Updates from the HBAG Regulatory Affairs Committee
The Regulatory Affairs Committee (RAC) has the responsibility of monitoring the construction codes, environmental and other regulatory issues affecting housing. RAC reviews proposed changes to construction codes and other regulations. RAC serves as the liaison between the Association and state regulatory agencies and works closely with the Government Affairs Committee to determine if code or other regulatory issues have a bearing on new or existing statues.
Members are appointed to serve on task forces and committees when opportunities exist. Periodic updates are issued to keep the membership informed of any changes. The Committee meets at each regular Board Meeting and at the call of the Chair when a need arises.
HBAG wins relief in electrical code issue
This requirement has caused nuisance trips on this equipment, compromising the air quality and comfort in new homes. Thanks to the hard work of SCAC member and HBAG Past President and Hall of Famer Tim Williams, HBAG Vice President Secretary/Treasurer and Chair of the Regulatory Affairs Committee Trevor Readdick, and HBAG Regulatory Consultant Bettie Sleeth, SCAC voted recently to remove Section 210.8 (f) from the 2020 NEC. Working in partnership with Conditioned Air Association of Georgia, HBAG secured unanimous support for the amendment.
HBAG thanks DCA Commissioner Christopher Nunn and his staff, including Ted Miltiades, Director of Construction Codes and Industrialized Buildings, the office of Governor Brian Kemp, and our friends in the Georgia Legislature for their hard work on this issue.
The SCAC’s decision can be read here and is subject to a public hearing and ratification by the DCA Board with an expected effective date of September 1.
In the meantime, the department has issued a memo to all local building officials to reinforce their ability to revert to the relevant provisions from the 2017 NEC. The memo can be read here. We encourage our members to share this document with their local building officials.
HBAG gained a big victory recently regardng the 2020 National Electric Code (effective Jan 1, 2021). It originally contained provisions in section 210.8(f) which require a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) breaker to be installed on connections between a new home’s electrical system and the air conditioning condenser unit – the part of the HVAC system that resides outside.
SCAC Amendments for 2021 Construction Codes – Summary
Approved amendments from the Energy, Residential and Building (ERB) Task Force –
2015 IECC (International Energy Conservation Code) – Add new section R402.1.2.1 – Indirectly Conditioned Attics – this section will make it easier to comply with the Performance Method of the Energy Code when using HERS rating system.
2015 IECC (International Energy Conservation Code) – Add new section:
R402.2.11.1 – Crawl space walls – Insulation shall be removable to allow access for pest control inspection
R402.2.9.1.1 – Basement Walls – Insulation provided at the interior rim joist area shall be removable to allow access for pest control inspections
These amendments were submitted by the Pest Control Industry and supported by HBAG. They are clarifications to current amendment in Energy Code for Termite Protection. The Spray Foam Industry opposed these amendments.
2018 IEBC (International Existing Building Code) – The Existing Building Code is currently a permissive code. The SCAC agreed to recommend that the IEBC become a mandatory code. This code has tools that assist architects, designers and builders with commercial projects like downtown renovations and schools. The SCAC recommended delaying the effective date until July 1,2022 to allow for training for local jurisdictions.
- 2018 IBC (International Building Code) – SCAC recommended adding a new mandatory Appendix P from the 2021 IBC for Mass Timber Provisions.
- 2018 IBC (International Building Code) – SCAC approved the following recommendations for Special Inspections and Tests of Concrete Construction
- Revise Table 1705.3 – Required Tests and Inspections
- Add new section 1705.3.1 Testing Agency to comply with ASTM C1077
- Add new Table 1704.2 – Minimum Inspector Qualifications
- In Chapter 35, Referenced Standards – Add ASTM C1077-17 – Standard Practices for Agencies Testing Concrete and Concrete Aggregates
2018 IFGC (International Fuel Gas Code) – Add new section:
409.2.1 – System Shutoff Valve – at point of delivery or outlet of regulator. Part of customer piping for emergencies.
2018 IPC (International Plumbing Code) – Add new Table 506 – Minimum First Hour Ratings for Residential Water Heaters – may be used when manufacturer’s instructions are unclear.
