The following information deals with changes from the 2012 International Residential Code to the 2015 International Residential Code.
The 2015 International Residential Code (R403.1.6) now requires anchor bolts to be located within the middle third of the width of the plate. Additionally, this section of the 2012 IRC contained three exceptions for the foundation anchorage. The 2015 code only contains two exceptions, as the exception for equivalent anchorage to anchor bolts has been moved into the main body of the text. The new language allows for approved anchors or anchor straps.
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The International Residential Code (R311.2) requires every home to have a minimum of one egress door. The egress door must be at least 32 inches wide and no less than 72 inches in height. Additionally, the door must be side hinged and be able to be opened from the inside without a key, special knowledge or effort.
The requirements listed above eliminate the use of other types of doors used for primary egress. Other non- approved egress doors may include; sliding, roll up, pocket and garage doors. It is important to note that the egress door requirement is only applicable to the designated egress door, and does not apply to other doors within the home. Lastly, the building code prohibits the primary path of egress through the garage.
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The International Residential Code (P2903.4.2) requires the installation of an expansion tank on a hot water tank where thermal expansion may cause an increase in pressure. The tank is only required when the water supply system incorporates a backflow prevention device, check valve or similar device. Similar language can be found in the Uniform Plumbing Code under section 608.3.
Select the links below for more information on expansion tanks.
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The International Residential Code (R802.11.1.2) requires a connection between roof trusses and the supporting wall assembly. The connection is intended to resist uplift forces as specified on the truss design drawings (802.10.1). There are several products designed to perform this function which include; brackets, ties and lag screws.
For more information click on the links below.
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The International Residential Code (R302.12) requires a draft stop in combustible construction when there is a concealed space between floors. This condition is often found in homes that utilize a floor/ceiling girder truss system in lieu of solid lumber joists. The draft stop must be installed as to equally divide the concealed space as much as possible. Draftstopping materials may include; a minimum of half inch gypsum, three-eighth inch wood structural panels, or any other materials approved by the local jurisdiction.
The difference between draftstopping and fireblocking can be found in the definitions, and in section R302.11 Fireblocking. While draftstopping is intended to restrict the movement of air in a concealed location, fireblocking is intended to resist the passage of flame in both vertical and horizontal assemblies.
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The International Residential Code (P2803.6.1) provides thirteen requirements for the water heater TPR discharge pipe.
1. Cannot be directly connected to the drainage system
2. Must discharge through an air gap
3. Must not be smaller than the diameter of the TPR outlet
4. Cannot serve multiple valves
5. Must discharge to the floor, water heater pan, waster receptor or outdoors
6. Discharge as to not cause personal injury or structural damage
7. Discharge to a point that is readily observable
8. No traps are allowed
9. Must flow by gravity
10. Minimum termination height of 6 inches above the floor or waste receptor
11. No threaded connection at the end of the pipe
12. No valves or fittings
13. Must be constructed of materials referenced in P2904.5* or tested, rated and approved in accordance with ASME A112.4.1
The Uniform Plumbing Code also has established requirements for the TPR drain. This information can be found in section 608.5 of the 2012 edition. Some areas that differ slightly include; language disallowing drains to terminate in the crawl space, minimum and maximum drain termination heights, and the requirement to terminate the discharge outdoors.
*Possible typographical error in the 2012 IRC. See P2905.5.
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The International Residential Code (N1102.2.4) requires insulation at all hatches and doors that separate conditioned and non-conditioned spaces. These locations are typically found at openings to the crawl space and attic. The insulation R-value must be equivalent to the insulation used in the surrounding area. The openings must also be weatherstripped.
The Washington State energy code has similar language in section R402.2.4.
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There maybe several locations in a home that require safety glazing. The residential code has at least seven specific instances where safety glazing must be installed due to the configuration of the surrounding construction.
Section R308.4.3 addresses glazing located in windows and the four conditions which must be present before requiring the use of safety glass. The first condition addresses the overall size of the glass and specifies the pane must be greater than 9 square feet. The next two conditions deal with height above the floor or walking surface. Safety glass will be required when the bottom edge of the glass is less than 18 inches above the walking surface, and the top edge is more than 36 inches above the walking surface. The last of the four items address the horizontal distance of the glass to the walking surface. When the glass is within 36 inches of a walking surface, it is required to be safety glass.
Again, I would like to emphasize that all four of the above conditions must be present in order for safety glass to be required under this section of the code. There are also a few exceptions to this code, which include the use of decorative glazing, safety rails, and multi-insulated window panels.
