Be Prepared – Building Code Updates Likely Coming Soon in NH  
By Linda McNair-Perry, PE, CSI
  

    
  
There are several bills regarding New Hampshire’s building codes, including updating to the 2015 I-codes, that are in the final stages of the legislative process.  These bills came about as a result of last year’s legislative study committee, where many of the grievances among special interests were resolved.  This cleared the way for several code related bills this year.  There is reason for optimism that change is coming soon. 
 
The Senate ED&A Committee recently made some amendments to the bills after the House had already passed them.  As such, after a full vote of the Senate on May 15th, the bills will be sent back to the House for concurrence before they are sent to the Governor to be signed into law. Be aware that HB 562, which updates the I-codes, has an effective date of 60 days after the Governor signs the bill.  For longer design projects you will want to consider when your documents will be filed for permit relative to the effective date of the code change.  As such, you are encouraged to follow the final stages of these bills on nh.gov
 
HB 562 is one of two bills introduced this year with the objective of updating the state code to the 2015 I-codes, as amended. HB 562.  In addition to the 2015 i-code updates, HB 562 (if passed) will ratify all amendments approved by the BCRB. In HB 562, however, the list of amendments to 2015 International Residential Building Code (IRC) energy provisions promoted by the NH Home Builders Association will sunset in 2 ½ years.
 
HB 710 passed the House and came out of the Senate ED&A Committee with an amendment.  It is worth noting that some provisions relative to the Building Code Review Board (BCRC) in HB 710 will:

  • permit the BCRB to recommend newer codes if they have been published for at least 2 years,
  • require the previous year’s amendments that have been approved by the BCRB to be brought forward to the legislature annually for ratification before taking effect,
  • require that the BCRB publish amendments adopted by municipalities, and
  • require the Building Code Review Board hear appeals of local building code official decisions.