The residential construction industry is facing building code proposals that could significantly impact the design and cost of new homes and directly harm every builder’s and remodeler’s ability to complete a quality project at an affordable cost.
Participation in the complex codes development process is one of the most important ways that NAHB provides value to members. At recent International Code Council (ICC) code development hearings, the association was successful in helping defeat many proposals that would add greatly to the cost of building single-family homes and apartments as well as the cost of remodeling projects.
If NAHB is ultimately successful on all 750 code change proposals that the association took a position on, the overall cost savings could be more than $42,000 per home.
One of the proposals struck down in the initial round of hearings would mandate a second set of stairs in larger homes. Another would have required all homes and townhouses to be accessible, including homes in flood and coastal areas where it is impossible to meet the requirements without the installation of a wheelchair lift or elevator (similar to these).
These and more than 2,000 other proposed code changes could increase the cost of building even the most modest home by tens of thousands of dollars.
ICC is working on the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code, International Residential Code, International Fire Code, International Existing Building Code and the International Property Maintenance Code.
The ICC Committee Action Hearings were held in Dallas in late April. At the conclusion of the preliminary hearings, NAHB was successful on 596 of the 750 code change proposals that it either supported or opposed.
However, these aren’t the final results. The last and most important phase of the code development process occurs this fall at the ICC Final Action Hearings in Atlantic City, N.J. on Oct. 2-10. The code officials who attend these hearings will cast the votes that will decide the final outcome on all 2,065 proposed code changes.
Three Steps to Lock in Savings
To ensure that NAHB’s success in the preliminary hearings translates to the same results in the Final Action hearings this fall, it is absolutely vital for builders and remodelers to get involved in the process early and to fight hard by taking the following actions:
Meet with your state and local code officials and elected officials to gain their support. Make sure they understand the issues, and help them see why they should vote in favor of the home building industry’s key proposals.
For example, four of the most critical code change proposals are related to energy efficiency and would allow equipment and performance trade-offs if passed. Approval of just these four code change proposals could save more than $4,000 per home.
Get your local HBA involved and let them know that this is a top priority for the residential construction industry.
Ask your elected officials to allow their code officials to attend the ICC Final Action Hearings in Atlantic City, N.J. so they can vote in support of NAHB’s positions. Remember, this year, code officials must still be present in Atlantic City to vote during the Final Action Hearings.
Resources You Need
NAHB has the tools and resources necessary to help builders, remodelers and state and local HBAs to effectively engage their local and state government and industry leaders.
NAHB is calling on all members to take these action steps to help ensure that only those code changes that are necessary, practical, and cost effective will be approved during the ICC Final Action Hearings.