Below are talking points concerning the BCA proposed legislation that will eliminate local control over building codes that you can utilize when speaking with your legislator, people in your networks or the media.  They have been divided into areas of discussion you may want to touch upon.  

Local Control

  • When the law was adopted in 2002, the legislative intent was made clear in both testimony and in the body of the law that it was meant as a minimum standard not a statewide code where one size MUST  fit all.   

  • Local jurisdictions were given local control over amendments to higher standards so they could respond to their local constituent’s (including the building community’s) desires

  • Without local control, builders and citizens will have to become involved in the time consuming, months long code adoption process in Boise instead of approaching their local governing bodies to suggest amendments appropriate for their community based on climate, geography, design standards and more.    They would lose control of the process and cede it to Boise based groups that may or may not represent their local needs and interests.  

  • There has been no stakeholder or public  input or involvement on this proposed legislation

The Technical Need for Local Amendments

  • Local design considerations (e.g. snow load, wind load, frost depth, rainfall rate, seismic zone, soil types, climate zone, design temperatures, floodplain, hillsides, radon, wildland urban interface/fire hazards) (State code does not cover this for every jurisdiction)

  • Must be able to make amendments to Chapter 1, the Administrative sections of the codes (e.g. granting authority, establishing permit fees, permit refunds, applications, permit expirations, penalties, design professional requirements, bonds, board of appeals process) (State code does not cover this for every jurisdiction)

  • Important to note, jurisdictions are not all the same, differing issues or levels of progression (urban vs. rural, regional, bordering adjacent states, economy, material availability)

  • Need ability to locally adopt building code appendices for national standards on specific items such as grading, signs, patio covers, strawbale construction, tiny homes, etc. (State code does not adopt appendices)

  • The proposed legislation states amendments can only be made if “an immediate threat to human life and safety exists.”  Building codes are not suited to address immediate threats – they are design to prevent future threats or issues.  

  • Section 39-4101 states that the legislative intent of this law is to establish a minimum code.  Changes to Section 39-4116, would in reality establish the maximum code any city or county could adopt, not the minimum.  

State Building Code Process

  • State building code updates used to be routine – has become convoluted, needs to be on a regular schedule

  • Collaboration no longer fully occurring – needs to, with all parties required to participate

  • State Building Code Board determinations are being overridden

  • Overall consideration for the public/citizens not always at the forefront

  • Cities and Counties across the state are frustrated with process, delays and lack of progress

State Building Code

  • Establishes the minimum building code (not the maximum), helps to know the history/intent of codes in Idaho

  • Cities and Counties can make amendments beyond state code for local concerns with good cause, notification and public hearing process

  • Residential energy code amended back twice, no changes or progress since 2011

  • Residential building code also not updated/adopted, missing out on cost savings, new technologies, new products, new construction methods, latest life-safety for public

Local Jurisdictions

  • Jurisdictions across the state have, or are in progress of, adopting codes or amendments beyond the minimum state code, with good cause, notification and public hearings

Support from Public and other Organizations

  • Building Remodelers, architects, engineers, Idaho Power, energy consultants, Idaho Conservation League, students, and many members of the general public, etc., have all expressed support with code updates

Reasons for Regular Updates of Building Codes

  • We value a safe community – up to date fire-life-safety provisions for citizens

  • Code updates with cost savings for homeowners or builders

  • Code updates with more options and flexibility

  • New products, technologies and construction methods in the updated codes

  • Updated flood hazard and flood-resistant construction provisions

  • Be up to date on codes for insurance underwriting and rating purposes for our communities

  • Energy savings with economic benefits for homeowners

  • Provide more options/alternatives for meeting energy code