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Spray Foam & Code Requirements for Commercial Building Designs

Commercial building designs that include spray foam insulation should take into consideration the following:

Spray Foam Code

  • Local codes based on IBC 2009: Chapter 26
  • Local codes based on IBC 2012: Chapter 26
  • Local codes based on IBC 2015: Chapter 26

Building Thermal Envelope Code

  • Local codes based on IECC 2009: Section 502
  • Local codes based on IECC 2012: Section C402
  • Local codes based on IECC 2015: Section C402

There may also be codes related to the specific application in which Icynene can work with your firm to address the building code requirements. To determine which code your local code is based on, you can visit the Online Code Environment & Advocacy Network website.

Thermal Barrier and Vapor Barrier Requirements

In an occupied space, a thermal barrier adjacent to either low density or medium density foam is required. This could be ½ inch gypsum board, or from the code prescribed list in 2603.4, depending on the spray foam section of the local code.  If the space is unoccupied, a thermal barrier is not required. Icynene’s Engineering and Building Science experts are able to work with you on your commercial building design to determine the requirements for a thermal barrier.

In terms of a vapor barrier, local code will indicate the requirements as it is affected by climate and the elements in the building envelope.

Determining R-Value Requirements

R-Value requirements will depend on the requirements of the local building code. ICC code allows Icynene spray foam insulation to be installed with less than the prescriptive minimum R-value and still meet the intent of the code. Compliance based on simulated energy performance requires that a proposed residence (proposed design) be shown to have an annual energy cost that is less than or equal to the annual energy cost of the standard reference design that is based on the minimum prescriptive standard. When the air tightness of the building envelope is factored into the computer calculations, the building will require less R-value than the prescriptive level mandates. Typically the R-value can be reduced by 20-25%, depending on the code version that is being used.

See 2006 / 2009 / 2012 / 2015 IBC (IECC) Section 506 - Performance-Based Compliance.