‘One and Done’ Will Lead to Better Building Codes

Filed in Codes and Standards, Membership by on July 25, 2018 8 Comments

This November, members of the International Code Council who are eligible to vote will make decisions on changes to the building and energy codes affecting all home builders whose jurisdictions will adopt some version of the next model codes.

NAHB members from across the Federation will be called upon to make sure these changes are cost-effective — and don’t price new homes out of the reach of typical buyers.

“It’s up to us. We are the voice of the American home buyer,” said NAHB Construction, Codes and Standards Chair David Sowders, a home builder in Kentucky.

The good news: It’s not a heavy lift.

This fall, NAHB will produce a voting guide highlighting the proposals that are most impactful on home builders. The committee is calling on the Federation to name one member in each HBA to give that guide to a local code official who will vote — either in person or online — after the upcoming public hearings on these code proposals.

“We are the voice of affordability in this industry. No one else will do it for us,” Sowders said. “Most code officials see things the same way — they aren’t interested in complicated, expensive changes that don’t make homes more safe or efficient.

“If just one member of each HBA gives this guide to one code official to explain why these changes are important to home builders and their clients, we’ll end up with a usable building code.”

Interested volunteers can fill out the form at nahb.org/oneanddone. A Construction, Codes and Standards staff member will contact respondents and explain the steps to take.

For additional information, contact Craig Drumheller.


Comments (8)

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  1. Joe Honick says:

    Terrific that NAHB conducts this necessary effort at every level. One additional thought might be for the Association and all locals to tell the voting public just why we are doing such things instead of some opponent claiming we are working “behind the scenes” to do something the public need not know about. The industry is entitled to use its knowledge that hopefully is in the public interest as well. Such action should be an intrinsic part of this delegation to local HBAs and done at the same time.

    • NAHB Now says:

      You are correct — NAHB speaks on behalf of potential home buyers who do not have a voice at these hearings. We take it very seriously, and our members make that point when they advocate our positions to the voting members of ICC.

      • Joe Engel says:

        The NAHB does not represent the “home buyer”. they represent the home builder. The building code is a minimum standard that every home buyer expects. The builder can always do more than the code but should never do less. The ICC and it’s voting members aren’t perfect and generally codes are written, modified, or amended because the code was too vague, a new method has become the standard, or a safety issue became visible due to an incident. It should be noted that new products are sometimes written into the code but hopefully, the voting body will see the value (+/-). I appreciate the NAHB’s effort to balance the cost and value gained but would encourage individual builders to join the ICC and the code process as well as the NAHB to add their influence at the front door instead of the back.

        • Bill Watt says:

          NAHB Now said that Builders “speak on behalf” of homebuyers; not that NAHB “represents” them. I see a difference and agree with NAHB. I also see nothing nefarious about the new NAHB approach.

          Frankly, I would like to see some recent costly changes rolled back; especially those with questionable benefits. I would start with mandatory fire sprinklers in SFD homes. I was a builder for 40 years and would not want them in my own house…attached housing, yes; but, detached, NO.

  2. William Gschwind says:

    I am encouraged by the NAHB getting into the code review process. For too long, codes have been advanced by interests unwilling to balance the costs of code changes against the overall benefit. The result has been a code that has crept from something reasonable and manageable to a behemoth that is difficult for contractors and inspectors alike to know and comply with. I second Bill Watt’s comment that it is high time for the entire code to be reviewed and put through a detailed cost-benefit analysis. Hard to believe that the multiple changes that have taken place over the past three decades would survive such scrutiny.

    There should be a distinction between a base level safe and efficient home, and someone’s dream of a safest and most efficient home possible. One should be code, the other should be a marketing opportunity for builders focusing on a niche. Bring back the starter home!

    • Stephen Stump says:

      I agree with William Gschwind. The codes are getting well out of hand. In Florida we are now updating every three years and then amending every year. Ridiculous. Bring back the affordable starter home!

  3. Ray Kothe says:

    It’s so very very important that our local HBA’s across the country all get at least one person from each local to talk to the local code person.. and give them the NAHB codes voting suggestions this fall.

  4. Randolph Wells says:

    I agree that it important that each local HBA’s across the country have a committee of two.

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