EFFECTIVE USE OF THE ICC PERFORMANCE CODE™ FOR
BUILDINGS AND FACILITIES


  • The purpose of the ICC Performance Code® for Buildings and Facilities (ICCPC) is to promote innovative, flexible and responsive solutions that optimize the expenditure and consumption of resources while preserving social and economic value. This approach is unique to the structure of a performance-based code.

    The methodology employed in performance-based codes focuses on outcomes. In other words, a performance code approach would identify and quantify the level of damage that is acceptable during and after a fire, earthquake or other event. Generally but not in all cases, the current prescriptive code focuses on solutions that achieve a certain outcome. The difficulty is that the outcome is unclear. Therefore, when a design is proposed that is different from the prescriptive code, it is often difficult to determine whether the approach will be equivalent. There may be other more appropriate and innovative solutions available. For example, sustainability is becoming a topic of interest both nationally and internationally. This movement has driven the increased desire for the use of environmentally friendly construction techniques such as straw-bale construction, rammed earth and the increased use of recycled materials. A performance-based code creates a framework that both clearly defines the intent of the code and provides a process to understand quantitatively what the code is trying to achieve. Without this framework, the above techniques would be fairly difficult to accomplish and new methods of construction take longer to implement.

    The code is organized into four major parts:

    Part I—Administrative (Chapters 1-4)

    Part II—Building Provisions (Chapters 5-15)

    Part III—Fire Provisions (Chapters 16-22)

    Part IV—Appendices (A-E)

    Part I—Administrative. Part I of the document contains four chapters in which common approaches were found for both building and fire. Chapter 1 contains administrative provisions such as intent, scope and requirements related to qualifications, documentation, review, maintenance and change of use or occupancy. Also, provisions for approving acceptable methods are provided. Chapter 2 provides definitions specific to this document.

    Chapter 3, Design Performance Levels, sets the framework for determining the appropriate performance desired from a building or facility based on a particular event such as an earthquake or a fire. Specifically, the user of the code can more easily determine the expected performance level of a building during an earthquake. In the prescriptive codes, the required performance is simply prescribed with no method provided to determine or quantify the level of the building’s or facility’s performance.

    Chapter 4 deals with the topics of reliability and durability and how these issues interact with the overall performance of a building or facility over its life. This issue has always been relevant to codes and standards but becomes more obvious when a performance code requires a designer to regard buildings as a system. Reliability includes redundancy, maintenance, durability, quality of installation, integrity of the design and, generally, the qualifications of those involved within this process.

    Parts II and III—Building and Fire. Parts II and III provide topic-specific qualitative statements of intent that relate to current prescriptive code requirements. As noted, Parts II and III are building and fire components, respectively. The building and fire components were not fully integrated because of concerns relating to how such a document might be used. For instance, a fire department might want to utilize the document for existing buildings or facilities but would not be able to adopt chapters dealing with issues such as structural stability or moisture. Therefore, the code is designed so that a fire department could adopt Parts I and III only. When Part II is adopted, the entire document should be adopted. Part III should always be included in the adoption of this code.

    Generally, the topic-specific qualitative statements are the basic elements missing from the prescriptive codes. The statements follow a particular hierarchy, described below.

    Objective. The objectives define what is expected in terms of societal goals or what society “demands” from buildings and facilities. Objectives are topic-specific and deal with particular aspects of performance required in a building, such as safeguarding people during escape and rescue.

    Functional Statement. The functional statement explains, in general terms, the function that a building must provide to meet the objective or what “supply” must be provided to meet the “demand.” For example, a building must be constructed to allow people adequate time to reach a place of safety without exposure to untenable conditions.

    Performance Requirement. Performance requirements are detailed statements that break down the functional statements into measurable terms. This is where the link is made to the acceptable methods.

    Part IV—Appendices. Part IV contains the appendices to the code document. Each of the appendices relates to specific provisions of this code and is discussed within the user’s guide as applicable.