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Town of Frisco Adopts 2012 International Building Construction Codes Effective January 1st

Beginning January 1, 2014 Frisco will be adopting the  2012 International Building Construction Codes for all new projects starting next year.  According to Rick Weinman, Frisco Building Official, “The Town has adopted the 2012 Codes to stay current with national building standards that improve energy efficiency and building safety.”

Over the past year, Frisco’ worked with the other building officials in Summit County to evaluate the ramifications of the code changes prescribed by updated versions of the International Codes.  Collectively, all of the building officials in the County met with the Summit County Builders Association, High Country Conservation Center, the fire districts, and a number of designers/architects to inform the building community of the code changes, and seek their feedback and technical consideration.

The following provides general information regarding the significant changes between the 2006 and 2012 code series:

1)    Sprinklers.  The 2012 International Residential Code (IRC) prescriptively requires all dwellings to be provided with an automatic fire sprinkler system.  The current fire code requires fire sprinkler systems only for homes over 6,000 sq.ft.  Through code amendments, this 6,000 sq.ft. threshold remains unchanged.

2)    Energy Efficiency. 

  • Exterior wall insulation.  The 2012 code prescriptively requires a minimum R 49 roof, R20 wall cavity with 1” of foam insulation to be installed at the exterior of residential structures (under the siding). Again, code amendments will allow an alternative prescriptive option to permit an R23 blown insulation system be installed in wall cavities accompanied with the minimum R 49 roof.  Energy modeling shows this alternative prescription option provides the same energy performance as the 2012 code requirement. 
  • Window and Doors.  The 2006 IRC requires that fenestrations, doors and windows, have a maximum 0.35 U-factor.  The 2012 code prescriptively lowers the requirement to a maximum U factor of 0.32.  Code amendments will again continue to allow the use of the maximum 0.35 U- factor.
  • Whole house ventilation systems.   The 2012 code requires that ventilation systems be installed in all new homes due to air sealing requirements. This ventilation can range from a simple exhaust fan in an upstairs bathroom to a whole house Heat Recovery Unit. This requirement ensures a healthier indoor air environment.
  • Blower door test.  The 2012 IRC requires all homes to pass a minimum air leakage standard through a blower door testing prior to final inspection. Air leakage testing will have a construction cost impact of $150 to $300 and a potential cost benefit to the home owner of hundreds of dollars a year when compared to a leaky house. As an option, the contractor may instead have the building inspected during construction by an approved third party to verify air barriers and air sealing are installed in conformance with ENERGY STAR standards.

3)    Drywall in Crawlspace.   The amended 2012 code requires unfinished basements and crawlspaces with 4 ft. or more headroom, framed with engineered joists, to be protected with ½” gyp at the underside of the floor system when that crawl space is used for storage. The drywall is to protect fire fighters from floor system collapse in a fire event.

4)    Radon Mitigation.  The EPA has identified three zones in the US for radon and Frisco is located in a ‘”zone one”, which is their highest radon potential of the three zones.  The new codes include the IRC Appendix Chapter F as part of the update. This chapter governs construction techniques intended to resist radon entry and prepare buildings for post-construction radon mitigation, if necessary.

5)    Summit Sustainable Building Code (SSBC).  A number of areas covered by the existing Sustainable Building Code are addressed in the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code.  Therefore, a simplified, 2-page SSBC was prepared by the County Wide Sustainable Building Advisory Group to be included with the 2012 code adoption.  As revised, the requirements are self-explanatory and enforceable, and the checklist can be easily completed manually without using a computer.

More information on the 2012 Codes can be found on the Town’s website at www.friscogov.com and the Community Development webpage, at Town Hall (1 Main Street, Frisco, CO) or contact Rick Weinman at rickw@townoffrisco.com.

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