Classroom Acoustics Model Building Code Standard Adopted by Code Committee

January 13, 2017

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 states.

Background

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 new schools.

Resources

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 [email protected].


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