As noted in this column last month, ASHE recently struck a new partnership with the International Code Council (ICC) to consider how to streamline the codes applied to health care facilities.

According to the ICC website (, the role of the newly appointed ICC Ad Hoc Committee on Healthcare is "to comprehensively review and update the provisions in the International Codes relative to both new and existing hospitals and ambulatory care facilities."

Individually, ASHE members either can support the efforts of the Ad Hoc Committee in developing a package of code changes or work independently to submit proposed changes.

Under the ICC process, any person or group can submit a proposed code change, speak at a code-development hearing, submit a public comment supporting or opposing a submitted code change, and speak at the final action hearing. They do not need to be members of the ICC to participate in the code process.

A form is provided on the ICC website for submitting proposed code changes. Aside from writing clearly understandable proposed code language, the most important part of preparing a proposed code change is explaining the rationale behind it.

The 2012–13 ICC code-development cycle addresses proposed changes to Group A codes, including the 2012 International Building Code (IBC). For those who may be interested in the International Fire Code or other Group B codes, that cycle is similar but starts a year later.

Any individual is eligible to be part of the ICC technical code committees (TCCs) — the groups that consider every proposed code change. The IBC has four TCCs: Means of Egress, General, Structural and Fire Safety. Each of these committees is responsible for parts of the proposed changes to the IBC.

Because of the fluidity of the ICC process, those who have a vested interest in making a change in the codes governing the design and construction of health care facilities must become knowledgeable, active participants in the process.

ASHE members should take advantage of all the opportunities they have to make their voices heard. The new ICC project provides a great chance to do just that.

The article on which this column is based can be found at

This month's column was written by Jeffrey E. Harper, P.E., FSFPE, vice president, Rolf Jensen & Associates, Chicago. Harper has been working with ASHE on the ICC project.

ASHE insight

Resources available

ASHE offers a number of valuable resources at special prices to professionals in the health care industry.

They include the following:

  • Health Facility Commissioning Guidelines. Written by health care professionals, this resource helps optimize construction or renovation delivery. It enables project teams to deliver cost-effective and efficient health care facilities that yield the desired return on investment. The guidelines can help ensure a suc­cessful transition from construction completion to a sustainable, high-
    performance operation.
  • Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities. The 2010 guidelines cover minimum program, space and design needs for all clinical and support areas of hospitals, nursing facilities, freestanding psychiatric facilities, outpatient and rehabilitation facilities, and long-term care facilities. They also include new material on acoustics, patient handling and movement, patient safety, bariatric patient care, cancer treatment and emergency services. For information on purchasing either of these valuable references, click here.