As noted in past installments of Code Corner, the Industrialized Building Code Council has still not convened to formally adopt the next building code edition, but legislation has been passed and signed into law by Governor Abbott setting adoption time limits. The force behind this law was the State Energy Conservation Office and the Texas Energy Systems Labs’ desire to force the more timely adoption of recent editions of the code with the goal of making buildings more energy efficient in the state.
Since the Bill passed, it will require the authorities having jurisdictions (AHJ) to adopt the most recent edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and one can assume that most AHJ’s will adopt the full suite of the I-Codes encompassing the building, plumbing and mechanical codes as well. As was noted in a prior Code Corner, new editions of the codes are published every three years to incorporate revisions voted on by the ICC membership. We have been on the 2009 edition for some time; jumping over the 2012 and adopting the 2015 will create some challenges, we anticipate that the areas most affected will be insulation thickness, lighting and lighting controls, along with mechanical equipment we will be allowed to use.
Robert Frick has already been spending time reviewing how our designs will be impacted by the newer energy code, his work will allow us to plan on how it will affect our designs and the cost impact it will have on what we build. During Robert’s work in reviewing the code and the associated COMcheck software, he has already spotted a discrepancy between the code and the compliance software which will require a revision to the software we are required to use.
At this time it appears that it will be November before the new 2015 Codes will be a requirement for the buildings that enter into production. But, we will have to start designing to the new standard and pricing our projects accordingly.