Distribute This Guide for Better Building Code Votes

The dust is clearing after a week-long marathon of building and energy code votes in Kansas City, Mo., when building officials, product manufacturers, civil engineers and even a few home builders testified on nearly 2,000 issues from fire sprinkler requirements to hail-resistant roofs and mechanical equipment tradeoffs.

Now, the real work begins.

On Nov. 8, building officials, state energy office staffers and government administrators fire up their computers to begin the online voting process that will determine which proposals end up in the 2018 model building codes, including the IRC and the energy code.

That means builders need to go back to the well: In every state, NAHB members need to call their building officials and send them the voting guide which explains why NAHB’s positions are a vote for cost-effective housing. This Quick Voting List is a “cheat sheet” for voters.

“We know. We get it. Most of us don’t want to know how the sausage is made. We just want to be in the business of producing great homes for our buyers. That’s what we do,” said NAHB Chairman Ed Brady. “But if we don’t make this one last push to talk to these people, the product manufacturers and other interest groups will win. That means homes won’t necessarily be built better, but they will certainly be more expensive.”

The easiest approach, according to Lee Schwartz, executive vice president for government relations for the HBA of Michigan, is to think of the Kansas City hearings as primary elections. “The ‘general election’ will come in November with the online governmental consensus voting,” Schwartz said.

That might make some people think that the 16-hour days spent in the hearing room were somewhat anticlimactic.

“With everyone knowing they get one more bite at the apple [when the online voting begins], the stakes were nowhere near as high as they used to be,” Schwartz said. “That doesn’t mean that the votes taken here weren’t important — because they were, particularly votes on public comments. They determined what would be on the ballot in November when the online voting starts.”

The voting guide details which code changes are most important to single-family and multifamily builders and their clients. Those changes represent NAHB’s best answers to safe, efficient, more affordable new homes. It’s also a step-by-step user manual for the codes voting process.

Contact your NAHB staff liaison to obtain the list of eligible governmental member voting representatives in your state and give these guides to each of your eligible code officials in your city or county today.

This article is a post on the NAHB Now blog.