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Code Alert: Alabama, 16 April 2012

The Alabama Energy and Residential Codes Board voted to adopt the 2009 International Residential Code (IRC) for new-home construction and the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for commercial construction. With this adoption new homes built in Alabama will become safer and finally conform to a statewide, nationally recognized standard.

Effective October 1, 2012, these new codes will be in effect and represent the first time the State of Alabama ever had a statewide code standard. It is important to note that a few municipalities have already moved forward and adopted the 2012 International Residential Code and the 2011 National Electrical Code.

Alabama is adopting the 2009 IRC with some amendments to its energy section. For example, compliance with the national standard for producing a certificate stating the insulation R-values, U-factors, and the solar heat-gain coefficients (SGHC) for windows remains voluntary in Alabama. The state deleted the requirement for the installation of programmable thermostats as well as requirements for insulation for slab-on-grade floors and to protect exposed foundations. It also moved up the requirements for R-8 duct insulation and testing for duct leakage to July 1, 2013.

The State of Alabama will allow county and local governments to amend specific provisions within the code where local conditions may warrant. However, the state is against any mandatory fire-sprinkler installation standard for one- and two story homes. This was one area that made the passage of the 2009 IRC so very controversial in many states.

The Alabama Energy and Residential Code Board is made of 17 representatives from construction firms, trade groups, associations, utilities, licensing boards, municipal building departments, and legislators. The states governors office appointed 15 board members, and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs provided consultation on portions of the codes related to energy efficiency.

Contact: Paul W. Abernathy, Paul.Abernathy@NEMA.org


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