CODE CONFUSION: 2021 IBC/IFC Code Not Adopted Across All Jurisdictions in Southern Nevada

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The cities of Las Vegas and Henderson adopted the 2021 International Building Code (IBC) and International Fire Code (IFC) which went into effect on March 23. However, the jurisdiction of Clark County did not adopt the 2021 IBC/IFC and plans to continue using the 2018 edition. For the time being, the City of North Las Vegas will also still follow 2018.

“We may be one Valley, but we have multiple jurisdictions to answer to and sometimes the codes vary,” said Bryan Douglass, PE, who is a principal at TERPconsulting. “Although the four main Southern Nevada jurisdictions have been on the same code cycle for several years, that changed in early 2023. Navigating the codes that the various entities follow can be confusing, which is why we recommend working with experts who can adeptly navigate the codes regardless of jurisdiction.”

For those architects and general contractors working in the cities of Las Vegas and Henderson, here is a rundown of the key changes in the 2021 IFC for safeguarding life and property from fires and explosion hazards:

-Verification of flame propagation performance is necessary for permanently installed artificial combustible vegetation when it exceeds certain heights on roofs or near buildings.

-Revisions made to the provisions for emergency responder communication reflect the evolution of such systems beyond radios and now require increased performance.

-Requirements for sprinklers surrounding the storage, manufacture, and sale of upholstered furniture and mattresses have been updated and clarified, including a new exception for single-story self-storage facilities with direct exterior access.

-Open parking garages that exceed a specific fire area threshold now require an automatic sprinkler system.

-The requirements for energy storage systems (ESS) have been refined to account for the range of new technologies and applications in both building and standalone settings, emphasizing the importance of appropriate commissioning and decommissioning of these systems.

-A new chapter has been added to provide specific requirements and clarification for the storage of distilled spirits and wines in barrels and casks.

-The provisions for construction fire safety have been expanded and reorganized to emphasize the owner’s responsibilities. The updated language now mandates a site safety plan and the appointment of a site safety director.

If you have a question about the newly adopted 2021 IBC/IFC regulations, please reach out to Bryan Douglass, PE, principal fire protection engineer.

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