Key Code Proposals to Watch

As home builders, code officials and the rest of the industry looks at the current round of proposals for the 2018 editions of the International Code Council?s Residential, Energy Conservation, and Fire codes, there?s no time like the present to fight for sensible building practices.

To help, we?ve created a?Top 40 document?that highlights those changes that, because of extraordinary expense on the negative side or better building practices on the positive, are most important to the home building industry and to home buyers, whose interests we represent.

Some examples:

RE117-123.?Increasingly stringent energy codes have resulted in homes built so tightly that it?s beginning to affect air quality. Rather than address whether such tight homes are healthy, this proposal instead would require builders to install heat recovery ventilators in Climate Zones 6-8 ? expensive devices that home buyers would have to carefully maintain.?NAHB?s request: Disapprove.

RE58-16.?This increase in building tightness makes it even more important for builders to be able to use trade-offs ? such as more efficient heating and cooling equipment ? when requirements such as three air exchanges per hour are too expensive or technically infeasible. This code change allows those trade-offs.?NAHB?s request: Approve.

RB126-129. This code change proposal moves fire sprinkler system requirements for one- and two-family homes ? already rejected by the vast majority of states ? from the main body of the building code to the appendix, where its adoption is optional.?NAHB?s request: Approve.

ADM94.?This proposal changes the referenced standard for design loads for buildings, which will have a significant ? and very expensive ? effect on construction techniques in coastal areas and limit roof covering options. This proposal was modified this spring to reference the previous standard. The proposal also expands the number of wood elements that must be treated for ground contact before construction.?NAHB?s request: Approve as modified.

F38.?This proposal would require all construction sites to have an additional fire access road installed before allowing any combustible materials to be brought on to the site.?NAHB?s Request: Disapprove.

It?s important that home builders, remodelers and their trade partners share this?Top 40 document?with their local building officials so they are prepared to vote at the ICC Final Action Hearings Oct. 19-25 in Kansas City, Mo.

In all, NAHB has taken positions on 624 of the 1,994 proposed changes to the 2018 International Residential Code (IRC) and International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), supporting 119 and opposing 505.

We must step up to keep housing safe and affordable for home buyers, who have no say in this vote.

If you have any questions or need a list of officials in your state, be sure to contact your?NAHB staff liaison for assistance or visit the?ICC website for additional news and updates on the code development process.

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