The A117.1 Committee of the
International Code Council (ICC) voted to approve the updated
model building code standard for classroom acoustics earlier this month. This
model building code standard sets reverberation rates for classrooms of certain
square footages and closely mirrors the ANSI/ASA S12.60-2010/Part 1 standard. ASHA has worked for many years to help develop the original ANSI standard in the 2000s, later
revising it in 2010 and sponsoring the code amendment to the A117.1 code in
2015. This code is now ready for adoption by school districts, localities, and
The purpose of the A117.1 model building code standard is to "make sites,
facilities, buildings and elements accessible to and usable by people with...physical disabilities." Further, "The intent...is to allow a person with
a physical disability to independently get to, enter, and use a site, facility,
building, or element," including schools. Generally, most of the A117.1 code is
devoted to accessibility for individuals with physical disabilities by
establishing standards for curb cuts, parking spaces, ramps, doors, lights,
switches, signs, alarms, and counters. Sound—in this case, the reverberation of
sound in a classroom—is a new element in the model building code.
The ICC will seek validation of the A117.1 code from ANSI before publishing the
entire model standard later this spring. The classroom acoustics standard still
needs complementary "scoping" standards to determine how and where, such as
elementary school classrooms but not cafeterias or gymnasiums, the A117.1 code
will be implemented. The formal scoping process will begin later in 2017, when
the International Building Code is updated and amended.
In the meantime, ASHA members can bring this standard to the attention of local
building code officials and school districts as they plan the construction of
The ICC maintains a webpage devoted to the A117.1 standard
and the work of the committee that updated it. ASHA members can review general
information about classroom
acoustics on its webpage.
Please consider joining the Classroom Noise
and Acoustics Coalition page on Facebook. Please contact Neil
Snyder, ASHA's director of federal advocacy, at 800-498-2071, ext. 5416, or firstname.lastname@example.org.