Significant Code Changes Effective on Jan. 1, 2011
Effective Jan. 1, 2011, all permits applied for after Jan. 1, will be reviewed and inspected under the requirements of the 2009 International Residential Code and the 2009 International Building Code. Please see below for the significant changes that can be expected for residential structures. Note: The 2008 NEC has been in effect since January 1, 2010.
Chapter 2 (Definitions)
Attic – The unfinished space between the ceiling assembly of the top story and the roof assembly.
- Habitable Attic – A finished or unfinished area, not considered a story, complying with all of the following requirements:
- Floor area is at least 70 square feet
- Ceiling Height is at least 7 feet
- Space is enclosed (roof, walls and floor)
Why is this significant? Habitable attics are not considered a story. Previously, code recognized a habitable attic as a story. IRC allows for three-story structures. With this change it is conceivable to have five habitable levels (basement, three stories and a habitable attic). Also, habitable attics require a smoke detector and emergency escape and rescue openings and means of egress as any other bedroom would require.
Chapter 3 (Building Planning)
Code now recognizes SIP Panel Construction
- Code now specifically requires impact protection for any glass in garage doors
- Minimum uniform live load for balconies has been lowered from 60 psf to 40 psf
- Accessory Buildings on the Same Lot – For a detached garage within three feet of the home, gypsum board protection is still required. For all other detached accessory buildings on the lot there are no fire resistant requirements. Accessory buildings are limited to 3,000 square feet. Fire separation distance to lot lines still applies.
- Bathrooms have a minimum ceiling height of 6 feet, 8 inches. This height is now measured from the area in front of a fixture as opposed to directly over the fixture.
- Guards shall be located along open sided walking surfaces, including stairs, ramps and landings that are located more than 30 inches measured vertically to the floor or grade below to any point within 36 inches horizontally to the edge of the open side.
- Sprinklers – This new requirement has been deleted. All fire separation requirements that were reduced as a result of the incorporation of sprinklers into the code have been reset back to the 2006 standards.
- Smoke Alarms – The code now recognizes alternative household fire alarm systems as long as it is monitored.
- Carbon Monoxide Alarms – For new construction, an approved carbon monoxide alarm (UL 2034) shall be installed outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms in dwelling units within which fuel-fired appliances are installed and in dwelling units that have attached garages.
- Wood Plastic Composites – Manufactured wood/plastic composite materials used in the construction of decks and other exterior structures must be labeled and listed as complying with ASTM D 7032 and installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Address Numbers – Numbers or letters must be at least 4 inches tall and have a stroke width of at least ½ inch.
Chapter 4 (Foundations)
Surface Drainage – Must fall away from foundation by 6 inches in the first 10 feet. If 10 feet is not available, drains or swales shall be constructed to ensure drainage away from the structure. Impervious surfaces within 10 feet of the building foundation shall be sloped a minimum of 2 percent away from the building.
- Steel Columns – Steel columns must be fabricated of not less than 3 inch diameter schedule 40 pipe.
- Underfloor Space Ventilation – Minimum ventilation required is 1 square foot for each 150 square feet. If the ground is covered with a Class 1 Vapor Retarder then the minimum ventilation required is 1 square foot for each 1500 square feet. One ventilation opening shall be within 3 feet of each corner.
Chapter 5 (Floors)
Chapter 6 (Wall Construction)
Deck Ledger Connection – Prescriptive methods for securely attaching a wood deck to the dwelling structure are now included in the IRC. Table 502.2.2.1 provides a detailed explanation of the required fasteners.
- Lateral Restraint for Wood Joists – This change applies to the installation of engineered wood products. Trusses, structural composite lumber, structural glued-laminated members and I-joists shall be supported laterally as required by the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Cold Formed Steel Floor Framing – The prescriptive provisions of cold form steel framing now apply to three story buildings. Previously, only two stories were allowed under proscriptive provisions.
Chapter 7 (Wall Covering)
Drilling and Notching – When a metal tie is required across the opening of a notched or drilled top plate, the tie must now extend a minimum of 6 inches beyond each side of the opening. The required nail length has been reduced from 3 ½ inches to 1 ½ inches with a diameter of 0.148 inch to avoid splitting the top plate.
- Portal Framing – Much of the text has been deleted and replaced with a detailed illustration. This framing is often required around garage door openings.
- Exterior Concrete Wall Construction – Exterior Concrete Form Wall Construction is now permitted without the seal of an engineer or architect as long as it adheres to the requirements of Section 611 of the 2009 IRC, PCA 100, or ACI 318. This provision is only applicable for wind speeds of 130 mph or less.
- SIP Construction – Prescriptive provisions have now been added to the IRC. Building is restricted to two stories, 40 feet in width, 60 feet in length, and 130 mph wind speed.
Chapter 8 (No Significant Changes)
Chapter 9 (Roof Assemblies)
Vinyl Soffit – Vinyl soffit must be fastened according to the manufacturer’s instructions to suitable backing or nailing strips.
