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Legislative Alert: HB 547 Passed House Floor – Please Contact Senate Commerce & Human Resources Committee to Oppose the Bill

Posted By Johanna M. Bell, Friday, March 2, 2018

House Bill 547, the AIC-opposed legislation on building codes, passed the House floor and is now headed to the Senate Commerce & Human Resources Committee.  We ask city officials to reach out by phone or email to members of the committee and respectfully ask them to oppose the bill (see members and contact information below).   

Talking Points Against HB 547 and Regarding State Building Code Adoption

  1. In general, code amendments made by local governments provide additional flexibility and relief for builders.
  2. Preserving local governments’ ability to amend the state adopted code is important for building safety.
  3. HB 547 creates considerable uncertainty by restricting local amendments to addressing immediate threats to life or safety.  The bill does not provide any examples or make any attempt to clarify what is meant by an immediate threat to life or safety.
  4. HB 547 adds and removes language in a manner that has unintended consequences.  The bill fails to adequately distinguish between residential building and energy codes versus commercial building and energy codes. 
    First, the added language prohibits any changes to the International Residential Code (IRC) and International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) unless adopted by the state, as the bill’s sponsor Rep. Joe Palmer has presented. Then, HB 547 deletes an entire section (i.e., Section 4) that allows local governments to “amend by ordinance the adopted codes or provisions of referenced codes to reflect local concerns, provided such amendments establish at least an equivalent level of protection to that of the adopted building code.” By removing this section in its entirety, HB 547 removes the ability of local governments to amend ANY codes, including commercial building codes.
  5. Changes made to the International Residential Building Code and the International Energy Conservation Code since 2012 provide MORE options to comply via performance versus prescription - thus increasing compliance flexibility for builders and potentially decreasing home buyer costs.
  6. Failing to adopt the residential energy efficiency code is anti-consumer protection.  When purchasing a new home, buyers naturally assume that they are acquiring a house that is constructed according to current code.
  7. The incremental cost of building a more energy efficient home does not “price people out of home ownership” but high building material costs do.  The leading reason for foreclosure, after loss of income, is the inability to pay energy bills.  That is why low-income housing advocates are vocal supporters of stronger energy efficient codes since energy is the highest cost of home maintenance – higher than taxes and insurance.

The members of the Senate Commerce & Human Resources Committee are listed below with their phone numbers and email addresses.

Sen. Jim L. Patrick, Twin Falls, Chair:   (208) 332-1318

Sen. Jim Guthrie, Inkom, Vice Chair:   (208) 332-1348

Sen. Fred S. Martin, Boise:    (208) 332-1407

Sen. Todd M. Lakey, Nampa:    (208) 332-1328

Sen. Steven P. Thayn, Emmett:    (208) 332-1344

Sen. Mary Souza, Coeur d’Alene:   (208) 332-1322

Sen. Antony L. Potts, Idaho Falls:   (208) 332-1313

Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking, Boise:   (208) 332-1425

Sen. Grant Burgoyne, Boise:   (208) 332-1409


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