ICC and ASHE to develop building code changes for medical facilities

The collaborative effort aims to review and update the current code to ease confusion from overlapping codes and improve safety while maintaining cost effectiveness.

03/02/2011


The International Code Council (ICC) and the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) of the American Hospital Association (AHA) are collaborating to develop a series of building code changes that will result in safe, effective, and efficient provisions for hospital and ambulatory care facilities.

“Including stakeholders in a consensus-driven approach within the Code Council’s public and transparent code development process is a formula for success and safety,” ICC CEO Richard P. Weiland said. “Together we can create broad-based, model codes that consider affordability and meet the needs of hospitals and other health care facilities without sacrificing safety.”

The joint effort, according to both organizations, aims to:

 

 

  • reduce conflicts caused by overlapping local and federal building and fire code requirements that can arise when constructing medical facilities;
  • ease the confusion between multiple authorities responsible for code enforcement of health care structures;
  • create comprehensive building and fire codes for the design and construction of new hospitals and ambulatory care facilities;
  • consistent code evaluation of existing health facilities; 
  • increase the opportunity to apply science, research, modeling and historical data in the code development process; and
  • consider cost-effective construction alternatives which do not reduce current levels of safety. 

“Our members dedicate countless financial and human resources to assure fire and building codes and standards are continuously met in our facilities,” ASHE Deputy Director, Douglas S. Erickson said. “There comes a time, however, when the value of continuously increasing fire and building code requirements has a diminishing return on investment, and that time is now.” 

As part of its commitment to this collaboration, the ICC Board has approved the creation of a 15-person Ad Hoc Committee on Health Care to review and update provisions in the International Codes that impact the construction of new and existing hospitals and ambulatory care facilities. The objective of the committee is to develop code change proposals to the International Codes that will result in the most contemporary, effective, efficient and cost-effective provisions for health care facilities to assure the highest level of safety for patients, employees and other users.