This Week's Codes And Standards, June 5

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New law could stimulate Colorado's condo market, IAPMO advances toward a new 2017 Water Efficiency and Sanitation Standard, and a new approach to building in tornado-prone areas can save lives and protect property

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June 05, 2017

New Colorado law could stimulate stalled condo market

Despite an influx of young adults to the state, Colorado’s condominium market has been stuck in the mud. The state’s laws regarding construction defects prompted a spate of law suits over the past decade that caused a spike in insurance premiums. Newly passed legislation now requires that a majority of condominium owners approve builder defect lawsuits, not just a majority of the homeowners’ association board.

Housing experts believe that the change passed by state lawmakers could stimulate new condo construction, but it will be a while before insurance companies start lowering the dollar amount of policies. Opponents of the new regulation say that the change will promote shoddy construction.

One observer noted that if the change doesn’t promote new condo construction, the legislature may have to consider other action.

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IAPMO advances toward new 2017 Water Efficiency and Sanitation Standard

The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) recently held a technical committee meeting to address public comments on a new water efficiency and sanitation standard. When published later this year, WE•Stand will be the nation’s only American National Standard devoted entirely to plumbing and water efficiency. The technical committee addressed these issues:

  • Improved provisions for indoor water efficiency and landscape irrigation
  • Appropriate permitting and cross-connection prevention requirements for alternate water systems
  • Revisions to water heating design provisions allowing new fitting types that help to mitigate biofilm growth by providing improved scouring action in potable water pipes
  • Inclusion of a revised, statistically based pipe sizing method for residential applications in the appendices that will support the use of a water demand calculator to assist plumbing system designers to more accurately size systems to be consistent with the lower flow rates and consumption values from water efficient plumbing fixtures and appliances

The final technical committee ballot to review public comments on the 2017 WE•Stand will begin on April 17 and conclude on May 15.

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Homeowner ownership and financing of solar panels an increasingly viable option

The price of residential solar installation is about one-third what it was 10 years ago, making the option to finance and own the technology more attractive for homeowners. More lenders are familiar with solar today, and there are more options to obtain financing. Federal tax incentives allow for a credit worth 30% of the cost of the installation. Some states add more incentives. Massachusetts, for instance, offers a tax credit of 15% of the remaining cost after the federal incentive has been subtracted—with a maximum value of $1,000.

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New approach to building in tornado-prone areas can save lives, protect property

A new approach to home construction can save lives and protect property in tornado-prone areas, according to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH). “Adding $1 per square foot to the cost of construction to improve structural performance for property protection, and incorporating tornado safe rooms for essential life safety can forever alter the pattern of death and destruction we continue to suffer,” according to a FLASH news release. The organization points to new guidelines that estimate tornado-induced loads. “If we can put a man on the moon, we can keep a roof on a house, and our research demonstrates it is possible to design and build houses that protect people and structures from deadly winds,” says Dr. David O. Prevatt, Associate Professor of the University of Florida, Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering.

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New competitor will vie with Tesla for home solar roof market

As Tesla is getting ready to ship its first batch of solar panel roof tiles, a startup, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based Forward Labs has jumped into the market. The company is now accepting pre-orders for its building-integrated solar panel design that looks like a typical metal roof. Forward Labs says its technology allows it to create a roof in any color without significantly reducing the amount of energy produced by its solar cells. The company claims that its roof is capable of producing nearly double the energy of other roofing products, while costing some 33% less than Tesla’s design.

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