Every three years international national (see comment) bodies update suggested building codes to incorporate new technologies, new techniques and processes. States then have the option of adopting those codes, which would have to be followed by towns and cities.

New Hampshire last adopted international building codes in 2009, meaning we are two or three iterations behind (I’m not sure if 2018 codes are out). At a time when making buildings more energy-efficient is a big part of fighting climate change, not to mention saving money by wasting less, that seems kind of – how can I put this nicely? – stupid.

There’s a bill in the House (HB562) that would adopt the 2015 editions of the International Building Code, the International Existing Building Code, the International Plumbing Code, the International Mechanical Code, the International Energy Conservation Code, and the International Residential Code. It has a public hearing Tuesday, at which time I’m sure some people will complain that it will cost money and/or is a “nanny state” overreach.

There’s another aspect of this, however. During the February 2018 Science Cafe NH in Concord, which talked about building efficiency, it was pointed that a large number of New Hampshire towns don’t have a building inspector, which means it’s hard to confirm that new houses are even living up to outdated building codes. This astonished me – I couldn’t believe that banks would give a mortgage to a home built without building-inspector oversight – but was assured that it’s true.


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