The 2021 IFC® contains regulations to safeguard life and property from fires and explosion hazards. Topics include general precautions, emergency planning and preparedness, fire department access and water supplies, automatic sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, special hazards, and the storage and use of hazardous materials. Key changes to the IFC include:
- Requirements for Additive Manufacturing (3-D Printing) equipment and operations for both non-industrial and industrial applications are now provided.
- Flame propagation performance of permanently installed artificial combustible vegetation is required to be verified when exceeding certain heights located on roofs or in close proximity to buildings.
- Provisions for emergency responder communication were revised to reflect the expansion of such systems beyond radios and the need for increased performance of such systems.
- Sprinkler requirements for the storage, manufacture and sale of upholstered furniture and mattresses were updated and clarified. Part of this update is a new exception for single-story self-storage facilities accessed directly from the exterior.
- An automatic sprinkler system is now required for open parking garages exceeding a certain fire area threshold.
- The requirements for energy storage system (ESS) were further refined to reflect the variety of new technologies and applications (in building and standalone) and the need for proper commissioning and decommissioning of such systems.
- A new chapter was added that provides clarification and specific requirements for the storage of distilled spirits and wines in barrels and casks.
- The provisions for construction fire safety were reorganized and expanded with an emphasis on the owner's responsibilities. The new language requires a site safety plan and designation of a site safety director.