Springfield, MO

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Council adopts building code revamp

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Springfield City Council last night passed a residential building code overhaul, with two council members in opposition.

The approved measure — with a 7-2 vote — repeals Springfield’s residential building code in its entirety. In its place, the city now will move to adopt the 2018 International Building Code, as published by International Code Council Inc. Energy conservation is a key factor in the changes, as well as soil and wind capacities.

Councilman Craig Hosmer, who with Councilman Mike Schilling opposed the ordinance, said the overhaul is a “a step back” and a “reduction in efficiencies.”

“We talk a lot about moving Springfield forward,” Hosmer said. “This doesn’t move Springfield forward at all. It moves us backwards.

“Anybody who looks at this 10 years from now, 15 years from now is going to say Springfield made the wrong decision.”

Hosmer expressed concerns about higher utility bills for homeowners and renters due to the building code change that would reduce insulation requirements for home builders.

He pointed to decreased R-values, or the measurement of resistance to the flow of heat through a material, as a move in the wrong direction. The code change reduces required R-values for ceilings, wood frames, slabs, basement walls and crawl spaces.

Building Development Services Director Harlan Hill said while the current code does have R-value requirements, it does not include a provision for a required inspection of R-values by department staff.

“BDS was not being called out at appropriate phases to verify and confirm that all structures were being constructed per our current code,” Hill told council. “Not all builders were necessarily in compliance with our current code.”

Hill said under the current code, BDS staff inspects the foundation and framework and then are called back to inspect the final product.

“The in-between construction phases we don’t see … so we cannot validate whether it’s insulated properly, sealed properly, all of those energy aspects,” he said.

The city code council approved last night, in part, establishes an inspection for the sealing and insulation of homes.


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