Protecting semiconductor facilities, 2000 and beyond



The semiconductor industry remains one of the most rapidly changing industries, and its fate of always being on technology's cutting edge has not always been enviable. In the 1970s, the industry was concentrated in municipalities using the Uniform Building Code (UBC) [1]. None of the code's occupancy classifications were really appropriate, so semiconductor fabrication facilities (FABs) were designated as an “H” or hazardous occupancy. This vagueness reflected uneducated, arbitrary, and inconsistent interpretations of the codes that made it difficult to construct and manage facilities. To address this, many of the leading-edge semiconductor companies dedicated staff to work with code officials to assure that any codes governing the industry could be applied uniformly, and would contain reasonable protection requirements. Continuing that practice will ensure the industry's ability to operate safe facilities despite an atmosphere of constant change.