BayBio Secures Important Win on key Fire Codes Issue
A key advisory committee to California’s Building Standards Commission on January 18 gave a favorable recommendation for an industry-backed set of amendments to the state’s fire codes. These amendments capped off a year’s worth of work with the Office of the State Fire Marshall in developing a new occupancy classification for laboratory buildings.
The L-Occupancy designation, if approved, will provide needed clarity in California’s fire and building codes and support continued construction of new life sciences buildings. A seemingly small change from the Uniform Building Code (UBC) to the International Building Code (IBC) created a long list of unintended consequences for the life sciences industry that necessitated industry action. These codes are the source of requirements used to regulate building and fire codes in California. The IBC became a top concern of the industry by placing severe restrictions on the use of laboratory chemicals such that it would have been impossible to conduct laboratory work above the third floor of a building. Sorting out the difference between the two codes and the possible renovations required could cost companies millions.
Friday’s success is due to the supportive efforts of several companies who participated in the development of the new codes and spoke out at the January 18 meeting, as well as the 41 companies who wrote letters of support to the committee. The Office of the State Fire Marshall also demonstrated leadership on the issue by working with the industry to develop solutions that are effective for all parties concerned.
This success remains an important demonstration of how industry mobilization and action on an important issue can create outcomes that are good for companies and the industry. While there is still more to do before this issue is finally resolved it is a reminder that public engagement is essential to developing supportive public policy.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
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