Effective February 28th, 2014 the State of Connecticut has adopted the 2009 International Residential Building Code and the State’s applicable amendments. I know, the dates are confusing, but we’ll explain that another time.
One of the major changes involves homes South of I-95 from Madison Eastward down the shore. Homes in these areas are now in what is classified as a ‘wind borne debris region.’ This means that all new windows and doors (including garage doors) must have impact resistant glass and assemblies. Storm shutters and protective panels are also allowed as an option, but there are very strict guidelines for their use, and it’s my belief that as future codes are adopted with even more stringent guidelines, these options will be phased out.
The new code also dives deep into specifics about building homes in flood prone areas on pier and pile foundations, foundation details, vertical and lateral structural tie-downs, shear wall requirements and exhaustive load calculations. There are chapters written on meeting the new energy code through methods such as mandated blower door tests and duct sealing.
There is a tremendous amount of new information to digest and it will take builders, engineers and architects months of study to truly get a grasp on the new requirements and the methods necessary to meet them, even at a minimum code level. That being said, when the new code was adopted this February, we weren’t concerned one bit. Why, you may ask? Because we’ve been building to this ‘new’ code for the past five years since the International Code Council came out with its 2009 Building Code.
The methods and materials we use on our current projects would meet the requirements of the 2012 IRC, which Connecticut plans to adopt in the coming years, bringing even more changes. The speaker at a recent class concerning the adoption of the new code said it best … “show me a builder who builds to minimum code, and I’ll show you a crappy builder!” Whether your home is deemed to be in a wind borne debris region, coastal high hazard area, high wind zone, flood zone or other special classification you’ll be hearing more buzz about … we’re ready to get to work on any project you’ve got in mind!