Chapter 10 (Chimneys and Fireplaces) (No Significant Changes)
astm d 7158
astm d 3161
||Class G or H
|120||Class G or H||Class F|
|130||Class H||Class F|
|140||Class H||Class F|
|150||Class H||Class F|
Chapter 11 (Energy) (No Changes – 2006 IRC Chapter 11)
Art. 355 – Reinforced Thermosetting Resin Conduit (RTRC)
- Art. 522 – Control systems for permanent amusement attractions
- Art. 626 – Electrified truck parking spaces
- Art. 708 – Critical Operations Power Systems (COPS)
Changes in Definitions (Article 100)
Clothes Closet – A non-habitable room or space intended primarily for storage of garments and apparel
- Intersystem Bonding Termination – Bonding and grounding of communication equipment
- Kitchen – An area with a sink and permanent facilities for food preparation and cooking
Changes in Existing Articles
Art. 110.26 and 110.33 – spaces about electrical equipment, entrances, and access to spaces
- Art. 210.4 – multi-wire branch circuits
- a. Identified handle ties must be used for simultaneous disconnection
- b. Grouping and identification of conductors in the panel
- Art. 210.5 – Identification of branch circuits; When the wiring system has branch circuits supplied for more than one nominal voltage system (i.e. 208Y/120 or 480Y/277) Note: MC cable is now made in colors
- Art. 210.8 – GFCI Protection: exceptions for dedicated circuits and circuits that are not readily accessible have been deleted. Note: Accessory buildings shall be GFCI protected. Exception: Garage door opener receptacle in the ceiling of the garage does not have to be GFCI protected.
- Art. 210.12 – ARC Fault Interrupter Protection: All 120 volt single phase branch circuits supplying outlets in the dwelling unit family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, or similar rooms or areas shall be ARC fault protected by a listed combination ARC fault circuit interrupter. Note: Kitchens, bathrooms, unfinished basements, garages, and outdoors are excluded from this requirement.
- Art. 210.52 – Dwelling Unit Receptacle Outlets:
- a. Switched receptacles do not count
- b. Porches and balconies greater than 20 sq. ft. require a receptacle
Art. 240.24 – Overcurrent devices shall not be located over steps of a stairway (Panel Boards)
- Art. 250.8 – Connection of grounding and bonding equipment;
- a. Thread forming screws that engage not less than 2 threads may be used
2009 Mechanical Changes
Art. 250.146 – Surface mounted box: Can be used for grounding the device if metal to metal contact exists between the device yoke and the box and if the box and cover are listed for such use.
- Art. 300.5 – Wet Locations: The interior of enclosures or raceways installed underground and installed outdoors shall be considered a wet location.
- Art. 314. 24 – Minimum depth of boxes for outlets, devices, and equipment
- Art. 314.27 – Boxes at luminaire outlets: Boxes used at luminaire or lampholder outlets in a ceiling shall be required to support a luminaire weighing a minimum of 50 lbs. If the luminaire weighs more than 50 lbs, it shall be supported independently of the box unless the box is listed and marked to support the weight.
- Art. 334.12 – Type NM and NMS cable shall not be used in wet or damp locations (i.e. outdoors or under house)
- Art. 406.8 – Receptacles in damp or wet locations: Receptacles in damp or wet locations shall be listed as weather resistant. Note: This is marked on the receptacle with a WR.
- Art. 406.11 – Tamper Resistant Receptacles in dwelling units: All receptacles in dwelling units shall be listed as tamper resistant.
- Art. 422.52 – Electric drinking fountains shall be GFCI protected
- Art. 680.12 – Maintenance Disconnecting Means: Maintenance and repair of pools, spas, and hot tubs require a disconnecting means readily accessible and within sight of the equipment
- Art. 800.156 – Dwelling Unit Communications Outlet: At least one communication outlet is now required in a dwelling unit.
2009 Fuel Gas Changes
Protection – Appliances shall not be installed in a location subject to vehicle damage except where protected by approved barriers. Previously, this was only a requirement in garages.
- Makeup Air – Exhaust hood systems capable of exhausting in excess of 400 cubic feet per minute shall be provided with makeup air at a rate approximately equal to the exhaust air rate. Such makeup air systems shall be equipped with a means of closure and shall be automatically controlled to start and operate simultaneously with the exhaust system.
- Garage HVAC Systems – Furnaces and air handling systems that supply air to living spaces shall not supply air to or return air from a garage.
Appliance Installation – In residential garages where appliances are installed in a separate, enclosed space having access only from outside of the garage, such appliances shall be permitted to be installed at floor level, provided that the required combustion air is taken from the exterior of the garage.
- Piping in Solid Floors – When both ends of a protective conduit in a slab terminate inside the building, the code now prohibits the ends from being sealed. For installations where one end of the conduit terminates outside the building, the interior end must be sealed and the exterior end must prevent entry of water and insects and be vented to the outdoors.
- Connector Length – The maximum length of appliance connectors has increased from 3 feet to 6 feet.
- Clothes Dryer Ducts – The maximum prescribed length for a gas dryer exhaust duct has been increased from 25 to 35 feet. A new table has been added to determine how much to deduct for radius bends.
- Vertical Clearance – Must have 30 inches of clearance above a cooking top to combustible materials.