Council (ICC) was established in 1994 as a non-profit organization dedicated to developing a single set of comprehensive and coordinated national model construction codes used throughout the United States. It is dedicated to developing model codes and standards used in the design, build and compliance process to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures. ICC codes that are relevant to the application and maintenance of photoluminescent paints, materials and signs, include: the International Building Code and the International Fire Code (IFC).Read more about ICC and other organizations involved in new building codes and standards >>
IBC Codes (International Building Codes)
The International Building Code (IBC) stipulates certain minimum standards that should be maintained when constructing buildings. In September 2008, ICC Hearings were held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, suggesting changes to the 2009 edition of the ICC’s I-Codes (specifically the International Building Code, or IBC codes, and the International Fire Code, or IFC), a state-of-the-art model code used as the basis for building and fire regulations promulgated and enforced by U.S. state and local jurisdictions. Those jurisdictions have the option of incorporating some or all of the code’s provisions but generally adopt most provisions. Some of these standards pertain to the use of evacuation technology. Evacuation and egress systems are required to use photoluminescent markings to indicate exit routes in specifically standardized ways. Future buildings—especially tall structures—should be increasingly resistant to fire, more easily evacuated in emergencies, and safer overall thanks to 23 major and far-reaching building and fire code changes approved recently by the International Code Council (ICC). These changes include making exit path markings more prevalent and more visible by applying photoluminescent paints and exit markings for egress purposes.
IBC Code Specifications for Photoluminescent (Phosphorescent) Safety Markings
The ICC has adopted the following practical changes to the IBC with regards to photoluminescent exit markings:
  • Luminous markings delineating the exit path (including vertical exit enclosures and passageways) in buildings more than 75 feet high should be applied to facilitate rapid egress and full building evacuation.
  • The use of luminous markings should be broadend to identify obstacles, exit doors, exit signs and floor numbers in the exit path in buildings more than 75 feet high.
  • Luminous exit path markings in existing buildings more than 75 feet high should be incorporated with the exception of open, unenclosed stairs in historic buildings.
Other changes address areas such as increasing structural resistance to building collapse from fire and other incidents; requiring a third exit stairway for tall buildings; increasing the width of all stairways by 50 percent in new high-rises; strengthening criteria for the bonding, proper installation and inspection of sprayed fire-resistive materials (commonly known as “fireproofing”); improving the reliability of active fire protection systems (i.e., automatic sprinklers); requiring a new class of robust elevators for access by emergency responders, and ensuring effective coverage throughout a building for emergency responder radio communications.

One of the very few industrial photoluminescent paint suppliers that does meets IBC Code requirements in it's products is Kryptaglow.
IBC Codes directly affect you, if you are a:
  • Building owner
  • Fire Fighter
  • Developer
  • Architect
  • Engineer
  • Maintenance manager
  • Facility manager
  • Painter
  • ...
What is NIST and how does it relate to the IBC Codes
NIST is one of the nation's oldest physical science laboratories. It was founded in 1901 and is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The building and fire research programs at NIST anticipate and meet the measurement and technology needs of the U.S. building and fire safety industries. NIST research focusses specifically on disaster-resilient structures. Following 9-11, NIST lead the Federal Investigation into the Collapse of the World Trade Center. In it's final report the federal commission recommended a complete reevaluation of egress systems and incorporation of appropriate egress technology. The IBC Code (and IFC Code) changes adopted by the ICC, closely follow the findings of NIST's WTC disaster investigation.Read more about NIST and other organizations involved in new building codes and standards >>

It is of the utmost importance that the photoluminescent materials or paints used in your building are tested according to meet new standards and meet all requirements of the new building codes.

For this reason one should consider a tested and approved photoluminescent paint supplier such as Kryptaglow: See Certification Info >>.
More about building codes and standards in relation to photoluminescent paints & markings