ICC Board Issues Split Decision on NAHB Building Codes Appeals

Codes and Standards

The International Code Council Board of Directors on October 8 issued a final decision on the last two NAHB appeals to the 2021 building code development process.

The Board sided with NAHB on the scope and intent of two changes to the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) but rejected another appeal on 20 twice-defeated proposals that were disapproved at two different hearings before being approved in the online vote.

In the successful appeal, NAHB argued that two proposed changes to the IECC – requiring 40A, 220V receptacles to be installed in all new homes for electric vehicle charging stations (CE217 Parts I and II) and for gas appliances for future electric retrofit (RE147) – went beyond the scope and intent of the IECC. The Board agreed with this position and removed the two changes from the 2021 IECC, similar to another successful NAHB appeal decision issued last month.

NAHB also appealed the approval of 20 changes to the IECC that were defeated in two separate steps of the code development process only to be brought back to life during the final online consensus vote as a result of new governmental voters suddenly being approved.

There was a concerted effort on the part of efficiency and environmental groups to engage like-minded governmental members who work in environmental, sustainability and resilience departments. These new voters appear to have worked off the same voting guide and simply voted their party line.

NAHB argued that the ICC voter eligibility and validation process and procedures were violated and that the proposals should not be included in the 2021 code. The ICC Board rejected that argument last week.

But the Board did note that it referred a number of issues raised by NAHB to the Board Committee on the Long-Term Code Development Process for further review, including the definitions of governmental members and voting representatives, the procedures for the in-person and online votes, and the issue of cost impact.

"We are obviously very pleased that the ICC Board recognized that the CE217 and RE147 proposals were outside of the scope of the IECC," said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke. "While we disagree with the decision to keep the other changes to the 2021 IECC, we are encouraged that the ICC is taking our concerns seriously and we look forward to resolving the process issues identified in our appeal and continuing our constructive relationship with the Council."

It is estimated that the two successful appeals resulted in a cost savings of $2,500-$3,500 for a new home with gas appliances, minimum efficiency tank water heater and parking. NAHB will continue to fight for residential building codes that produce safe, energy efficient and affordable homes.

For more information on the codes development process or the specific appeals in the 2021 codes cycle, visit nahb.org/codes.

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