International Fire Code 2018 (IFC 2018)

Part I — Administrative

Part II — General Safety Provisions

Part III — Building and Equipment Design Features

Part IV — Special Occupancies and Operations

Part V — Hazardous Materials

Part VI — Referenced Standards

Part VII — Appendices

Heads up: There are no amended sections in this chapter.
The provisions contained in this appendix are not mandatory unless specifically referenced in the adopting ordinance or legislation of the jurisdiction.

User note:

About this appendix: Appendix J provides design, installation and maintenance requirements for a Building Information Sign (BIS), a fire service tool to be utilized in the crucial, initial response of fire fighters to a structure fire. The BIS placard is designed to be utilized within the initial response time frame of an incident to assist fire fighters in their tactical sizing up of a situation as soon as possible after arrival on the scene of a fire emergency. The BIS design is in the shape of a fire service Maltese Cross and includes five spaces (the four wings plus the centerpiece of the cross symbol) in which information is placed about the tactical considerations of construction type and hourly rating, fire protection systems, occupancy type, content hazards and special features that could affect tactical decisions and operations.

New buildings shall have a building information sign(s) that shall comply with Sections J101.1.1 through J101.7. Existing buildings shall be brought into conformance with Sections J101.1 through J101.9 when one of the following occurs:

  1. The fire department conducts an annual inspection intended to verify compliance with this section, or any required inspection.
  2. A change in use or occupancy has occurred.


  1. Group U occupancies.
  2. One- and two-family dwellings.

The building information sign shall be placed at one of the following locations:

  1. On the entry door or sidelight at a minimum height of 42 inches (1067 mm) above the walking surface on the address side of the building or structure.
  2. On the exterior surface of the building or structure on either side of the entry door, not more than 3 feet (76 mm) from the entrance door, at a minimum height of 42 inches (1067 mm) above the walking surface on the address side of the building or structure.
  3. Conspicuously placed inside an enclosed entrance lobby, on any vertical surface within 10 feet (254 mm) of the entrance door at a minimum height of 42 inches (1067 mm) above the walking surface.
  4. Inside the building's fire command center.
  5. On the exterior of the fire alarm control unit or on the wall immediately adjacent to the fire alarm control unit door where the alarm panel is located in the enclosed main lobby.

The building information sign shall consist of all of the following:

  1. White reflective background with red letters.
  2. Durable material.
  3. Numerals shall be Roman or Latin numerals, as required, or alphabet letters.
  4. Permanently affixed to the building or structure in an approved manner.

The building information sign shall be a Maltese cross as shown in Figure J101.1.3.

FIGURE J101.1.3


The minimum size of the building information sign and lettering shall be in accordance with the following:

  1. The width and height shall be 6 inches by 6 inches (152 mm by 152 mm).
  2. The height or width of each Maltese cross wing area shall be 11/8 inches (29 mm) and have a stroke width of 1/2 inch (13 mm).
  3. The center of the Maltese cross, a circle or oval, shall be 3 inches (76 mm) in diameter and have a stroke width of 1/2 inch (6 mm).
  4. All Roman numerals and alphabetic designations, shall be 11/4 inch (32 mm) height and have a stroke width of 1/4 inch (6 mm).
Designations shall be made based on the construction type, content, hazard, fire protection systems, life safety and occupancy. Where multiple designations occur within a classification category, the designation used shall be based on the greatest potential risk.

The construction types shall be designated by assigning the appropriate Roman numeral, and letter, placed inside the top wing of the Maltese cross. The hourly rating provided is for the structural framing in accordance with Table 601 of the International Building Code,

IA—Noncombustible3 Hours
IB—Noncombustible2 Hours
IIA—Noncombustible1 Hour
IIB—Noncombustible0 Hours
IIIA—Noncombustible/combustible1 Hour
IIIB—Noncombustible/combustible0 Hours
IV—Heavy timber (HT)HT
VA—Combustible1 Hour
VB—Combustible0 Hours

The fire protection system shall be designated by determining its level of protection and assigning the appropriate designation to the right wing of the Maltese cross. Where multiple systems are provided, all shall be listed:

ASAutomatic sprinkler system installed throughout
CESChemical extinguishing system and designated area
CSCombination sprinkler and standpipe system
DSDry sprinkler system and designated areas
FAFire alarm system
FPFire pump
FWFire wall and designated areas
PASPre-action sprinkler system and designated floor
PSPartial automatic sprinkler system, and designated floor
SStandpipe system
NSNo system installed

The occupancy of a building or structure shall be designated in accordance with the occupancy classification found in Section 302.1 of the International Building Code and the corresponding designation shall be placed in the bottom wing of the Maltese cross. Where a building or structure contains a mixture of uses and occupancies, all uses and occupancies shall be identified.

FFactory or Industrial
HHigh Hazard

The hazards of building contents shall be designated by one of the following classifications as defined in NFPA 13 and the appropriate designation shall be placed inside the left wing of the Maltese cross:

LHLight hazard
MHModerate hazard
HHHigh hazard

The center circle shall include the name of the local fire service and, where required, the letters "TC" for "tactical considerations." Where fire fighters conduct preplan operations, a unique situation(s) for tactical considerations shall be identified and the information provided to the fire dispatch communications center to further assist fire fighters in identifying that there is special consideration(s) for this occupancy. Special consideration designations include, but are not limited to:

  1. Impact-resistant drywall.
  2. Impact-resistant glazing, such as blast or hurricane-type glass.
  3. All types of roof and floor structural members including but not limited to post-tension concrete, bar joists, solid wood joists, rafters, trusses, cold-formed galvanized steel, I-joists and I-beams; green roof with vegetation, soil and plants.
  4. Hazardous materials (such as explosives, chemicals, plastics).
  5. Solar panels and DC electrical energy.
  6. HVAC system; and smoke management system for pressurization and exhaust methods.
  7. Other unique characteristic(s) within the building that are ranked according to a potential risk to occupants and fire fighters.

Sign maintenance shall comply with each of the following:

  1. Fire departments in the jurisdiction shall define the designations to be placed within the sign.
  2. Fire departments in the jurisdiction shall conduct annual inspections to verify compliance with this section of the code and shall notify the owner, or the owner's agent, of any required updates to the sign in accordance with fire department designations and the owner, or the owner's agent, shall comply within 30 days.
  3. The owner of a building shall be responsible for the maintenance and updates to the sign in accordance with fire department designations.

Jurisdictions shall train fire department personnel on Sections J101.1 through J101.8.

ICC IBC—18International Building CodeJ101.3, J101.5
NFPA 13—16Installation of Sprinkler SystemsJ101.6
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