Significant Changes to the International Residential Code (I.R.C.), 2012 Edition

***Please Note: These changes will affect residential building permits that are issued with an "issued on" date of May 1, 2016 or after.

The wording of the items listed below is not the City's codified building regulation, but rather a shortened paraphrase of the actual building code change. Always refer to the current adopted International Codes, and the related City building code amendments, City Ordinance Number 16-210, for accuracy of the written codified building regulation. For building permit questions, along with questions concerning the building permit application process, please visit our new "Guidelines When Building Within the City" web page.

The following is a partial list of the significant changes to the International Residential Code (I.R.C.), 2012 Edition as published by the International Code Council.

New Energy Certificate

The City will provide, at time of permit issuance, a new residential energy certificate form that must be filled out and signed by the builder or registered design professional. The certificate provides "Residential Energy Compliance Options" to demonstrate energy efficiency compliance. The certificate will be required for not only new homes, but also for additions and remodels where exterior wall and ceiling cavities are exposed and added insulation is required, or when fenestration is added or replaced. At the “final” inspection, the signed energy certificate must be posted and/or given to the homeowner, with the attached copy going to the City’s building inspector for record keeping. Reference section N1101.16, I.R.C.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

For new construction and where work requiring a City permit occurs in existing dwellings, an approved carbon monoxide alarm shall be installed outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms in dwelling units within which fuel-fired appliances are installed and in dwelling units that have attached garages. The listed alarm can be separate or can be a listed combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarm or can be part of a carbon monoxide detection system in compliance with section R315.2, I.R.C.

Safety Glazing

Glazing (less than 60 inches vertical from the standing/walking surface) which is 60 inches or less measured horizontally and in a straight line from the water's edge of a bathtub, shower, hot tub, spa, whirlpool or swimming pool shall be "safety (tempered) glazing". Reference section R308.4.5, I.R.C.

Window Fall Protection

In dwelling units, where the opening of an operable window is located more than 72 inches (1829 mm) above the finished grade or surface below, the lowest part of the clear opening of the window shall be a minimum of 24 inches (610 mm) above the finished floor of the room in which the window is located.

Wall Bracing

There has been extensive changes, as well as a reorganization of the prescriptive wall bracing requirements in the residential code. In addition to the revised conventional wall bracing requirements of section R602.10, I.R.C. and the engineered optional path in accordance with section R301.1, I.R.C., a new "simplified wall bracing" approach has now been added. Reference section R602.12, I.R.C.

Exhaust Duct Termination

For other than dryer exhaust terminations, previous editions of the I.R.C. included no minimum clearance provisions to separate air exhaust outlets from inlet openings of dwellings. Location of air inlets which provide required ventilation air had separation from sources of noxious or hazardous vents only. This included plumbing vents, chimneys and appliance vents.

However, the exhaust from toilet rooms, bathrooms and kitchens is not considered noxious or hazardous because it is environmental air and is specifically excluded from the clearance provisions in section R303.

Air exhaust terminations are now required to maintain a 3-foot clearance from windows, doors, and louvers, and must be located at least 3 feet above mechanical air intakes within 10 feet. The references to sections R303.5.2 and R303.6 serve as reminders that exhaust air cannot be directed onto walkways and termination outlets must be protected with screens or other means to prevent the entry of insects.

Solar Energy Systems

Chapter 23 has been reformatted into two major sections, "Thermal Solar Energy Systems" and "Photovoltaic Solar Energy Systems". The rewrite regulates the design, construction, installation, alteration and repair of each system, as well as the specification of minimum required rooftop access pathways for fire fighting. As part of the inspection program the City will continue to use installer signed certification forms for all rooftop mounted system equipment.

Tamper-Resistant Receptacles

Receptacles (125-volt, 15- and 20- ampere) as required in section E3901.1, I.R.C., shall be listed "tamper-resistant". The exception would be for receptacles located more than 5.5 feet above the floor and receptacles that are part of a luminaire or appliance. Another exception would be a single receptacle for a single appliance or a duplex receptacle for two appliances where such receptacles are located in spaces dedicated for the appliances served and, under conditions of normal use, the appliances are not easily moved from place to place.