Prepare to hold onto your 2012 North Carolina Building Code until 2019.
On March 11, 2014, the N.C. Building Code Council voted to update the commercial building code once every six years, instead of once every three years under current regulations. The six-year commercial code cycle now mirrors the update schedule for the residential code, which was changed to a six-year cycle by House Bill 120, signed into law by Governor McCrory on June 19, 2013.
As an exception to the new six-year rule for commercial buildings, the electrical code will continue to be updated on a three-year cycle.
The Council’s vote to place the commercial code update on a parallel track with the residential code’s six-year cycle was close: 9-6. Why such a sharp split?
A delay in printing the 2012 North Carolina Residential Building Code (“NCRC”), which by law is due to go into effect on Thursday, March 1, is giving local leaders in various parts of the State an unwelcome headache.
Although the 2012 edition is based on the 2009 Code and various summaries of the changes are available online (see here and here), some local government officials are taking no chances. For example, and as reported by the Watauga Democrat late last week, the Boone Town Council has voted unanimously to direct the Planning & Inspections Department to refrain from issuing residential building permits after March 1 until the 2012 NCRC is received, citing liability concerns. Based on this blog post by the Real Estate & Building Industry Coalition (“REBIC”), Mecklenburg County may follow suit. And according to this Sun Journal article, inspection officials in New Bern and Craven County will keep their offices open until midnight on February 29 to make sure builders ready for permits can acquire same under the 2009 Code.
Based on what I’ve read, publication of the revised Code may occur as early as March or as late as May. It’s an open question how other local governments might deal with the snafu in the interim. Which leads to this unsolicited advice: homebuilders with shovel-ready projects should make every effort to obtain needed permits by the close-of-business this Wednesday.
I’ll be keeping my eyes open for developments and will provide updates accordingly.
The International Code Council (“ICC”) has announced the availability of the 2012 North Carolina Building Codes. The ICC’s press release summarizes some of the key code changes as follows:
One of the most visible changes to the 2012 codes is the inclusion of live/work unit provisions (North Carolina Building Code Section 419) to help building code officials better manage mixed commercial and residential properties in neighborhoods, buildings and within unit types. North Carolina Fire Code Section 404.3.3 includes requirements for school lockdown plans and other similar occupancies while the North Carolina Mechanical Code Section 504.8 has new provisions for common exhaust systems for clothes dryer ducts in multistory structures. Increased safety provisions in the North Carolina Residential Code Section R312.2 now address child protection and fall prevention for windows located more than 6-feet above the exterior grade.
The following 2012 codes are available now: Building, Fire Prevention, Fuel Gas, Mechanical and Plumbing. The 2012 Residential Code, Administrative Code & Policies, Energy Conservation Codes and North Carolina Electrical Code (2011 edition) are scheduled for release in January, and are currently available for pre-order. The entire 2012 North Carolina Building Code Collection, in soft cover, PDF Download and CD formats, will be available as a single package in March. Ordering information can be found here. The N.C. Office of the State Fire Marshal has uploaded the amendments to the 2009 Codes here.
FYI, the 2009 Codes are applicable to all permits issued before March 1, 2012.