What is Coming in 2021 for IBC
The 2021 version of the International Building Code (IBC) has been released and is now available. With the release of any new code, there are concerns and adjustments for changes in code language. Fortunately, the 2021 IBC release has few changes that affect the structural design, specifically the material handling industry.
It is important to determine the adoption of other reference standards from other societies and industry groups with any code cycle change. The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the two biggest contributors to code references that affect the design and construction of steel platforms, released new codes in 2016 and are not scheduled to release new specifications and standards until 2022. Since the IBC update is released every 3 years, the next change will most likely not occur until 2024 with the adoption of the previous reference standards from AISC and ASCE in that year.
However, the most critical factor in code adoption comes at the state and city level.
Just because a new version of the IBC has been introduced does not mean that a specific state or city has adopted it. Typically, municipalities lag behind the current code cycles and adopt previous versions. Currently, states are updating their code references to IBC 2018. For example, the 2019 California Building Code (CBC) took effect on January 1, 2020. The 2019 CBC is very similar to the 2018 IBC with specific state amendments. With the adoption of this code state-wide in California, all municipalities needed to comply with the reference standards of the 2018 IBC, which are the 2016 releases of the AISC and ASCE specifications. In summary, a code adoption in 2020 is referencing a released specification from 4 years prior.
This lag in code adoption is for industry professionals to understand and evaluate the efficacy of the changes and work out the addendums to code language that may be required for errors or omissions. Additionally, this is the reason states are cautious in adopting new code releases right away. Some code cycle changes have large impacts with new industry standards being presented, and some are more minor in nature. Fortunately, it appears that the 2021 IBC release will have little impact on the material handling industry, and even if it does, it will be a few more years until the states and cities adopt its potential changes. The 2018 IBC adoption and the 2016 AISC and ASCE specifications saw new seismic values, structural analysis methods, and loading definitions. Consult your Steele Solutions engineer for the appropriate code cycle reference and the impact that it may have on your project.