Archive for Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Proposed city building codes to get further review

January 15, 2013


Lawrence city commissioners Tuesday night agreed to ask a city advisory board to further review portions of proposed set of building codes for the city.

Commissioners asked the city’s Building Code Board of Appeals to look at suggestions from the Lawrence Home Builders Association that would modify how homes are tested to meet new energy efficiency standards in the code.

The issue likely will come back to city commissioners for approval in several weeks.


Casual906 5 years, 2 months ago

Slow your roll there Grandma. Let's put the broad brush back in the paint can. I think the main issue is change not some evil plan to build cheap homes. Most of those really cheap home builders have been weeded out with the downturn in the market. Here in Lawrence contractors on average build relatively energy efficient homes. Low E windows, air ducts are tested for leaks, air barriers, plates and joints are calked sealed and inspected, all stuff required by the current code. The new codes require blower door tests and R-19 in the walls as one way to meet code. This is a change from 50 years of building homes so there's a lot of confusion about how to meet the code. LHBA is not opposed to the new code. I think the LHBA wants to allow homes meet a certain HERS rating as compliance with code. Seems like a really good idea. I know a member of the board and they are trying to phase this stuff in to let the builders get use to the new methods of building. LHBA and the City is on board with that. Oh and yes LHBA does lobby the commission, but that's democracy so get use to it.

cagiv 5 years, 2 months ago

I will not disagree that there are still home builders out there, not only in Lawrence but everywhere, that build lesser quality homes and are not in favor of progress or many of the changes the building codes suggest, however these people are neither members in the LHBA nor what the LHBA represents.

The local home builders association is very concerned with energy efficiency and producing a high quality building product. Many of their numbers are classified as Green Building Professionals, meaning they spent time and money to be educated in ways to build better & more energy efficient homes. Much of this education is not available locally so they travel at their own expense to better themselves. Many of these home builders construct either Green Certified, or LEED Certified homes. Without the LHBA this would likely not be possible and would certainly not be promoted. The LHBA & NHBA provide the opportunities for builders to; learn, be certified, and generally construct a better product.

Members of the organization serve on the committee that review building codes as they come out and make recommendations both in favor of and against certain provisions of the building code. They serve on these committees, spending an awful amount of their own time, in an effort to better our building community. As a general rule I believe the LHBA believes in progressing forward with new building codes that ensure we all live in safer and more efficient homes. That said at some level a cost/benefit analysis needs to be considered and home buyers should have the ability to decide if they want to pay for the additional cost. The alternative is having mandates to follow that will push the cost of home construction ever higher and make it more difficult for the average person to afford.

If you will do a little research you will also find the LHBA did not fully oppose the adoption of the 2012 IBC. In general I believe the organization was mostly in favor of its adoption and worked toward that end. Only a few minor changes to the building code as well as phasing in certain aspects over a short period of time were suggested.

In addition to being in favor of building better and more efficient homes the NAHB & LHBA strives for professionalism across the home building industry through education and proper licensing. They were in favor of adopting a contractor licensing program in Lawrence and also for continuing education. Overall it is a very beneficial and useful organization in town.

webmocker 5 years, 2 months ago

@cagiv: Please don't confuse people with facts. :-)

Casual906 5 years, 2 months ago

Cagiv I agree with 98% of your comment. But lets' be honest, the rise in home costs have little to do with the added expense of the new energy provisions. It has more to do with the cost of land, rise in the overall cost building materials, commissions and profits. For home owners it's the cost of home ownership that's important. That includes mortage, taxes, insurance and also heating and cooling bills. We hear from homebuilders wildly varying cost/benefit analysis which may be out of misinformation or just trying to make a point or aurguement. These costs are estimated to be anywhere from $1000 to $6000 for the average home. Objective industry analysis puts this figure around $2000. $2000 added to a typical mortgage increases the mortgage slightly and with the savings in lower heating and cooling bills homeowners can expect to recover that initial cost and start seeing savings in as little as 1 year.

cagiv 5 years, 2 months ago

Fair enough and I'm not suggesting it is only a cost issue. Keep in mind the energy provisions are only a portion of the building code and there are other added requirements which will add to the cost. I’ll accept the point that these items do not add profusely to the cost of your average home though when we are talking about trying to build affordable entry level homes $2000 - $4000 can represent a fairly significant amount.

My primary point to the original commenter is that the LHBA is not the enemy but rather a worthwhile organization that contributes rather than is a detriment to the community.

Casual906 5 years, 2 months ago

Agreed. For the most part Lawrence has great builders Flory and LHBA do a good job.

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