Updating West Coast Code Adoptions

Updating West Coast Code Adoptions

This piece was originally published in the May 2016 issue of ei, the magazine of the electroindustry. 

By Mike Stone, West Coast Field Representative, NEMA


California adopted the 2016 California Building Standards Code, also known as Title 24. It goes into effect January 1, 2017. It is based on the 2014 National Electrical Code® (NEC); building, fire and residential codes based on the 2015 International Code Council codes (I-Codes); plumbing and mechanical codes based on the 2015 Uniform Codes; and CalGreen, a California-specific code. The California Energy Code (part 6 of Title 24) was also adopted under a separate rulemaking process.

The NEC was adopted with minimal amendments. During public hearings, several California Building Standards commissioners and some state agency directors supported using the model codes with as few amendments as possible. Of note is the inclusion of standards pertaining to disability accessibility to electric vehicle charging equipment, the first such standard in the nation.

Elsewhere in the West

The 2014 NEC was adopted, effective on March 6, 2016, in Alaska, which is using the 2009 editions of the I-Codes. There is no timeline for when newer codes will be adopted.

Hawaii is moving closer to adoption of the 2014 NEC and the 2012 I-Codes. On February 16, the Small Business Regulatory Review Board recommended adoption of the 2014 NEC. Its recommendation now goes to the State Building Code Council and then to the governor for his signature. The anticipated effective date is June 2016.

Utah adopted the 2014 NEC and 2015 I-Codes with amendments. The legislature passed HB 316, which tied updating codes to a delayed cycle for residential construction until 2021. NEMA and others opposed this delay, but homebuilders and their allies prevailed. The coalition worked with legislators to amend the bill. With NEMA’s amendments, it maintains the Utah Uniform Building Code Commission’s ability to amend the enforced code on a yearly basis, and revises the requirement to adhere to a restrictive cost-benefit analysis.

In Washington, the State Building Code Council adopted the 2015 editions of the International Building Code®, International Fire Code®, International Mechanical Code, International Residential Code, Uniform Plumbing Code with state amendments, and the 2015 Washington State Energy Code. The 2015 I-Codes are effective on July 1, 2016. The NEC is adopted under a separate rulemaking process with the Department of Labor and Industry. The 2017 NEC adoption process will begin later in 2016.

Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, and Oregon will consider adoption of the 2017 NEC in late 2016 and early 2017.

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