The State Codes Advisory Committee (SCAC) recommended the adoption of the following items that had been discussed over past several months at two task forces. A number of other items were disapproved by the Task Force and supported by the SCAC. The recommendations from the SCAC will be forwarded to the DCA Board for their ratification at their November Board meeting. The majority of these amendments will have January 1, 2022 effective date.
Current Mandatory Construction Codes for 2021 as Adopted by DCA:
- International Building Code, 2018 Edition, with Georgia Amendments (2020)
- International Residential Code, 2018 Edition, with Georgia Amendments (2020
- International Fire Code, 2018 Edition (Contact State Fire Marshal
- International Plumbing Code, 2018 Edition, with Georgia Amendments (2020
- International Mechanical Code 2018 Edition, with Georgia Amendments (2020)
- International Fuel Gas Code,2018 Edition, with Georgia Amendments (2020)
- National Electrical Code, 2020 Edition (No Georgia Amendments)
- International Energy Conservation Code, 2015 Edition, with Georgia Supplements and Amendments (2020)
- International Swimming Pool and Spa Code, 2018 Edition, with Georgia Amendments (2020)
For information and questions regarding the Life Safety Code (NFPA 101), IFC Georgia Amendments or the Georgia Accessibility Code please contact the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Current Permissive Codes for 2021 as Adopted by DCA:
- Disaster Resilient Building Code IBC Appendix(2013)
- Disaster Resilient Building Code IRC Appendix (2013)
- Maintenance Code, 2018 Edition, with Georgia Amendments (2021)
International Existing Building Code, 2018 Edition, with Georgia Amendments (2021)
- National Green Building Standard, 2008 Edition, with Georgia Amendments (2011)
A Permissive Code must be allowed by a local jurisdiction to be enforced.
How to Obtain License
Click here for types of Residential & General Contractors requiring a license and how to obtain a license.
Click here for exam information.
Click here for financial and insurance requirements.
THE 2020 DEADLINE WILL BE JUNE 30th, 2020. STAY TUNED FOR INFORMATION REGARDING THE 2020 DEADLINE.
When it is time to renew your Georgia Professional Residential or General Contractor’s License, here are some guidelines.
Visit https://www.sos.ga.gov/plb before the deadline to renew. Click on the License Renewal link to begin the renewal process. The online renewal process takes only a few minutes. After updating both your physical and your mailing addresses, and your email address, and answering the renewal questions, you may pay using your American Express, Mastercard, or Visa using the secure server.
Please submit Continuing Education documents if you are selected for audit. Please do not submit continuing education documents unless you are selected for audit.
Submit your renewal online in minutes – just follow these quick and easy steps:
- Visit the Georgia Online Licensing site at www.sos.ga.gov/plb (Free internet access is available at every Georgia Public Library)
- Click on the License Renewal link to begin the renewal process.
- Step-by-step instructions may be found here: www.sos.ga.gov/plb/renewal_process.htm
- NOTE: Facilities may not submit an address change during renewal. Address changes require submission of a new application.
- Individual license holders please update your mailing and physical location addresses, phone number, e-mail address and answer the renewal questions.
- Pay your renewal fee(s) using your American Express, Mastercard, or Visa on the secure server.
- Print your receipt of payment.
- Verify your renewal online.
- Print your license online.
AVOID ADDITIONAL DELAY & LATE FEES BY RENEWING ON TIME!
Burning Ban Began May 1, 2021
On May 1, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) open burning ban took effect for 54 Georgia counties. The open burning ban has been in place during the summer ozone season since 2005.
The EPD open burning ban prohibits citizens and businesses from burning yard and land-clearing debris from May 1 through September 30. This is in addition to the rule that prohibits the burning of household garbage. Burning household garbage is never allowed anywhere in Georgia.
Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection – Advanced Technology to Reduce Electrical Fires
Bryan P. Holland, MCP.
NEMA Codes & Standards
Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers are examples of emergency equipment used in homes to take action when a fire occurs. However, an arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) is a product that is designed to detect arcing faults in a circuit and turn off the electrical system before it becomes an ignition source.Conventional overcurrent protective devices cannot detect these hazardous arcing currents that have the potential to initiate fires. Electrical fires take many lives, damage or destroy significant amounts of property, and often occur in areas of the home that are hidden from view or early detection.
