In the U.S., the system for writing, adopting, and enforcing building codes is peculiar. Lots of people are confused about building codes.
Anyone interested in understanding building codes in the U.S. needs to start by learning a few basic facts:
The ICC codes that are most relevant to residential builders are the International Residential Code (IRC) and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). These codes are written in three-year cycles, which means that every three years, a new version of the code is published. That’s why builders and code officials refer to the 2009 IRC, the 2012 IRC, or the 2015 IRC.
When states adopt a building code, they can adopt any version they want, and they are under no obligation to update the code when a new version of a model code is published. (There are a few exceptions to this rule: in some states, legislation has been passed to require automatic adoption of updated codes.) State-to-state variations are common; for example, Wisconsin is using the 2009 code while Iowa is using the 2012 code and Illinois is using the 2015 code — all at the same time.
In recent months, some states have begun to adopt versions of the latest edition of the IECC, namely the 2015 IECC. States that have done so include llinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Utah, and Vermont.
A HERS Index can be a path to compliance
GBA has published several articles on the 2015 IECC, including the following:
As these articles explain, one of the new compliance paths available to builders under the 2015 IECC involves getting a HERS Index for a new home. (The code refers to this rating as the Energy Rating Index, or ERI; but for all intents and purposes, an ERI is the same as a…