The application of IBC compliant exit signs is important when constructing any new building. International Building Code or IBC has requirements based on building size and occupancy. These guidelines help designers determine the number and location of exits. They also enforce proper signage and safety during the construction of the building. Every state has a set of building codes that must be followed. Many have either begun to follow the defined IBC regulations or have used them to create an adaptation that works with their local laws and legislation. Building owners are expected to be in compliance with these guidelines and can suffer many consequences including fines when they are not. An inspection prior to occupancy can point out any items that do not comply with the guidelines. This can be scary for building owners but is much less painful than the results caused by non-compliance during a crisis situation.
Adding Up the Costs Post Disaster
A building owner has two basic scenarios when a disaster takes place. Under compliance and increased efforts occupants can get out safely with minimal injury. Emergency personnel enter the building, rescue trapped individuals, and alleviate the problem. This is the ideal result because it entails fewer costs to the building owner. It costs far less to put up effective signage than it does to pay for the damages caused when a building is not in compliance. Owners can ensure greater safety by using identification items made of photo luminescent materials. These safety products do not require power or maintenance and remain visible in low lighting or heavy smoke. Regulations currently do not require this type of signage or markings, but they can be implemented at or below the cost of more traditional methods.
The second scenario is a recipe for all around disaster. Signs may be present but not visible to occupants. IBC compliant exit signs and identifiers could not be displayed properly or not be in the building at all. As a result, occupants cannot easily find the exits. Smoke may begin to fill the building and make it impossible to see them. Debris due to an earthquake or other natural disaster could block the nearest exit. Without these safety management enforcers, individuals get lost or hurt, and do not get out of the building. Emergency personnel will have trouble locating exits, equipment, and paths.
Costs after the second scenario can be staggering to say the least. On top of the insurance hassles and building repairs, owners get the additional complications of injury compensation and compliance issues. Every person injured can file a lawsuit against the owner requesting they pay for their short term medical, long term medical, and any other harm that has been done. This means hiring a lawyer, spending time mediating, or going through a court trial. It could be a possible result for every person injured. Building code authorities in the area might charge non-compliance fines and remain an active part of building reconstruction to ensure the requirements are indeed met the second time around. All can be avoided by just following regulations and making certain occupant have visible and clear exit paths for emergencies.