Electric arcing creates intense heating that can ignite surrounding material, such as wood framing or insulation. The temperature of these arcs can exceed 10,000 °F. An AFCI device uses advanced electronic technology to monitor the circuit for the presence of these “hazardous” arcing conditions. Some equipment in the home, such as a vacuum cleaner or refrigerator, naturally create electric arcs. This is considered to be a normal arcing condition. Another normal arcing condition that can sometimes be seen is when a light switch is turned off or when an electric cord is unplugged.
A hazardous arc occurs for many reasons including damage to conductor insulation from nails, screws,sharp points, or even furniture placed on top of an appliance or lamp cord. When arcing occurs, the AFCI analyzes the characteristics of the event and determines if it is a normal or hazardous arc. AFCI manufacturers test for the hundreds of possible operating conditions and then program their devices to respond only to the hazardous arcing conditions. AFCI technology can be incorporated into circuit breakers, receptacles, appliances and appliance cords.
Research in the arc fault area began in the early 1990s when the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) identified a concern with the residential fires of electrical origin. A large number of these fires were determined to be in the branch-circuit premise wiring. It was these early studies that led to the first proposals requiring AFCIs, which were made during the development of the 1999 NEC.NEC Code-Making Panel 2 (CMP2) reviewed many proposals and heard numerous presentations on the new technology. After much data analysis and discussion, CMP2 concluded that AFCI protection should initially be required for branch circuits that supply receptacle outlets in bedrooms.
Subsequent editions of the NEC further expanded the requirements to now include all 120-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere branch circuits supplying outlets or devices installed in dwelling unit kitchens,family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, laundry areas, and similar rooms or areas. The most current edition of the NEC(2017 edition) also requires AFCI protection in dormitory units, guest rooms, guest suites, where branch circuits are extended or modified, and for the replacement of certain receptacles in a dwelling or dormitory unit.
Reducing fires of electrical origin and saving lives is an important responsibility of the entire construction and regulatory community. Applying technology to improve the electrical safety of the home is a wise investment for both the homeowner and the community at large. Through extensive product testing and the proper application of the NEC requirements, AFCIs will provide superior protection against arcing faults and is the advanced technology to reduce electrical fires.
Mandatory Residential Pool Code
As many of you are aware, the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code became Mandatory effective January 1, 2017.
The International Swimming Pool and Spa Code (ISPSC) is the first comprehensive pool code coordinated with the current requirements in the International Codes and APSP standards. Benefits of the ISPSC include seamless integration with the widely-adopted family of International Codes, meets or exceeds the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act requirements, covers fencing, decks, lighting, heaters, circulation systems, pumps, accessibility, diving, sanitizing equipment, filters, and suction fittings, and includes provisions for diving barriers, general design, and water quality safety. The ISPSC is important to all segments of the industry because it creates one all-inclusive uniform pool and spa code that will be used statewide. The 2012 edition was approved unanimously by the Georgia Dept. of Community Affairs (DCA) in 2016. Please see attachment for more information.
Span Tables for Southern Pine
REMINDER: New span tables for Southern Pine went into effect in January of 2016. HBAG successfully lobbied for a 1 year delay in implementation to allow all truss manufacturers and other suppliers to have inventory updated and available. This is the only code change for 2016. Please see the Georgia State Amendments to the International Residential Code for One and Two Family Dwellings document from the Department of Community Affairs. Refer to pages 5-18 – there are charts for everything – framing, rafters, walls, headers, etc.
Visit the American Wood Council website here for more helpful resources regarding deck construction.
The DCA 6 – Prescriptive Residential Deck Construction Guide – 2009 IRC Version with May 2013 Addendum highlights areas of the document (pages 1-4) that have been changed for your convenience.
Energy Code Workshops Around State
The Georgia DCA Building Codes Department and Southface were awarded grant through GEFA, Georgia Environmental Finance Authority, to provide training on the updates and changes of the new Energy Code and Amendments for the State of Georgia. The code becomes effective January 1, 2020. These workshops will cover the changes in commercial and residential energy codes, best practices for implementation and compliance of new rules, as well as a Q&A session.
The Energy Code Workshops have been approved by Southface as qualifying for AIA, ICC, BPI, and HERS Continuing Education Credits. They have also been approved by the Home Builders Assn of Georgia (HBAG) as qualifying under the Rules of the State Licensing of Residential and General Contractors for Licensing Continuing Education Units.