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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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11/5/2012 6:57:00 AM
County officials consider new building code
Supervisor Tom Thurman: “Some of those (fire codes) are pretty restrictive. When you’re up in the mountains on a cliffy lot, you can’t make those fire codes.”
Supervisor Tom Thurman: “Some of those (fire codes) are pretty restrictive. When you’re up in the mountains on a cliffy lot, you can’t make those fire codes.”
By Scott Orr
Contributing Reporter

PRESCOTT -- The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors is considering whether it should adopt the 2012 International Building Code, and if so, how it can minimize the burden on developers or home remodelers while maintaining safety standards.

There's a new Building Code issued every three years, but governments typically don't adopt the rules-which are contained in a 2-inch-thick book-every time they're issued. Yavapai County most recently adopted the 2006 version.

In Wednesday's joint meeting between the board and the Planning and Zoning Commission, they discussed the options available.

Most of the county's towns and cities are planning to go to the 2012 code sometime in 2013, said Jack Judd, county building official.

Last year, the board expressed reservations about adopting the code at all, with Supervisor Tom Thurman saying it would "kill construction" in the county, but this year, the discussion centered on how it could be made workable, primarily by cutting the new residential fire protection rules contained in the code.

"When you adopt a (new) code, it can be devastating," Judd said, but "I think we can adopt this in a realistic manner, in which we can accomplish some critical new items that are in the code." In fact, it includes some new cost-saving measures, he added.

Thurman, who has a construction background, remained skeptical about the regulations.

"Some of those (fire codes) are pretty restrictive," he said. "When you're up in the mountains on a cliffy lot, you can't make those fire codes."

Judd said Yavapai County has not put into effect a fire code, preferring instead to rely on individual fire districts to make those decisions.

Supervisor Carol Springer pointed out that enacting codes related to fire protection could also subject the county to liability issues.

Development Services Director Steve Mauk said the county has removed certain parts of the building code, notably those dealing with fire codes, in the past.

"I don't want to be in a position to adopt a code, just to adopt a code, only to find out it does funny things we didn't know it was going to do," Mauk said, so Judd will return to the board with a report on the major changes in the 2012 code and which he recommends should be omitted. The decision to adopt or not will be left for the new Board of Supervisors that will be seated in January.

Taylor Waste

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Article comment by: Bill Cowan

The only improvements that come from the adoption of the myriad and mindlessly complicated additional codes is the growth of government, the giant growth industry of writing codes and training less then competent individuals to enforce them, and the growth of the Nanny State.

Most codes these days are being written to include "installation according to the manufacturers specifications" and are being written by corporations with a decided conflict of interest - use as much of their product as they can possibly get you to waste. That and the well known inclination in government known as CYA. "Cover your A** and spend more money then we did last year.

If you want a good building - hire a good builder. Ask for references and personally take the time to go and look at some of his/her other work - don't expect the county or the state to do anything for you but increase the cost of your job.

Be responsible for yourself and your actions and take the time to support yourself and your community.

Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Article comment by: Susanna Thrussell

I guess there is nothing wrong with changing the codes if it is for the overall good of the community as well as the safety of the people around. This problem could be solved if there is some sort of agreement that will perhaps meet half way.

Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012
Article comment by: Tony Grahame

Having been in the construction field for over 40 years now, I've learned that most states don't require any continuing education for residential builders to maintain their contractor's license. As a result, adoption of new codes (particularily energy codes) has been their main impetus for changing how they construct houses. Builders that are passionate about their craft typically voluntarily stay current with what's new in building products, best building practices, energy efficiency, green building, etc... Adoption of energy codes force mediocre builder's to build more resource efiicient houses. Building more energy and water efficient, healthy, comfortable, durable houses is the future of the residential industry. Adopt the code with sensible amendments, and train the appraisers to appropriately appraise well built houses.

Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012
Article comment by: william gauslow

Hey : Tom Thurman is the comment : "kill construction" an exxageration or a generalized lie ?

How about my generalization : building codes are minimum building codes meant to save lives.

Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2012
Article comment by: KELLY REYNOLDS

The codes area MINIMUM as published. With the remoteness of your area, adopting the I-Codes (including Fire Code) are the least you can do to provide fire and life safety protection for your community.

Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Article comment by: GRETA SMALL

I feel that something this important should wait until after we have our new Supervisors in place.

Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Article comment by: Ken Levin

Having adjusted to much more numerous and more restrictive local building codes over 30 yrs.
I'm confident it will depress construction at a time when we can ill-afford same. Aside from CA we are already the most code and legally restricted area in the country. We were first founded with a government which was to serve the people now we serve the government.
(I've known Tom Thurman & his dad John for those years, also.)

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