10 New Updates to the International Building Code 10 New Updates to the International Building Code

The International Building Code has undergone many changes in its lifetime. The latest version is known as IBC 2006 and there are many changes which affect new buildings and renovations today. It's important to understand the new updates and how they affect you.

There are many different branches of the International Building code, including the International Residential Code or IRC.

1. Scope

The latest version of the IRC only affects houses which are three stories and under. Unlike other versions of the IRC the number of stories does not include the basement. This means that the IRC applies if you have three floors or less above ground.

2. Exemptions to Planning

The IRC calls for planning for all permanent structures with one exception. For a single story detached accessory building such as a shed you do not need planning permission as long as the floor doesn't have an area of over 120 square feet.

3. Emergency Opening

According to the 2006 IRC, all newly built properties must have escape routes from basements and bedrooms. The rescue and emergency openings must be functional and operational. These emergency escape windows can now be fitted under porches and decks, but the window needs to be opened fully without restriction.

4. Windows

All windows must be fitted according to the manufacturers guidelines. They must also be flashed according to these instructions. It's required of the manufacturer of the window to provide you with the instructions when you ask for them.

Any window which starts at 24 inches or less above floor height will either need to have window openings which are smaller than a 4 inch diameter, or fixed windows without any openings.

5. Gas

If your home is supplied with gas then there must be an individual pipeline connecting your house. This pipe should go directly into your house and should not pass through any other property.

6. Plumbing

Hot water supplied to whirlpools and bathtubs is now restricted to a maximum of 120 degrees Celsius. The shower doors must have an opening of at least 22 inches which is not obstructed.

7. Electrical

All electrical outlets throughout the house must be protected using a ground fault circuit interrupter system. Tamper resistant electrical outlets are required for 125 volt receptacles. Any outlets outside of the house and not lockable must be weather resistant electrical outlets.

8. Basements

Any exterior basement walls must be insulated right from the bottom of the wall up to the top. The certificate of the R value for this must be stuck to the electrical outlet cabinet.

9. Heating and Cooling

The heating and cooling requirements of the room will be calculated by using approved calculation such as the ACCA Manual J.

10. Ducts

Any building cavities should not be used as air ducts to ventilate the property. If these cavities are already used as air ducts then they should be sealed up. If air ducts are used to carry cables then these should also be sealed.

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