Belle Alert – Code changes discussed at 12/7 Council meeting

December 7, 2007


Changes to the State wide International Building Code which apply State wide and must be applied by the Town become effective January 1, 2008. The Town has very limited ability to change the Code. To do so it must adopt findings having to do with geography, climate or topography. While there are many changes in the State Code that your architect and contractor need to be aware of, as far as we can tell, the only new local requirement is that there be sprinklers in manufactured homes. Watch video of this item on Mootube.

Effective, July 1, 2008, there is a new Chapter 7A which applies to new construction in “Wildland Urban Interface” areas although there is not yet a map to tell us exactly which areas are included. It will establish minimum standards for the protection of life and property by increasing the ability of a building to resist intrusion of flame and burning embers.

Protecting a building from wildfire takes a two-pronged approach:

1. Remove flammable materials from around the building
2. Construct the building of fire resistant material

The current law which requires that homeowners clear 30 feet and do fuel modification to 100 feet around their buildings to create a defensible space for firefighters to protect their homes will now also be extended to the perimeter of the lot. It also sounds as if there will be on going obligations to maintain the clearance imposed on new construction.

The Council will be holding a second meeting on this subject December 11th at 7:30 p.m (see attached agenda, item 7). If you are about to undertake a construction project the changes to the Code may impact you particularly with regard to the use of natural materials, including wood siding. Make sure you review the agenda (staff report item# 7) to see if you may be affected. The Town will have training sessions for architects and contractors, so keep a bulls-eye out for when these may take place.

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