NAHB Leaders Push for More Favorable Codes

Filed in Codes and Regulations, Leadership by on October 22, 2018 1 Comment

NAHB Chair Randy Noel reinforced NAHB’s codes priorities at the International Code Council’s (ICC’s) Board of Directors meeting Oct. 20 in Richmond, Va.

Specifically, he addressed members’ concerns with the federal cost share incentive that is part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018.

ICC board meeting

NAHB members advocate for favorable codes with ICC CEO Dominic Sims, center, at the ICC Board of Directors meeting.

This act includes incentives that may increase the federal cost share for states within disaster areas. It has a provision encouraging states to adopt the “latest published editions” of relevant building codes that incorporate the “latest hazards-resistant designs.”

NAHB members are concerned that this language may be interpreted to mean that states must use the 2018 codes or future codes immediately upon publication.

“NAHB supports increasing the storm resistance of homes if necessary. However, we are concerned about kneejerk reactions to storm-damaged homes that are constructed to older codes,” Noel told the ICC Board. “But we believe that any increase in code requirements must solve specific shortcomings of the current building codes; must be based on forensic analysis; and must be cost effective.”

NAHB Second Vice Chair Dean Mon spoke about the labor shortages within both the NAHB and ICC membership. He noted that NAHB is helping to address the workforce shortage through its philanthropic arm, the National Housing Endowment, HBI, the Student Chapters program, the Skilled Labor Fund and other resources to get students thinking about careers in our industry.

“NAHB is also reaching out to states, cities and local school boards to promote trade-skills education and ensure students are made aware of careers in the building trades,” Mon told the group.

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  1. While model codes have been documented to reduce damage the issue is not so simple. The main problem is a lack of funding for building departments and weak or unreliable code enforcement. Many hurricane prone areas outside Florida are not enforcing the requirements for Opening Protection. This sets up the opportunity for opening failures where hurricane force winds enter the structure and overwhelm the load resisting connections causing catastrophic damage. Even older structures can benefit by adding opening protection which does increase the survival rate of the structures. When the minimum requirements in the building codes are not enforced it puts lives and property at risk escalating to damage to newer structures and higher insurance rates. A home that suffers structural damage is not energy efficient and is not affordable housing when it ends up in a landfill.

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