Every 18 months, the California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) receives code change proposals from multiple state agencies responsible for recommending changes to the International Building Code (IBC) model code. The amendments to the 2015 IBC model code made by the CBSC are adopted as the 2016 California Building Code (CBC), and take effect January 1st, 2017.
The 2016 CBC contains significant healthcare facility code changes that correct previous code issues. Some code changes also further restrict and/or define design standards in healthcare settings that were previously unaddressed or ambiguous. In fact, the most significant hospital regulation chapter (chapter 12) has increased over 20% in length in the new code when compared to the 2013 edition.
Fortunately, some of the 2016 CBC changes provide relief for healthcare facilities. For example, depending on the construction type, accessory occupancies are no longer required to be separate, and are now permitted in “I” occupancies up to 10% of each floor area. The change permits administrative, business, physician sleep rooms, pharmacies and some storage areas to forego the formerly required two hour separation. Additionally, these spaces are no longer required to have direct access to a corridor which will create further design flexibility and convenience for healthcare facilities.
Other significant changes include recognizing and defining standards of space and support requirements for Intervention Radiology spaces, and defining requirements for Interoperative MRI and Hybrid OR spaces.
Due to the extensive code changes this cycle, hospitals and designers should expect an increase in review time and construction document preparation as we all work to assimilate the 2016 updates.
For more information on adopted code changes visit the CBSC website, http://www.bsc.ca.gov.