International Fire Code

IFC Compliant Self Luminous Exit Signs

When it comes to exit signs, several documents are referenced to determine if the fixtures is safe and code compliant. Two of the major publications are the International Building Code (IBC) and the International Fire Code (IFC).


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While both documents cover a wide range of construction and life-saving equipment in regards to fire prevention, there are distinctions between the two. They will depend on what stage of construction your building is in when installing your self luminous exit signs.

The differences are:

IBC - focuses on buildings currently undergoing construction or recently constructed.

IFC - focuses on completed, fully operational businesses.

When shopping for SL exit signs, knowing what stage of construction your facility is in will determine which document to refer to. They are both very long, heavy manuals, so you will only want to tackle one if at all possible.

Provisions of the International Fire Code

The International Code Council (ICC) updates  the Fire Code every three years and covers the regulations for fire prevention, installation, testing and maintenance in existing buildings. Some states may use the IFC as an all-encompassing exit sign rule book, while other states will supplement their own rules.

If you're not sure about your local codes regarding self luminous exit signs, contact us or call our friendly sales staff at 800-379-1129 for immediate assistance.

IFC Chapter 10

Means of Egress

Buildings must provide a means of egress. It is unlawful to change the building's structure in a way that will reduce the amount of exits required by this code.

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  • Detached 1 and 2-family dwellings and townhouses
  • Not more than 3 stories above ground
  • Buildings covered by the International Residential Code

Exit Signs

The following requirements are listed in the IBC and apply equally to IFC rules:

  • Must illuminate internally or externally
  • Signs must stay on at all times
  • Must meet UL 924 guidelines
  • Must be installed according to the manufacturer
  • Must provide at least 90 minutes of emergency illumination during a power failure
  • Must take no more than 10 seconds to switch over to emergency power

Of course, some of these rules don't apply to self powered exit signs, which do not require an external power source.

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