Building owners and construction companies are very familiar with international standards for building safety. The designers and constructors of these buildings have to ensure that emergency exits and other precautions meet the codes set forth by the International Code Council or ICC. An owner should be familiar with these guidelines as well to be certain they will not suffer financial repercussions in the event of a future emergency. While all involved parties may know of these guidelines, sometimes compliance is not achieved. This could be due to incompetence or something being overlooked. Whatever the reason for this oversight, the expense incurred can be very high if something bad should happen. The International Building Code (IBC) and International Fire Code (IFC) guidelines were designed to protect both building owners and occupants. If they are followed accordingly, occupants have fewer risks when evacuating a building.
Before the International building and fire codes existed, three varying regulations were used in sections of the country. They were merged in 2000 and have become a national standard for newly constructed structures and building alterations. Changes to the codes are published every three years. Printings are slow and may not include recent alterations. Most states have set these regulations as their standard. Michigan, California, New York, and a few other states use a version of these codes that has been changed to meet local regulations. Owners and builders are encouraged to follow a current regulation guide as well as ask local building officials. They can discuss applicable codes and their direct effect on a particular project. Exit signs for buildings are included in these guidelines.
Signage Compliance Increases Safety
Consider this scenario to better understand why exit signs for buildings are required by the international codes. You own a building that was constructed without adhering to local and national building codes. According to the building safety codes, there should be a specific number of exits for maximum occupancy. Every exit requires signs and markings that not only help people identify the exit but also find their way to the exit location. Since IBC regulations were not followed, your building was not designed or constructed with the right safety elements.
Individuals occupying the building frantically seek exits either in poor lighting, no lighting, or heavily smoke filled areas. Some do find the exits while others get lost or hurt. Fatalities and injuries from these situations are expensive for you.
Sign compliance is not budget breaking or hard to accomplish. Consider the same scenario as above but with compliant markings. In bad emergencies, occupants have the needed directions for a safe exit. They do not panic and in most cases everyone gets out of the building without a single injury. This cuts costs because there are no lawsuits or other expenses associated with injury. Many buildings are beginning to use photo-luminescent signs to avoid problems such as a failed generator, loss of electricity, and heavy smoke. These signs are safer because they can be viewed throughout a building under any type of evacuation conditions. Implementing these precautions upfront requires little capital resources and saves an owner money in the event of an emergency.