ICC 2012 International Building Codes 5/1/2013 Meeting Review

Rusdon Ray, a local Gilbert draftsman and home designer, has been providing information to Gilbert Watch for several weeks relating to the controversial ICC 2012 International Building Codes and the possibility that the Gilbert Town Council will adopt them as law.  (Please see Public Hearing in Gilbert May 1:  ICC 2012 Building Codes  and Email Gilbert Council:  NO to making ICC 2012 International Codes LAW.)

Several concerned Builders, Tradesmen, and Citizens have set up a new website.  Please see No New Codes.  They have also created a flier to distribute in your neighborhood.  Here’s the link:  NoNewCodes!

Everywhere we turn, we are seeing Top Down Government Control.  We as freedom loving individuals have less and less control over our own lives, our children’s lives, our borders, and even our choice of a lightbulb in our own home.  Very few of our elected "representatives" are willing to stand up for us.  Most side with Big Government Progressives and Big Corporations, that "know best" what’s good for us.

Here is Rusdon Ray’s Review of the Town of Gilbert Public Meeting 5-1-13: ICC 2012 International Building Codes.

The meeting consisted of 7 members of Town Staff and 30 builders, tradesmen, and concerned citizens.  Every seat in the Conference Room was filled. These builders and tradesmen, and some citizens, risked a lot by attending this meeting and speaking out to those in Town management who have the power to make their lives miserable.  They confronted those government officials who can retaliate in whatever way they would like by enforcing codes on them more harshly than ever before. 

Council members Eddie Cook and Victor Petersen also attended most of the 2-hour meeting.  

Kyle Mieras, interim development services director, opened the meeting by laying out the agenda. He asked that no discussion about whether or not the code should be adopted should take place, but that we should only discuss the new mandates from the 2012 code adoption in the power point presentation that Staff put together.

Staff presented the new 2012 code requirements as at previous meetings.  During the presentation, questions were fielded by Staff regarding the added requirements.  Many citizens and tradesmen presented clearly thought out challenges and concerns with the new and current regulations.  Larry Taylor, plan review and inspections manager, encouraged comments and took detailed notes throughout the Staff’s power point presentation.

Citizen, Builder, and Tradesmen Quotes and Comments: 
  • The current 2006 AFCI requirement is a huge, unnecessary expense on every home owner.  This 2006 Code should be a “suggestion/recommendation” only.
  • The proposed 2012 AFCI requirement, which is only one of hundreds of new requirements, will cost each home owner an average of $1500. 
  • Gilbert should adopt their own codes.
  • Gilbert should lead the way.
  • We don’t want to be against you.  We want to work together.
  • We want to see the Council pass what makes sense.
  • These ICC codes are all about money.
  • Those who write and mandate the ICC codes simply want a bigger bottom line.
  • These ICC codes are causing more problems than they are fixing.
  • I am the mother of a large Family – 11 kids, 35 grandchildren, – I cook a lot for large gatherings. I have a commercial appliance such as the very one the new 2012 ICC codes would outlaw! I also Can food a lot. Commercial appliances are exceptional for such food preparation and canning. Canning food has been around for ages and now with this new code you mean to make it illegal to do as I would like!  Outlawing commercial appliances is way out of line! Those who make the appliances make them safe. We should be able to buy them!"
  • We are not anti-codes.
  • We want to choose. We want the choice.
  • These codes are ridiculous.
  • These codes contradict each other constantly!  (You don’t see it, because you haven’t read them!)
  • My costs for a normal set of plans from my plan book will increase by $2000, which I will pass on to the home owner for anyone building their house in a Town or City with these new 2012 ICC codes, due to additional complexity.
  • Hallelujah! That’s what codes should be about! Life/Safety." (This was after a few simple life safety codes we presented such as smoke detectors and electrical grounding and obvious fire hazards were discussed.)
  • We dump 40,000 gallons of water a day on our construction site for dust control.  We live in a desert!  Your claim that these codes are for conservation is the biggest joke ever.
  • You say these new codes are about conservation. That is the biggest bunch of baloney I’ve ever heard!  (No profanity was used the whole night, even though we were sorely tempted.)
  • We need freedom in our homes.
  • We would like to choose to make our home as safe as we would like.
  • Do you know who wrote these codes?  We do!  They were written by a group of smart businessmen who want to make millions. They put any item they want in the code no matter how ridiculous, and then the cities blindly pass them as law without reading or understanding them. This makes them millions.
  • The unnecessary 2012 code requirement for – no dedicated outlets, that are not GFI, in a garage for a freezer for instance, could cause huge problems. The GFI outlet could flip off without the owner being aware and lose everything in the freezer.  (Imagine what that would mean if you had a year’s worth of meat in the freezer, after a hunt.)
  • These codes will put me out of business.
  • I will have to pass the cost onto the home owners!
  • The minimum cost for a simple home will be $200,000.  (How many families do you know starting out that can afford that?)
  • Many families are being priced out of the market.
  • Can these codes be proposed as options only?
  • I don’t want to beat a dead horse but………..I don’t want to be forced.
 A citizen put it very clearly: “We are not against all building codes, we are against the many nonsense codes included in them.” 
Town Management Response

