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New building code specific to desert

Sept. 8, 2005

Phoenix officials have revised the city's building codes, and they plan to offer a seminar summarizing the changes later this month.

Bob Goodhue, deputy development services director for the city, works closely with home builders and construction companies and says the changes fall into three key areas:

Phoenix has adopted the International Energy Conservation Code. The city never enforced an energy code before but adopted a version of the international standards that addresses desert environment. advertisement

"We will be reviewing to ensure the minimum insulation values, energy-efficient windows and allowable window areas are going to be installed in all buildings," Goodhue said.

Phoenix has adopted swimming-pool entrapment standards. Suction from pool pumps has trapped people underwater, causing drownings, Goodhue said. The standards will regulate placement of suction grates and power of the suction.

New-home construction codes are now in a separate codebook. This change simplifies compliance for builders.

Most of what is reflected in the revisions is in practice among home builders, who are competing for sales. The builders and industry groups helped the city devise the updated code.

The changes will be explained in a seminar Sept. 21 at Phoenix Civic Plaza. For information, call (602) 534-6333. The session costs $75 per person.

Goodhue explained that a building code reflects only the minimum standards for home construction, governing everything from the electrical and plumbing systems to materials used. A state agency, the Registrar of Contractors, steps in when there is shoddy workmanship.

"We look at a properly functioning house," Goodhue said.

Many of the adjustments in the Phoenix code, which is based on international standards, have to do with the climate.

Goodhue said that the heat and dry air of Phoenix can have an effect on wood used in houses, requiring regulators to govern how the pieces of a house are put together.
Reproduced with permission from:
The Arizona Republic
By Michael Clancy
Copyright 2005 Arizona Republic

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