5 Minutes to Better Codes

5 Minutes to Better Codes

Filed in Codes and Regulations, Home Building, Leadership by on October 28, 2016

What can a builder do to keep building codes affordable?

alarm clockIt turns out we can do a lot. And it’s not a particularly heavy lift: five minutes this week, maybe five minutes the week after that.

There are about 6,000 building, energy and fire code officials in the country who are eligible to vote online on proposals that together will result in the 2018 building codes.

Most of these voters are interested in creating a positive environment for home building. They know that building creates jobs, shores up the tax base, and enables families who live in substandard housing to move into homes that are safer, healthier and more energy efficient.

And when you realize that most of the votes are decided with margins not in the thousands, but by as few as a dozen people willing to check the box, it’s pretty clear that each vote counts.

The online voting period will begin right around Election Day, Nov. 8. Right now, elected officials’ minds might be on other things. So that gives us a little time to prepare — and be ready to take action when voting opens.

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Find out who can vote. You can get a list of eligible voters in your state by contacting your NAHB Codes liaison and they will email you the list.

Pick up the phone. If you see a name on the voting list you recognize, that means they are eligible to participate in online voting. If they have never done so before — and they probably haven’t, since it’s a new process — ask them to go to the ICC registration link and follow the simple instructions so when it’s time to vote, they are set to do so.

If you want to make sure that building code changes make sense, save energy and make occupants safer without breaking the bank, and aren’t just a way to sell a specific brand of insulation or whole-house fan, you need to make sure these voters can vote.

Next week, NAHB will have ready a voting guide that explains why we need a yes or no vote on each of the proposals we are following. When that happens, you’ll need to go back to your building official and let him or her know that it’s time to fire up their computers and do this.

If they have 15 minutes, they can wrap up the job. If they honestly don’t have 15 minutes, we’ll have a list ready next week of the dozen or so most important ones and you can share it.

We need your help to keep codes affordable. Right now, that help will cost you just five minutes – and can make thousands of dollars of difference to the cost of building homes.