What is the ICC?

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You want to be sure the foundation repair products used on your home are up to code and will work to prevent issues in the future. Sometimes having additional documentation from a third-party company can make you feel more at ease about what will be used on your home. One of those third parties will be the International Code Council for their reporting. Cities will also use ICC reports to approve products in their area.

Sometimes producers going for an ICC report can make the approval process much faster in cities. They’ll look a little more credible. But what is an ICC report? And what does ICC mean, anyway?

If you’re a nerd learning about the industry or a homeowner learning about how an ICC applies to your foundation repair, this article on the ICC is perfect for you.

Note: Nerd is a term of endearment. If I weren’t a nerd about this stuff, I wouldn’t be publishing this article.

As our Content Manager at Dalinghaus Construction likes to say, “when people call me a nerd, they’re affirming I know things.”

Dalinghaus Construction has been in the foundation repair business since 2015, using products from multiple companies that have ICC reports to validate their products. ICC reports have helped our company learn what certain products are used for and how the reports are applied to other cities. We understand how an ICC report is applied in the foundation repair industry.

Only product suppliers need to deal with having an ICC report

The International Code Council (ICC) is an independent third-party company that verifies what manufacturers state their products do. Product suppliers go to them to validate the capabilities and claims manufacturers make about their products. 

The ICC accredits organizations, businesses, and governmental agencies that are competent and comply with industry and/or international standards.

They’re like that close friend you have and who everyone trusts that reinforces your story when no one else believes you. They let everyone know you’re not lying. In this case, your ICC friend makes a whole report about it. Over the top, but it gets the job done. 

They have their testing procedures and validate weight capacities and product specifications. From there, they’ll write a report confirming it can handle whatever amount of load, tensile strength, etc. 

While the ICC has been around for a while, they’ve recently been products for the foundation repair industry approved. Makes sense when this line of work is niche.

How are products tested? 

The producer first sends in their product testing paperwork on their product to the ICC testing facility. The ICC then validates those types of tests.

So let’s say a company sends the ICC documentation on their helical piers. They’ll test compression value for loading, tension testing for tensile strength, validation supporting certain soil conditions, etc. 

A company will tell the ICC, “this is our product, this is what it’s used for, and here is the data.” The ICC will say, “yep, it does those things you said.”

Sometimes companies will claim an item can handle a certain load, only to have the ICC say, “no, it handles this much.” So if a producer says, “My helical piers can handle 400,000 pounds,” the ICC can test it to find different conclusions and say, “actually, it can handle a maximum of 50,000 pounds.”That’s the oversimplified version. Think of the ICC as checks and balances for the manufacturers. They keep people honest. 

(An expensive honest, but honest nonetheless.)

What data does an ICC report provide?

They’ll put in the standards a product is used for, the actual product (if products come in various sizes, they can be listed under one ICC), each item that completes the assembly, how to properly install the product, how to lock off a completed installed product (important for foundation repair), capacities, and other validations. 

Products will need to be renewed once every couple of years.

Renewals will have to be made on a product once every two years. Nothing will need to be resubmitted so long as there aren’t any changes to the products themselves. 

Government agencies will (sometimes) use ICC reports

It would be nice to make a product, do some testing, and call it a day. However, most cities will have requirements before you can use a product in an area. I mean they want to be sure the products are safe and do their jobs.

Because cities will have standards, they need to make sure the products used for buildings will reach the minimum requirements for their intended use.

Not all cities necessarily need an ICC report, but an ICC report can be helpful, especially if you want your product used in certain areas.

What if items aren’t approved by an ICC report?

It’s not the end of the world. There are certain standards cities will use like the American Society for Testing and Material (ASTM) to ensure products fall within those guidelines. 

Sometimes companies will “dumb down” capacities to meet specified requirements. That way their product has a better chance of being approved in areas they want to be used. The company that uses the product will still need to abide by the requirements that have been approved. 

Why are ICC reports important for foundation repair contractors?

Honestly, if you’re working anywhere outside of California, you don’t exactly “need” an ICC report. Some areas within certain states are starting to adapt to having ICC reports. Many of these places require a permit to do foundation repair, meaning there will be higher standards.

Regardless, ICC reports provide information on code requirements or acceptance criteria used to evaluate a product, how the product is identified, how a product is installed, etc. These reports certify a product can be used by a company for its intended purpose.

So if your foundation repair uses products approved through an ICC report, a producer has a better chance of selling your products to foundation repair companies, along with having those products used in areas and cities around the world.

For example, the city of Los Angeles requires your product have a Los Angeles Research Report before the product can be approved for usage. Rather than going through another phase of testing with the city, you can send your ICC report instead of having it tested for a ridiculous fee by the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS). 

The approval for a product to be used will be more expedient since the LADBS will use the information in the ICC report and make some tweaks for the LARR.

This is a long-winded way of saying that having an ICC report makes acquiring other reports much easier, especially in Los Angeles.

To learn more about what LARRs are, check out our article What the heck is a LARR?

You now know about the ICC and its reporting. 

You’ve learned about the ICC, how they report on products, and how those reports can be applied. While ICC reports can seem tedious and expensive for suppliers, they make the products used for your foundation repair look more valid. The report is basically a checks and balances system. 

So what now? Be a nerd. Being a nerd is an acknowledgment you know things or are willing to know more aspects of a subject.

Look at the reports on more products we use from various manufacturers on our Square Shaft Helical Resources page.

Watch one of our Foundation Repair Tip of the Day Videos with Brandon from ECP.

Finally, go to our Learning Hub and Blogs page to learn more about foundation repair!

For any additional questions, give Dalinghaus Construction a call at (877)360-9277.


Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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