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This article first appeared in the PB August 1999 issue of Pro Builder.

From the configuration of stairways to the R-value of insulation and the capacity of sanitary fixtures, building codes specify exactly how we construct new homes. And as we all know, code officials sometimes support requirements that can add substantially to the cost of building a new home.

Charlie Ruma is the 1999 president of the NAHB.

NAHB has been influential in drafting the new International Residential Code (IRC). Now we need to make sure that when the code officials from BOCA, ICBO and SBCCI meet jointly for the first time ever in September, they hear loud and clear from the experts—the nation’s home builders—about what makes sense and what doesn’t. That’s why NAHB is calling on builders throughout the country to participate in the 1999 Codes Grassroots Campaign.

Specifically, we are asking builders to contact building officials in their area who are eligible to vote at the conference (NAHB will help identify these officials), meet with them to discuss the building industry’s position on key issues, and urge them to support our position.

Following are NAHB’s top priority issues for the 1999 IRC code change cycle:

  • Keep affordability in the purpose of the IRC by disapproving code change RB-5, which eliminates affordability.
  • Change the IRC 73/49 by 10” stair geometry to 89 by 99 by approving NAHB code change RB-268.
  • Keep the current stud wall height provisions in the IRC by disapproving code change RB-430.
  • Support the simplified IRC energy chapter by disapproving code change RE-3.
  • Keep the IBC mandatory reference to the IRC for single-family detached and townhomes by disapproving code change G-2 (IBC).
  • Support the use of romex wiring with no conduit in four-story-plus multifamily buildings in the IBC by approving as modified code change G137 (IBC).

About a dozen secondary issues are also on the NAHB agenda, so it’s extremely important for participants in this effort to contact NAHB’s Construction Codes and Standards department at 800/368-5242, ext. 300, for a full list of the association’s priorities as well as the names of local voting code officials. NAHB has proven time and again that we can make a difference in the codes arena, and the new IRC should be no exception. The nation’s home builders represent common sense, expertise and the voice of reason in the code process. I can’t emphasize enough how important member involvement is to this pivotal effort.

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