City building codes requested to be updated

Published 4:00 am Thursday, July 30, 2015

The construction of decks is among the items addressed in pending changes to the City of Troy building codes.

While the majority of the changes relate simply to updating existing codes from 2008 or 2009 standards to current standards, Building Inspector Chuck Ingram said a key change relates to the construction of decks on residential and commercial buildings.

“There is a brand new chapter regarding decks because in the last three years there have been so many fatalities due to decks,” he said. “The structural integrity of the deck has changed. You can’t just nail up a deck anymore. If you set a post and put up a rafter, you have to secure it with a mechanical fastener.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Any renovations or replacements to new decks would be required to meet the new code, he said. “As far as the deck or porch on a home now, it doesn’t mean anything,” Ingram said.

Ingram said the most important thing to remember about building codes is that the code is applied to the building’s occupancy or intended use, not the building itself.

“If I’ve got a building across the street that’s currently a dance hall, but a restaurant or a bar were to go into the building, there would be a new set of standards that have to be followed,” Ingram said. “The term is ‘occupancy of the building.’ It’s what determines what has to be followed by the code. If you’re building a single-family residence or you’re building a hotel, which in general terms does the same thing, you still have two different codes.”

Updated codes will include International Building Codes, International Plumbing Codes, International Mechanical Codes, International Fuel Gas Codes, International Residential Codes, International Fire Codes, International Swimming Pool and Spa Codes, National Fire Protection Act 1 Fire Codes and National Fire Protection Act 101 Life Safety Codes. The National Electrical Codes are being updated from their 2008 adoption.

“The top 10 requests are simply updates to the adopted codes, which means we are going from the 2009 codes to the 2015 version,” he said.

Ingram is recommending two codes for adoption: the International Existing Building Code and the International Energy Conservation Codes, both of which are the first versions to be adopted by the Building Department.

Ingram said the IEBC “contains variations for existing structures not covered in the Building Code,” and the IECC needs to be updated because of a mandate from ADECA.

“We’re doing it to the residential side because ADECA mandated it by the end of 2012,” Ingram said.

“We’ve been doing it since 2009, but they actually printed an energy code, which put it in one book.”

Troy City Council members have held one reading of the amendment to update the codes.