10th Edition MA Building Code Update

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is working towards the adoption of the 10th Edition of 780 CMR, Massachusetts State Building Code, with adoption pending but expected to occur by mid 2020. This new edition is planned to be based on the 2018 Editions of the following I-Codes with state-specific amendments:

  • International Building Code (IBC)
  • International Existing Building Code
  • International Mechanical Code
  • International Fire Code (for select references)

The update from the 2015 to 2018 IBC will result in numerous changes that will affect building design and construction. A few highlights include:

  • Higher Education Laboratories. A new method for hazardous chemical compliance has been added into the code by means of “Higher Education Laboratories” in Group B occupancies. This method provides an alternate approach to compliance rather than the Control Area & Group H, High Hazard Room methodology that was previously the baseline design mechanism. The Higher Education Laboratories are required to meet the provisions of Section 428 and IFC Chapter 38.
  • Occupied Roofs. The code has been expanded to provide additional requirements for occupied roof spaces. Included in these are the need to classify the occupancy of a roof in accordance with the Use Group (per Chapter 3) that they most closely resemble, as well as providing guidance on height and area compliance for occupied roofs.
  • Roof Construction Fire Rating. Where every portion of roof construction is at least 20 feet above any floor below, all portions of the roof construction (secondary and primary members) such as girders and beams are now exempted from the fire rating requirements of IBC Table 601. Previously, this exception only applied to secondary structural members.
  • Business Occupant Load. The method of calculating occupant load in business areas has been revised, which will typically result in reduced design occupant loads. However, higher design occupant loads can be now be assigned to concentrated business areas such as telephone call centers and similar uses.
  • Integrated Testing for Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems. Integrated testing of fire protection and life safety systems in accordance with NFPA 4 is now required in all new high-rise buildings and new buildings containing a smoke control system. This test must be performed prior to issuance of the certificate of occupancy and at intervals not exceeding 10 years thereafter.

Please feel free to reach out to schedule a code presentation on this new 10th Edition adoption to discuss significant changes and how they will impact your future design and construction projects.