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Codes and regulations

Jun 13, 2019

News about Building Regulations and Standards

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As practicing professionals, you are fully aware of the importance of building codes in the work you do.

I am writing to inform you of a crucial vote taken at the June 12, 2019 Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) meeting.

For those that may not be aware, the BBRS is responsible for the promulgation of our states building code, and for more than a year they have been working to prepare the next edition of our states building code, the 10th edition, for promulgation.

At yesterday’s meeting, and at the request of the Baker Administration, the BBRS agreed to table all current discussions and BBRS Advisory Committee work related to the proposed 10th edition.

To date, all previous work was based on amending the International Code Councils (ICC) 2018 base residential and commercial codes.

It was anticipated that the 10th edition would go into effect sometime in the Spring of 2020.

With yesterday’s vote, the Baker Administration and the BBRS agreed to the following goals:

  1. The 10th edition is to be based on ICC’s 2021 base residential and commercial codes
  2. The effective date for the 10th edition should be January 1, 2021
  3. Massachusetts will adopt new building codes on a three-year cycle that mirrors ICC’s code development process

In deliberating this change, a variety of positive outcomes were identified.

Board members noted that the current 9th edition is based on ICC’s 2015 model codes, that Massachusetts is typically 3-6 years behind ICC’s code development cycle, and that by agreeing to adopt the 2021 model codes - Massachusetts would finally be in a position of implementing the latest version of national model building codes.

Dottie Harris, ICC’s Vice President of Government Relations, agreed to provide the BBRS with copies of the 2021 base residential and commercial codes as soon as they become available, which is expected by December of this year.

Once received, the BBRS will instruct their Advisory Committees to begin their review work (a full listing of the Advisory Committees is noted below).

Of specific note, the BBRS instructed their Energy Advisory Committee to include as part of their review and recommendations ways in which to incorporate net-zero energy provisions into the energy code.

While it is unfortunate that the work done to date by the BBRS and their Advisory Committees will now be shelved, the Boards decision is a positive step toward ensuring Massachusetts is constructing it’s built environment using the most current standards and practices, while also incorporating clear paths toward net-zero construction.

Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.

John Nunnari
Executive Director, AIA Massachusetts

BBRS Advisory Committees:

  • Amusement Advisory Board
  • Building Code Advisory Committee (formerly named Existing Buildings Advisory Committee or Chapter 34 Committee)
  • Cannabis Study Group
  • Construction Supervisor License (CSL) Exam Transition
  • Convention Center Fire Protection
  • Energy Advisory Committee
  • Fire Protection / Fire Prevention Committee
  • Geotechnical Advisory Committee
  • LNG Storage Facility Standards
  • Manufactured Buildings Study Group
  • Prescriptive Standards for Low-risk Rooftop Solar Installations
  • Structural Advisory Committee