2018 IECC/ MA Energy Code – The biggest item of concern for us is the next version of the MA Energy Code. The DOER put up a PowerPoint presentation (attached) of proposed amendments to the forthcoming 2018 IECC which they hoped would be given approval by the board to go forward to the next public hearing. Most notably for homebuilders and remodelers is the Electric Vehicle Charging Spaces provision (attached). Previously the DOER and others were pushing for an EV-Ready provision to be in the 9Th Edition but have now moved on to the energy code. While there was some opposition on the board to the EV section it was deemed by the majority that it should at least move forward to the public hearing process along with the rest of the DOER’s proposed amendments. The next public hearing is in November and the presumptive effective date of the new MA Energy Code is January 1, 2019. This would effect all new homes and in some cases, remodeled homes. We should discuss this at the next GAC meeting.
Tiny Houses – The board voted to proceed with the process of adopting Appendix Q of the 2018 IRC as part of the 9th Edition MA Building Code. Staff is to continue working on potential issues with DEP (and others?). It was noted that this item would have to go to the BCCC eventually.
Micro Units – It was proposed that “micro-units” (think really small, dorm-like apartments) would work best as an amendment to the section of the code that addresses efficiency units. Board comments recommended more details and clarification needed, which the proponent will work on, but generally seemed in favor of amending the code. Item was tabled for 30 days.
10th Edition Building Code – The board discussed the process of adopting the next version of the MA State Building Code (10th Edition) and whether that would be based on the 2018 I-Codes or the 2021 I-Codes. The Energy Advisory Committee, Existing Buildings Advisory Committee and the Fire Protection/Fire Prevention Committee have all weighed in and feel that they could reasonably review the 2018 I-Codes and be ready to approve a 10th Edition in less than a year. Two other committees have yet to weigh in – the Geotechnical Advisory Committee and the Structural Advisory Committee will discuss the issue very soon. Some board members preferred that the 10th Edition be based on the 2021 I-Codes but the majority of the board seemed to favor the 2018 I-Codes. Mike McDowell voiced concern and is in favor of building the 10th Edition Building Code around the 2021 I-Codes. This will be discussed further at the September 11th BBRS Board meeting.
Misc. – The board agreed to re-establish the Construction Materials Safety Board which hasn’t been in place for quite a few years. It’s better that these issues be vetted at the committee level rather than at the BRS Board meetings.
Rob Anderson reported that the BBRS will soon bring on board a new staff member. Dan Walsh currently the building commissioner for the town of Lincoln and former MFBO president, will join the BBRS staff soon. Rob was not specific about the responsibilities of the position. Given that the BBRS is grossly understaffed and that we have had a very good working relationship with Dan in recent years, I believe this is a positive development.
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On Tuesday, October 10th, members of the Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) debated whether or not to modify the full force and effect date based on a shortened concurrency period, but decided to hold firm with the January 1, 2018 date.