NAHB Reviewing 2,400 Proposed ICC Code Changes
The more than 2,400 code change proposals submitted for developing the 2012 editions of the International Code Council's (ICC’s) family of model building codes are now being reviewed by NAHB members and staff.
While provisions on residential fire sprinklers, energy efficiency and wall bracing tend to generate the most interest, the volunteer members of NAHB’s Provisions Oversight Groups (POG) are likely to decide to support or oppose as many as half of the proposals submitted.
POG members will be meeting Sept. 21-23 at the National Housing Center in Washington, D.C. to review the staff recommendations and develop the NAHB-supported positions on the proposals. Public hearings on the proposals will take place Oct. 24-Nov. 11 in Baltimore.
NAHB will be represented at the hearings by 20 members on 12 ICC code committees and two code councils. NAHB has long supported the International Code Council, whose members create, and then vote on, the model building codes that set minimum standards for construction and fire-safety.
Among the issues to watch:
- The Home Builders’ 30% Solution. As legislators and energy policy advocates look to ratchet up efficiency requirements for new homes, NAHB has submitted a proposal to achieve a more cost-effective 30% increase over 2006 IRC/IECC energy provisions, and provide a more flexible solution to help reduce energy use.
NAHB’s proposal is an alternative to the many competing proposals that limit the 30% increase in efficiency to the building envelope, and exclude equipment, appliance and lighting energy loads from contributing to the 30% total reduction in energy use.
“At last spring’s board of directors meeting, NAHB’s leadership unanimously approved a resolution that supports a 30% increase in energy efficiency for new homes by 2012,” said NAHB Construction, Codes and Standards Committee Chair Dwight “Sonny” Richardson, an Alabama home builder.
“However, we must allow for equipment tradeoffs to reach these levels affordably. We don’t want to price consumers out of new, energy-efficient homes,” Richardson said.
- Residential Fire Sprinklers. A number of proposals would effectively rescind the controversial September, 2008 decision to mandate fire sprinkler systems in all one- and two-family homes through the International Residential Code.
Before last year, the requirements had been contained in an appendix of the IRC, giving jurisdictions the option of including them as a mandate if they decide these systems are needed in their jurisdiction. Since the publication of the 2009 IRC, a number of states have elected to remove the requirements from the code during the adopting process.
In an effort to maintain affordability where the fire sprinkler mandates have been adopted, NAHB has submitted proposals that provide construction methods and materials tradeoffs to reduce the overall cost.
- ICC Annual Business Meeting. In the middle of the three-week-long public hearings, four days are devoted to the ICC annual business meeting. Besides the election of new board members, ICC governmental voting members will attempt bylaw changes to settle a year-long controversy over voting requirements in the wake of last year’s fire sprinkler debate, when hundreds of volunteer fire fighters received paid travel expenses to attend the hearings and register a positive vote.
- Green Construction Code. An ICC-appointed consensus committee has begun work on the ICC International Green Construction Code (IGCC) for all construction except non-institutional residential. Residential construction — including multifamily high-rises — will still use the National Green Building Standard to achieve a level of green applications.
The development timeline for the IGCC will produce a 2012 edition of the document, and be a part of the 2012 family of I-Codes.
For more information, e-mail Calli Schmidt at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8132.
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