Town Management, specifically Kyle Mieras, refused to allow us to demonstrate that the 2012 codes mandating tamper proof outlets are unnecessary!   A licensed electrician was there prepared with an easy to demonstrate Myth Buster, You Cannot get Shocked by a Normal Outlet, but they would not allow it to be discussed or demonstrated.

 Town management said the IFC (International Fire Code) was not applicable to residential, but Tradesmen let management know that the IFC is applicable to residential.   Any house that has solar panels, among other things, would have to comply with the IFC.  Here is the unbelievable quote from Town Management, "A complete roof of solar panels is unacceptable (not allowed)."   Why?  Because of the 2012 IFC, which states. Unobstructed walking areas must be provided for firemen.  What about steep roofs that you can’t walk on?  Do they have to be built so firemen can walk on them?  No.

 Town Management attempted to justify the 2012 codes by stating, "Some codes are being relaxed in the 2012 codes.  For example, storage sheds up to 200 sq. ft. and gooseneck handrails are allowed."  It was pointed out to them that there are very few relaxed codes, and they are insignificant. 

 Town Management asserted:  "These codes are to protect not only the new home owner but the 2nd and 3rd innocent and naive home owners. Everyone wants reasonable assurance that their house is safe for both them and their kids!"   To this, an attendee stated, “I understand the concern about 2nd and 3rd home buyers purchasing a house not knowing its condition or type of construction. That is a serious and legitimate concern.  However, we have free market home inspectors whose job is to inspect homes.  The free market home inspectors, unlike town and city inspectors, will even go into the attics and on the roofs to do very thorough inspections for prospective home owners for a very reasonable price." 

 Larry Taylor, plan review and inspections manager, stated that he would look into the following:
  • Energy Efficiency Codes have nothing to do with building/safety. 
  • The 2012 Energy Efficiency Codes will add an estimated $2,500 – $5,000 per home to implement, with no improvement in building/safety. 
  • Basement window well drains are unnecessary and not applicable to Arizona.
  •  Restriction of 20 amp outlets in garages restricts citizens from using their private homes as desired.
  •  Addition of Arc-Fault breakers to all home circuits are unnecessary and very costly.
  • So called improved tamper-proof electrical outlets are unnecessary and very costly.
  • Contradiction of “fresh-air vents,” which are unhealthy and inefficient.
  • Outlawing of Commercial Cooking Appliances in residential homes restricts private property rights.  (A citizen spoke against this.  She uses a commercial oven when cooking for her 11 children and 35 grand-children.)
  • Special locking caps on A/C units to prevent "huffing" by druggies is arbitrary and ridiculous.  (Any number of household items can be “huffed” by druggies.  What about paint?  Hand sanitizer? ) 

Action Item

The following email address will reach Mayor Lewis and all Gilbert Council Members: councilmembers@gilbertaz.gov.

 Please advise them that, without adequate review & answer to these and the many other concerns, the 2012 ICC codes should not be adopted as mandates, but as suggestions and recommendations only.

 Also respectfully ask that the Town Council return the current 2006 Codes to their proper place as suggestions and recommendations only.

 The Town of Gilbert and its citizens would be better served if Town management wrote a simple and comprehensive set of their own life/safety codes for Gilbert.