AWC's Position on the Fire Protection of Residential Floors

Originally published by: American Wood CouncilOctober 11, 2016

The following article was produced and published by the source linked to above, who is solely responsible for its content. SBC Magazine is publishing this story to raise awareness of information publicly available online and does not verify the accuracy of the author’s claims. As a consequence, SBC cannot vouch for the validity of any facts, claims or opinions made in the article.

Editor’s Note:  On September 6, 2016, the American Wood Council (AWC) sent out the following two items in their bi-weekly WoodPost email focused on building code issues.

Fire Protection of Residential Floors

Chapter 3 of the International Residential Code (IRC) sets forth minimum requirements for the health, safety, and welfare of occupants in one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses. Section R302.13 provides for the minimum fire protection of floors that do not require a fire resistance rating. During the development of these provisions in the 2012 model code, historical precedent and the familiarity of the fire service with the attributes of solid sawn framing lumber led to choosing solid sawn lumber joists not less in size than 2"x10" as the benchmark for fire performance of wood floor assemblies. Since then, proprietary truss and engineered joist systems have used ICC ES Acceptance Criteria AC-14 to demonstrate a level of fire performance similar to the minimum 2"x10" solid sawn lumber. The code requires other floor systems to be protected by a minimum of one-half inch (1/2") layer of gypsum wallboard, five-eighths inch (5/8") wood structural panels, or equivalent. These floor protection provisions in Section R302.13 work with other provisions, such as those for smoke detectors, emergency egress openings, and fire resistance rated separations between dwelling units to enhance occupant and fire fighter safety during a fire emergency. For more information, see the FAQ and white paper available here.

ICC Code Official Validation Deadline

ICC member code officials who want to vote on the code changes in the Group B Public Comment hearings and take part in the on-line governmental consensus final voting, must electronically validate their voter status with ICC by Sept. 19. For more information, go here:

Check out this extra section in each digital issue of SBC Magazine for additional news, perspective, and advertiser content. Learn more and access 2016-2017 archives here.