New DC Construction Codes Take Effect

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Already on the forefront of green building innovation, the District of Columbia has adopted a new set of construction codes that, most notably, includes advanced energy and green construction regulations. On March 26, 2014, Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced that the 2013 D.C. Construction Codes would replace the 2008 version, effective March 28, 2014. The majority of the 2014 Construction Codes are based on the International Code Council’s (ICC) 2012 model codes.

In general, the DC Construction Codes set forth the minimum acceptable level of safety for buildings and non-building structures, as well as property maintenance regulations. The major changes to be aware of in 2014 are the adoption of the 2013 DC Energy Conservation Code — which replaces the DC Energy Conservation Code Supplement of 2008—and the brand new 2013 DC Green Construction Code. Both Codes are mandatory and apply to public and private sector buildings. The Codes are aimed at creating a greener and healthier environment in DC. According to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, by adopting these codes, “the District has achieved a national leadership role in fostering green-building practices.”

The 2013 Energy Conservation Code, based on the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code, is intended to “regulate the design and construction of buildings for the effective use and conservation of energy over the useful life of each building.” Its regulations apply to residential and commercial buildings, the building sites, and associated systems and equipment. The Energy Code provides standards for energy conservation, while leaving room for innovative approaches and techniques for compliance.

The new Green Construction Code, based on the 2012 International Green Construction Code, generally applies to the construction, addition, alteration, relocation, razing, and demolition of every building or structure and appurtenances connected or attached to such buildings or structures and to the site on which the building is located. The adoption of this new code section extends the requirements of the DC Green Building Act of 2006 to most construction projects.

While the new green initiatives are garnering the most attention, contractors and property managers should be aware of the many other changes to the DC Construction Codes. The following is a list summarizing the changes to Title 12 (D.C. Construction Codes Supplement of 2008) of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations:

  • The title of Title 12 is renamed as the District of Columbia Construction Codes Supplement of 2013.
  • Subtitle 12-A (Building Code Supplement of 2008) is repealed in its entirety and replaced with a new Building Code Supplement of 2013.
  • Subtitle 12-B (Residential Code Supplement of 2008) is repealed in its entirety and replaced with a new Residential Code Supplement of 2013.
  • Subtitle 12-C (Electrical Code Supplement of 2008) is repealed in its entirety and replaced with a new Electrical Code Supplement of 2013.
  • Subtitle 12 D (Fuel Gas Code Supplement of 2008) is repealed in its entirety and replaced with a new Fuel Gas Code Supplement of 2013.
  • Subtitle 12-E (Mechanical Code Supplement of 2008) is repealed in its entirety and replaced with a new Mechanical Code Supplement of 2013.
  • Subtitle 12-F (Plumbing Code Supplement of 2008) is repealed in its entirety and replaced with a new Plumbing Code Supplement of 2013.
  • Subtitle 12-G (Property Maintenance Code Supplement of 2008) is repealed in its entirety and replaced with a new Property Maintenance Code Supplement of 2013.
  • Subtitle 12-H (Fire Code Supplement of 2008) is repealed in its entirety and replaced with a new Fire Code Supplement of 2013.
  • Subtitle 12-I (Energy Conservation Code Supplement of 2008) is repealed in its entirety and replaced with a new Energy Conservation Code Supplement of 2013.
  • Subtitle 12-J (Existing Building Supplement of 2008) is repealed in its entirety and replaced with a new Existing Building Code Supplement of 2013.
  • Subtitle 12-K (Fees) is redesignated as Subtitle M (Fees).
  • A new Subtitle 12-K (Green Construction Code Supplement of 2013) is added.
  • A new Subtitle 12-L (Swimming Pool and Spa Code Supplement of 2013) is added.

Although they are the most extensive, the DC Construction Codes are not the only requirements governing construction and property maintenance. Some of these other regulations include zoning regulations and housing and business licensing requirements. Contractors and property owners should be careful to ensure that they are in compliance with all the necessary regulations and local laws.

For more information on the new DC Construction Codes please refer to the Notice of Final Rulemaking which provides details about the new regulations: http://dcra.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/dcra/publication/attachments/DCMR%2012_ConstructionCodes_2013.pdf

Topics:  Building Standards, Construction Contracts, Green Buildings

Published In: Construction Updates, Energy & Utilities Updates, Environmental Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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