Georgia adopts building codes and their amendments on a state-wide basis. Three groups have just finished amendments for the commercial building code, residential building code and two code appendicies for disaster resilience. Here’s a short synopsis of the results…
Georgia’s Department of Community Affairs (DCA) is responsible for establishing and administering the building codes in Georgia. For many years, its used a State Codes Advisory Committee (SCAC) of seventeen members appointed from various construction-related trades in Georgia to adopt and amend the building codes. Our own Ryan Taylor represents the architects of Georgia on the SCAC.
Georgia currently uses the 2006 versions of the International Building Code (IBC) for commercial projects and the International Residential Code (IRC). A subcommittee of the SCAC meets each year to review proposed amendments to the building codes. These amendments allow Georgia to make adjustments to the codes to account for local conditions. Georgia has issued amendments to the building codes each year since they were adopted. You can find the adopted codes here.
Georgia is preparing to move from the 2006 to the 2012 versions of the codes so the SCAC created a separate task force for each building code (IBC and IRC) to review each entire code and propose local amendments as necessary. The SCAC also created a task force to create a disaster resilient building code (DRBC) appendix for the IBC and IRC.
The DRBC appendices aren’t mandatory; they can be adopted by municipalities that have experienced or anticipate damage from natural disasters to strengthen the requirements of the building codes. The primary challenge of the additional protection provided by the DRBC appendices is the additional cost.
You can find the proposed amendments to the 2012 IBC, 2012 IRC and both DRBC appendices on the DCA’s web page for code amendments. Look for the most recent proposals at the top of the page and the adopted amendments further down the page. If these amendments and appendices are approved by the SCAC and the DCA Board, they will take effect on January 1st of 2014.
The work of each task force was completed by last week to give at least thirty days before the SCAC meeting where the amendments and appendices will be presented and subject to a vote of approval or rejection. The next SCAC meeting will be at 10am on the 26th of July at the DCA offices in Atlanta, GA.
We realize this is in the weeds for most people though we want you to have some sense of how the codes are developed so you’ll know how to participate, even if it’s just to mention a recurring issue. You’re welcome to send us your questions and comments!