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The International Residential code (R311.7.9) requires the illumination of both indoor and outdoor stairs, and refers the reader to (R303.7)*. This section of the code requires an artificial light source in the immediate vicinity of a landing or stairway.
The artificial light source must be able to provide a minimum of 1 foot candle power (11 lux), measured at the center of treads and landings.
The code (R303.7.1) also requires the installation of a wall switch at each level of interior stairs. This section of the code only applies to stairs with six or more risers, and is also not required when lights are on continuously or automatically controlled.
* The code actually references section R303.6, but this is clearly a typographical error.
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The International Residential Code (N1220.127.116.11) requires certain elements in the building thermal envelope to be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions and Table N118.104.22.168. There are a total of sixteen specific building components listed in Table N1102.4.1, each with a corresponding set of criteria for how the items must be installed.
The thirteenth item in the list is labeled, Shower / tub on exterior wall. The corresponding installation criteria for this location calls for insulation in the wall cavity and an air barrier separating the tub / shower from the wall. I would like to point out that the code calls for an air barrier at this location and not a vapor barrier. This difference in terms often confuses both installers and inspectors.
The definition of an air barrier can be found in the beginning of the energy chapter; “Material(s) assembled and joined together to provide a barrier to air leakage through the building envelope. An air barrier may be a single material or a combination of materials.” There is no definition of a vapor barrier in the energy chapter, however; the definitions for vapor permeable and vapor retarder class can be found in Chapter two.
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The International Residential Code (G2417.1) requires installation of gas piping to be visually inspected and pressure tested to ensure materials, design and fabrication meet code requirements. The code (G2415.19) also requires the testing of all gas piping before it is put into service.
The test medium (G2417.2) must be either air, nitrogen, carbon monoxide or an inert gas. Air cannot be used as the test medium. The test pressure (G2417.4.1) must not be less than 1.5 times the proposed maximum working pressure, and never less than 3 psig.
The test pressure measurement (G2417.4) can be taken with a mechanical gauge, however; the highest reading on the gauge’s scale cannot exceed five times the test pressure.
So what pressure is natural gas delivered to most homes? The local gas company in my area delivers gas at 6 inches of water column, which is approximately 0.25 pounds per square inch. Multi-family, commercial and industrial customer’s pressure may range from 2 psi to 5 psi.
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The International Residential Code (P2713.3) addresses the potential for scalding hazards at bathtubs. This section requires the use of a temperature limiting valve, which limits hot water to a temperature of 120 degrees at the faucet. The valve must conform to ASSE 1070 or CSA B125.3.
The tempering valve can be located near the bathtub faucet, and is often found in a nearby cabinet under a sink fixture. The valve can also be placed near the hot water source, but placement at this location will temper the hot water at all fixtures including the dishwasher, which may be undesirable to some homeowners.
This tempering valve is not required if the tub is a combination shower / tub unit served by a combination pressure balance and thermostatic mixing valve (P2708.3) with an ASSE 1016 designation. Additionally, the International Plumbing code (P607.1) does not allow for water to be tempered at the heat source.
For more information on ASSE 1016, ASSE 1070 and scald prevention, click HERE.
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The International Residential Code (M1506.2) requires exhaust openings to terminate a minimum distance of three feet from any operable or non-operable opening. These types of openings may include; windows, doors, vents, etc. The code (R303.5.2) also does not allow the exhaust air to be directed onto adjacent walkways.
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The International Residential Code (M1403.2) requires heating and cooling equipment to be set on a support or foundation. The foundation must be raised at least 3” above the ground.
A second reference to ground clearance and support (M1305.1.4.1) can be found in the under floor section of the mechanical code. This section requires equipment and appliances to be supported on a level concrete slab or other approved material. The slab must extend a minimum of 3” above the surrounding ground.
A third reference with similar language to ground clearance and support (G2408.4) can be found in the gas chapter of the code.
All of the examples above reference the use of a support or foundation under the appliance. The code (M1401.4) requires that these supports or foundations must prevent excessive vibration, settlement or movement.
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The International Residential Code (R322.214.171.124) sets requirements for size and shape of handrails. These requirements are especially important because of the potential for falls associated with stairs. According to the National Safety Council, falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the United States.
Stair handrails must be configured in a way that provides a graspable and continuous surface along the entire length of the stair. To accomplish this, the code divides railings into either a type 1 or type 2 category based on size and configuration.
A type 1 handrail may be circular or non-circular, however the diameter size may not exceed 2 inches for circular shapes, and 6.25 inches for non-circular shapes. Type 2 handrails are different from type 1 in that there is no maximum diameter size. The additional allowance for size requires graspable finger recesses on both sides of the rail.
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