From the NC Home Builders Association

In this issue

Impact of HBA 120 Building Codes: Local Consistency/Exempt Cable

Code Changes Adopted and Approved

Next Code Council Meeting Agenda

Impact of HB 120 Building Codes: Local Consistency/Exempt Cable

On June 19 Governor McCrory signed a priority bill for NCHBA, HB 120 Building Codes: Local Consistency/Exempt Cable (SL2013-118), which becomes effective July 1, 2013.  A special thanks goes out to bill sponsors, Rep. Mike Hager, Rep. Tricia Cotham, Rep. Bill Brawley and Rep. Dean Arp, as well as Sen. Tom Apodaca for handling the bill on the Senate floor.

Main provisions of HB 120:

•             prevents local building code departments from requiring any inspections not authorized under the building code

•             extends the code revision cycle from three to six years

•             makes written and electronic code interpretations and all appeal decisions made by the Building Code Council available on the Building Code Council’s website.

The following can be used as talking points with your local code enforcement officials.

1. INSPECTIONS

The General Assembly created the Building Code Council decades ago to adopt a uniform statewide building code. It also created a statewide inspection system to ensure that the building code would be enforced in a uniform manner throughout the state. HB 120 will help assure that the required types of inspections are uniform.

HB 120 only limits the types of regular, routine inspections of buildings or structures constructed in compliance with the North Carolina Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings that may be required by local jurisdictions which are:

•             Footing inspection

•             Under slab inspection, as appropriate

•             Foundation inspection, wood frame construction

•             Rough-in inspection

•             Building framing

•             Insulation inspection

•             Fire protection inspection (NOT APPLICABLE)

•             Final inspection

The bill neither limits the type nor number of voluntary inspections that a local jurisdiction may provide or that a builder may request. The latter category of so-called “courtesy inspections” is in no way affected by HB 120. Only inspections that are required, beyond those set forth in the code, would have to be approved by the Building Code Council.  Many of the “extra” inspections being conducted by some jurisdictions could be, and should be, performed during one of the “authorized” inspections so they will not be eliminated per se.

The language of the bill also allows local jurisdictions to seek approval from the Building Code Council for any additional type of inspection beyond those currently authorized by the Code. If the current list of required inspections is insufficient to ensure that appropriate building standards are being observed, any local jurisdiction who believes that a vital inspection should be added to the list in the code is specifically provided an avenue under the bill to do so. If the Building Code Council agrees that such an inspection should be added to the list, it is the authorized body under the law to do so rather than each individual jurisdiction making that determination on its own as is now the practice in several jurisdictions across the state. If the case can be made for an additional type of inspection, then the Council will make it apply statewide thus assuring uniformity in the system.

2. CODE CYCLE

The bill still contains language that allows the Building Code Council to revise or amend the North Carolina State Building Code as is necessary. Section 2 of the bill extends the existing building code revision cycle for the North Carolina State Building Code: Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings from 3 years to 6 years to include provisions applicable to One- and Two-Family Dwellings from the NC Energy Code, NC Electrical Code, NC Fuel Gas Code, NC Plumbing Code, and NC Mechanical Code. The first six-year revision under this subsection shall be adopted to become effective January 1, 2019, and every six years thereafter.

Since 2003, the NC Building Code has been subject to the rulemaking procedures in the NC Administrative Procedures Act (APA).  Regardless of what is happening with the International Code process, the NC Building Code Council may at any time, by its own motion or by petition from an individual or group, amend the code subject to the procedures specified in the APA.  Extending the cycle from 3- to 6-years would save money for builders, municipalities, design professionals and others who must purchase the new codes and receive training on its implementation without sacrificing residential building performance or safety

At the June 11, 2013, meeting, the Building Code Council did discuss a 6-year code cycle for the other North Carolina Building Codes but postponed any further action until their September 9-10, 2013 meeting

3. INTERPRETATIONS

Section 2 also strengthens the administration of a true statewide building code by directing the Department of Insurance (DOI) to make DOI Engineering and Codes Section staff make all written and electronic code interpretations and all appeal decisions made by the Building Code Council available to the public by posting them on the Building Code Council’s website and by publishing them in the NC Register at least semi-annually.  Making these routine interpretations and appeal decisions available to jurisdictions across the state will result in consistent code enforcement, prevent unnecessary inspection delays and act as a quick reference for local code officials for sections of the code that may be difficult to understand.

