Building department moves toward codes upgrade | SteamboatToday.com

Building department moves toward codes upgrade

Suzie Romig/Yampa Valley Sustainability Council for the Steamboat Today

Construction worker Jordan Register works on the Ski View apartment complex in 2014.

— Routt County Regional Building Official Ben Grush said in summer 2015 that his department would soon decide whether to move toward adoption of the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code.

That inspired the nonprofit Yampa Valley Sustainability Council to offer its assistance with community outreach and education, which has been ongoing since December to support the busy building department staff. Colorado Code Consultants, whose staff conducted Routt County trainings on the topic in March and October, said the move to 2015 codes from the currently used 2009 codes would boost energy efficiency in new buildings by 17 percent.

YVSC has assisted with research, workshops and funding resources, and the next free workshop in the building codes training series is "Blower Door Testing and Keys to Success for 2015 Codes" set for 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday Oct. 20. The class will be taught by LEED accredited professional and energy rater Megan Gilman. RSVP online at yvsc.org/calendar.

"We were able to connect the building department with the Colorado Energy Office for funding for countywide trainings, and we invited partners and secured funding for training for specific requested topics including building envelopes, ventilation systems and blower door testing," said YVSC Executive Director Sarah Jones, who supervises the nonprofit's longstanding Green Building program and newer energy efficiency programs.

Grush has long encouraged the local construction community to "do more than the minimum" code requirement that is currently seven years old. The International Code Council publishes revised building codes every three years with the intent of incorporating new building technology, addressing emerging concerns with existing codes and deleting obsolete sections, Grush explained.

"The building department is anxious to provide the best available building codes and code enforcement," said Grush, who oversees building plan reviews and inspections for the City of Steamboat Springs, towns of Oak Creek and Yampa, and unincorporated Routt County. "Providing for the health, safety and welfare of residents and visitors to Routt County is consistent with the building department's mission statement. Since it has been four years since our last code adoption that went into effect Jan. 1, 2013, I believe the time has come to move forward."

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A volunteer working group of local construction professionals has met monthly with Grush since December to provide input. Handouts from the multiple local codes trainings hosted previously this year are available under the Past Events section on the YVSC Green Building webpage at yvsc.org/programs/green-building.

Significant code change information is available on the county webpage co.routt.co.us/DocumentCenter/Index/776 and through the International Code Council at iccsafe.org. Building codes for 2015 are available to view free online at codes.iccsafe.org/I-codes.html.