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Join IFC and IBC public hearing

February 9, 2022

The International Fire Code (IFC) and International Building Code (IBC) have a public hearing Friday, Feb. 11 at 10 a.m. To sign up for oral testimony, please complete the Public Testimony Sign Up Sheet. To provide written testimony, please send your thoughts to by 5 p.m. on March 11.

International Fire Code & International Building Code

Section 903.3.1.2 (21-GP1-020) – Sprinkler Systems in Low-Rise Residential Buildings

BIAW supports Section 903.3.1.2. in an effort to preserve the affordability of residential buildings by ensuring the applicability of NFPA 13R systems are preserved. Lower density multi-family buildings otherwise would have been subjected to a full NFPA 13 system which would drastically increase the cost of construction. We commend this effort to keep housing affordability at the forefront of the code development conversation.

International Building Code

Section 429 – Electric vehicle charging infrastructure

IBC Technical Advisory Group removed the exception: “Meeting the requirements will alter the local utility infrastructure design on the utility side of the meter and will increase the utility side cost to the homeowner or the developer by more than $1,000 per dwelling unit.”

BIAW would like to see that exception added back to the code before official adoption by the State Building Code Council. The state is in a housing affordability and homelessness crisis with not just a shortage of more than 225,000 single-family homes but also 157,000 rental units available for extremely low-income renters.

According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, 68% of extremely low-income renter households are severely cost-burdened by housing costs (which include monthly utility payments). Even 19% of middle-income earners are cost-burdened. While it’s important to meet statutory mandates and prepare the state for the electric vehicle movement, we need to balance this need with unforeseen added costs to renters.

BIAW members that develop multi-family apartments have stated that utility upgrades can cost upwards of $20,000. If paid for by the developer, the cost is passed on in the form of larger rent premiums, while if paid by the utility, it’s passed on in the form of higher monthly utility bills. Any amount of relief would be appreciated by both developers and renters in this state.

If you have any questions about the IFC or IBC, please contact Building Codes and Policy Manager Andrea Smith at (360) 352-7800 ext. 114 or at

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