NAHB Highlights IRC Code Victories, Including Truss Bracing Proposal
Editor’s Note: After months of outreach, SBCA is pleased to share our nomination to NAHB’s 2022 Building Codes and Standards Subcommittee (BCSSC), a part of the Construction Codes and Standards Committee (CC&S), has been accepted. Mr. Howard Gauger with Carpenter Contractors of America, a member of the SBCA Board of Directors, will begin his appointment at NAHB’s spring leadership meeting on June 16. This is a great opportunity for the component manufacturing industry to have a voice within NAHB on code-related matters as we seek to collaborate on code provisions like the harmful truss bracing proposal recently put forward by the engineering community.
Dodging rain, snow and COVID in Rochester, New York, NAHB members and Construction, Codes & Standards staff again successfully argued for decent, safe and affordable housing during the first round of the International Code Council’s (ICC) 2022 code development cycle.
The ICC recently held its 2022 Group B Committee Action Hearings in Rochester to consider proposed changes to the 2024 editions of the I-Codes. The Group B cycle includes the key International Residential Code (IRC) provisions related to structural design, fire safety and egress, as well as the International Existing Building Code (IEBC) and structural provisions of the International Building Code (IBC).
The four ICC code development committees considered some 800 code change proposals over nine days. The committees supported NAHB's position on 90% of the proposals for the IRC and 79% of the proposals overall.
Major wins included:
- Adding U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) textural soil classifications as an option for identifying soil types, in lieu of obtaining a geotechnical investigation
- Restoring the ability to use construction-grade 6 mil polyethylene for vapor retarders under slabs-on-ground instead of costly proprietary products
- Defeating a proposal to require all dwellings in tornado-prone areas be provided with an ICC 500-compliant storm shelter
- Defeating a proposal to require all trusses have fully sheathed top and bottom chords or an engineered bracing design
There were some proposals that NAHB members opposed that did get through — most notably, a set of proposals to comprehensively revise the duties of the building official, including how they review and approve alternate means and methods. Although NAHB successfully worked with proponents to modify some of the most egregious provisions, there is a concern the revisions would potentially force builders to obtain costly tests and engineering reports to demonstrate alternate materials and products comply with the intent of the code.
NAHB is reviewing the committee actions and determining whether to submit public comments on proposals with unfavorable results.
ICC is accepting public comments on the committee hearing results through June 20. All submitted public comments will be heard at the ICC Group B Public Comment Hearings to be held Sept. 14-21 in Louisville, Kentucky. The hearings are open to the public, and NAHB members are encouraged to register for and attend the meetings.
In early October, following the hearings, there will be an online vote open to all validated ICC governmental voting members. NAHB will be asking members to participate in the One & Done campaign. The campaign urges each member to share NAHB's positions on code changes with at least one code official during the code development cycle.