Code Changes Adopted by the NC Building Code Council and Approved by the Rules Review Commission

2012 NC Residential Code

Table R302.1 Exterior walls NCHBA scored a major victory for its members at the March NC Building Code Council meeting. The Council amended Table R302.1 – Exterior walls to return the fire separation distances to the dimensions used in previous one- and two-family dwelling codes and the model building codes. Without this modification, the 2012 NC Residential Code had a significant negative impact on existing homeowners who wish to build additions or extensions on their existing property as well as limited the ability to maximize the use of smaller lots in existing and proposed communities. This change became effective June 1, 2013. 2012 NC Residential Code.

R302.5.1 Opening protection NCHBA supported the amendment for disappearing/pull-down stairways from garages to uninhabited attic spaces.

R408.2 Ground vapor retarder NCHBA proposed amendment that eliminates the requirement for vapor retarder in wall vented crawl spaces

R506.2.3 Vapor retarder NCHBA supported amendment that eliminates the requirement for a vapor retarder for unheated attached garages.

R602.10 Wall Bracing.  NCHBA supported amendment to replace the 2012 NC Residential Code Sections R602.10 through R602.12 with new wall bracing code and commentary effective September 1, 2013.

N1103.2.2 Sealing (Mandatory Requirements). NCHBA supported amendments to the 2012 NC Energy Conservation Code Chapter 4 and 2012 NC Residential Code Chapter 11 with revisions that provide an alternative testing method for duct testing and leakage to the outside.

N1103.1.2 Heat pump supplementary heat (Mandatory Requirement)  amendment to allow another method of heat pump heat strip control.

2011 NC Electrical Code

210.52 Dwelling Unit Receptacle Outlets (I) Foyers.  NCHBA proposed amendment to eliminate the requirement for receptacles to be located in each wall space of foyers greater than 60 sq.ft.

404.2 Switch Connections (C) Switches Controlling Lighting Loads . NCHBA proposed amendment that exempts Residential one-and two-family dwellings from the grounded conductor requirement at lighting switch locations.

All of the NC amendments to the 2011 NEC can be reviewed at: 2011 NEC NC Amendments.

NC Building Code Errata

NC Building Code Errata discovered in the 2012 North Carolina State Building Codes can be reviewed at Errata Central. Errata will be updated online on a periodic basis.

Next NC Building Code Council Meeting

The next NC Building Code Council meeting is scheduled for September 9, 2013 at 9 a.m. at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh (date and location subject to change).

FINAL ADOPTION

Petitions for Rulemaking that will be considered for final adoption at the September meeting include:

Item C – 8 Request by Duke Geraghty, representing Starco Realty and Construction, to amend the 2012 NC Residential Code, R301.2.1.2 Protection of openings.  NCHBA supports this amendment, which removes the permanent fastener requirement for plywood panels in windborne debris regions.

Item C-14 Request by David Smith, NC BCC, to amend the2012 NC Residential Code, Sections R322.2.1 and R322.3.2. R322.2.1 Elevation requirements.  NCHBA supports this amendment, which removes the 1 foot freeboard requirement for flood elevation design and construction.

Item D – 2 Request by Jeff Griffin, from Mecklenburg County, to amend the 2012 NC Residential Code, Chapters 3 and 7. This Petition for Rulemaking proposes to delete Section R703.11.3 Soffit and replace with new Section R302.1.1 Soffit protection, which in effect moves the requirement that vinyl or aluminum material be attached to fire retardant treated wood, 23/32 inch wood sheathing or 5/8 inch exterior grade or moisture resistant gypsum board for soffit assemblies located on buildings with less than a 10′ fire separation distance.

Contact Information

Robert Privott

NCHBA Director of Codes and Construction

rprivott@nchba.org or 1-800-662-7129

 

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