Complicating their charge is the fact that more unique, resilient structures are being developed by design professionals every day using new and innovative building materials. In order to meet very demanding architectural and structural requirements for these state-of-the-art structures, manufacturers must continually develop more efficient and better performing building products. In turn, these alternative building products must be properly evaluated for code compliance.

ICC Evaluation Service (ICC-ES) offers a continuous code compliance process for manufacturers that culminates in publication of product evaluation reports. ICC-ES is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to ISO/IEC 17065 Conformity assessment - Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services. The product evaluation process starts with an independent, rigorous review of industry standards, product test data and specifications. Qualifying inspections of product manufacturing quality control are also conducted, and an evaluation report is then issued to the building product manufacturer. The evaluation report authorizes the manufacturer to apply the ICC-ES mark of conformity to their product as proof of code compliance. Throughout the life of an evaluation report, quality control inspections are continuously conducted to ensure that no unauthorized changes have occurred in the manufacturing process, and that the product has not varied from what was originally evaluated.

ICC-ES reports are a powerful tool that design professionals and building officials can use to improve efficiency of their practice. Selection and approval of alternative building products is difficult as is, however ICC-ES reports can help streamline critical decision-making. The evaluation process exists for a reason: to support the safe use of alternative products under the IBC and International Residential Code® (IRC) in accordance with Section 104.11 Alternative materials, design and methods of construction and equipment. ICC-ES evaluation reports also help manufacturers bring their innovative technologies to market with independent proof that their products meet the latest building code requirements and standards.

Why should a manufacturer seek an evaluation report for their building products? First and foremost, manufacturers apply for ICC-ES reports because they allow code officials to instantly approve products with confidence and peace of mind. Another benefit is differentiation. ICC-ES evaluated products are much more competitive versus similar products that haven’t been independently evaluated. Best-in-class building product manufacturers recognize this fact, and maintain portfolios of ICC-ES reports covering most of their product lines, which strengthen their positions in the marketplace. Other manufacturers that don’t hold evaluation reports face an uphill battle for selection and approval on each and every project. This can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction with the unrecognized product and manufacturer. In these cases, rejection of the proposed alternate is more likely. Building product manufacturers agree that while rigorous, the ICC-ES evaluation report process is straightforward, fair and well worth the investment in the long run. The evaluation process begins with a consultative discussion with ICC-ES staff.

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