International Residential Code (IRC) Updates

December 3, 2018

Hello fellow HBA members, what follows is an update from your local HBA Code Committee who are reviewing the proposed 2018 International Residential Code (IRC). Amazing how time flies! We have one more meeting on December 10th covering chapters 40-42 and reviewing all prior chapters. Once the chapter has been reviewed, we will submit to the IRC review committee in Indianapolis. This committee consists of eleven members appointed by the governor. Like our review committee, they started in May and have met monthly for chapter reviews.

I would like to thank our committee and experts in their respected fields for the input and comments. I also want to thank our Building Commissioner John Caywood and his division chiefs that have been excellent in delivering a real-world approach as to what will or will not work in our construction industry. We are blessed to have a Building Department that is proactive and one that works with the builders and associated trades.

To date the IRC committee has had the following success:

  • Deleted the requirement to install a fire sprinkler system (statutorily prohibited by SEA 393, therefor, the code cannot require it), but left language referencing the installation standard should someone choose to install a fire sprinkler system;
  • Deleted requirements to protect floor/ceiling assemblies with ½” gypsum board;
  • Maintained requirement for an egress window in every basement;
  • Amended stair geometry to 7 ¾” for riser height and 10” for tread depth 3 years after the code goes into effect (Indiana’s current stair geometry is 8 ¼” for riser height and 9” for tread depth);
  • Amended seismic design category to “C” for those areas of the state that would be “D” and result in more stringent, costly construction requirements;
  • Expanded requirement for all roof installation to include ice and water shield (Indiana’s current code limits installation of the product to certain counties);
  • Eliminated requirement for doors that separate garages from living areas to be self-closing;
  • Defeated a proposal to require all concrete to be sealed and defeated a proposal to strengthen the concrete mixture used in all basement walls, foundations, porches, steps, driveways, sidewalks and garage floors;
  • Maintained cost-effective improvements to energy efficiency requirements that have a reasonable payback for homeowners;
  • Maintained requirement to install carbon monoxide alarms, though IBA has asked for the Attorney General’s Office to weigh-in on a proposal to shield installers from liability; and
  • Amended requirements to allow attic access from the garage.

The Committee is still deliberating on the following:

  • Requirement protection from accidental impact for appliances located in the garage;
  • Requirement to install of arc-fault circuit interrupters;
  • Requirement to install tamper-resistant receptacles; and
  • Requirement for ducted returns.

On December 13, 2018 the year-long rule adoption process will begin for 2019. See the Flow-Chart of the process below if it passes, then in January of 2020 the new code would take effect.

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For more detailed information you can contact Carlie J. Hopper:
Carlie J. Hopper / Governmental Affairs Director Indiana Builders Association
101 W. Ohio Street / Suite 710, Indianapolis, IN 46204
800-377-6334 x 206 / Fax: 844-272-4932 / Web:

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