Ammonia Refrigeration and the 2018 International Fire Code
The International Code Council (ICC) recently released their publication of the 2018 International Fire Code (IFC) and it contains three noteworthy changes/clarifications that will impact ammonia refrigeration systems built under the jurisdiction of this code. There has been some shifting around from the 2015 IFC, so we hope to familiarize you with the following changes:
- Section Change
Since the 2000 edition of IFC, “Mechanical Refrigeration” has been addressed in Section 606. “Mechanical Refrigeration” has a new home in 2018 IFC – Section 605.
- References to IIAR Standards
The 2015 IFC required ammonia refrigeration systems to comply with IIAR 2 for system design/installation and IIAR 7 for operating procedures. References to IIAR standards has been expanded in 2018 IFC which now requires ammonia systems to comply with IIAR 8 for decommissioning in addition to previous references to IIAR 2 and 7.
- Ammonia Detection
Whereas the 2015 IFC had prescriptive machinery room detection requirements, 2018 IFC §605.8 simply requires that “Where ammonia is used as the refrigerant, detection shall comply with IIAR 2”.
 2018 IFC §605.1.2 Ammonia refrigeration.
Refrigeration systems using ammonia refrigerant and the buildings in which such systems are installed shall comply with IIAR-2 for system design and installation and IIAR-7 for operating procedures. Decommissioning of ammonia refrigeration systems shall comply with IIAR-8.
 2018 IFC §605.8 Refrigerant detection.
Machinery rooms shall be provided with a refrigerant detector with an audible and visible alarm. Where ammonia is used as the refrigerant, detection shall comply with IIAR 2. For refrigerants other than ammonia, refrigerant detection shall comply with Section 605.8.1