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Interdisciplinary Professional Programs

Introduction to the International Building Code (IBC) - Fire and Life Safety See upcoming dates

Course Overview

This course is a must for professionals who plan, design, review, or inspect buildings to ensure public health and safety. Learn and understand essential code requirements, facilitate code compliance, and reduce costly project revisions.

Who Should Attend?

This course will benefit new users of the IBC, as well as experienced professionals seeking reinforcement, or interested in an update on the new changes. This includes:

  • Plan reviewers and code officials
  • Architects and related professionals
  • Engineers and technicians
  • Consultants and planners

Course Outline

Day One

Welcome and Introduction                                            

Code Application                                    

  • Scope and intent
  • Alternate methods and materials
  • Existing buildings

 Occupancy Classification                        

  • Use and Occupancy
  • Occupancy Groups
  • Mixed occupancies

 Automatic Sprinkler Systems                    

  • Fire areas
  • Sprinkler requirements
  • Sprinkler tradeoffs 

Types of Construction                                               

  • Classification
  • Building element protection 

Allowable Building Size                               

  • Allowable building height
  • Mezzanines
  • Allowable building area
  • Mixed occupancies
  • Unlimited area buildings
  • Podium buildings

Day Two

 Location on Lot                                                         

  • Exterior wall ratings
  • Buildings on the same lot
  • Openings in exterior walls

 Fire and Smoke Resistance                                         

  • Fire-resistance ratings
  • Fire-rated walls
  • Horizontal assemblies
  • Penetrations
  • Opening protectives
  • Fire and smoke dampers

 Fire Protection Systems                                          

  • Standpipe systems
  • Fire alarm systems

 Interior Finishes                                           

  • Wall and ceiling finishes
  • Floor finishes

 Means of Egress                                

  • General egress components
  • Occupant load determination
  • Egress capacity and width
  • Doors and stairways
  • Exit signs
  • Handrails and guardrails
  • Number and location of exits
  • Corridors
  • Horizontal exits
  • Interior exit stairways
  • Exterior exit stairways
  • Exit discharge


  • A: Effective use and application of the IBC
  • B: Special detailed occupancy requirements
  • C: Safety glazing
  • D: Key changes in the 2018 IBC
  • E: Key changes in the 2021 IBC


“Doug and Mark did a great job making this course informative, yet still interesting and not boring. The students asked many questions, in which Doug & Mark interacted with the class great.”  

Alexis, River Valley Architects, Eau Claire, WI (November 2021)

“I thought the content covered was great and helpful. Doug is very knowledgeable about the code.”

Andrew, Lawson Fisher, South Bend, IN (May 2019)

“Thank you, Doug & Mark!  Will help w/ my career and ARE’s!”

Derek, Angus Young Associates, Stoughton, WI (May 2019)

"Very informative & great refresher on how to navigate IBC. The select 2018 changes were also easy-to-follow & insightful...Material & handouts were easy-to-follow. Douglas was engaging & kept things interesting. Overall, great course!"

Neha, Burnham Nationwide, Chicago, IL (May 2018)

"Doug is an amazing presenter, great charisma, makes time for questions. The guy is a machine!! 2 days presenting without a miss, unreal!"

Kyle, HGA Architects and Engineers, Port Washington, WI (May 2018) 

"Doug is extremely well versed in the code. I especially enjoyed the history of sections of the code or reasons why the committee made a certain decision."

Sean, CBRE Heery, Burlington, MA (May 2018)

"A lot of good information on understanding how the code was developed and why, which helps interpret the code...Not only learned about the code but also confirmed we are applying the code properly."

Steven, Studio K Architecture, Princeton, IL (May 2018)


Douglas Thornburg

Douglas W. Thornburg, AIA, CBO, is currently Vice-President and Technical Director of Products and Services for the International Code Council (ICC) where he provides administrative and technical leadership for the ICC product development activities. Doug creates and presents building code seminars nationally and has developed numerous educational texts and resource materials and was awarded ICC's inaugural Educator of the Year Award. Prior to employment with ICC, he was in private practice as a code consultant and educator on building codes for nine years. Doug also spent 10 years with the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) where he served as Vice-President/Education. A graduate of Kansas State University and a registered architect, Doug has over 36 years of experience in building code training and administration. He has authored a variety of code-related support publications, including the IBC Illustrated Handbook and the Significant Changes to the International Building Code.

George Mann

George Mann spent his 30-year code enforcement career with the Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction Division of Building Code Enforcement in service to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Over his 30-year career, George was a plan examiner, promoted to Technical Advisor in 1990, then to Assistant Director in 2005 during which time he trained and supervised the plan review and field inspection staff, and finally Deputy Commissioner / Chief Building Official in 2008 till his retirement. In 1985 took on additional responsibilities serving as the Departments educational developer and instructor, providing training on the use and application of building codes. Nationally, George served on the Building General Committee of the National Certification Program for Construction Code Inspectors (NCPCCI) from 1992 to 2012, the International Code Council’s Education Committee from 2004 to 2010 and NFPA 5000 Building Code Development Committee from 2002 to 2006. George retired from the Department in 2012 but continues to provide educational services to the International Code Council, Kentucky AIA, Code Administrators Association of Kentucky.

Past dates