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Building codes will bring regulations to rural areas

Construction in some areas of Chilton County will soon fall under building codes for the first time.

The Alabama Energy and Residential Codes Board voted recently to establish state-wide construction standards that will apply to rural counties like Chilton, which in the past has lacked such codes.

“The residential building code will ensure that every new home built in Alabama will be stronger and built to an internationally recognized standard,” Jim Byard Jr., Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs director, said in a news release. “The codes also will help homeowners and businesses save money on their utility bills by incorporating energy efficiency in the design and construction of homes and businesses.”

The energy efficiency requirements would mandate that new homes–and substantial renovations–include a certain level of insulation and double-paned windows, for example, among other requirements.

The Alabama Energy and Residential Codes Board, which was created by the state Legislature in 2010, based the building codes on the 2009 International Residential Code and the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code.

The codes will take effect Oct. 1.

Areas that already have building codes and building inspectors, such as Clanton, will work the new codes into their inspections.

In areas not serviced by a building inspector, such as Chilton County, the responsibility will fall to the builder or contractor to ensure construction meets the requirements.

“The Alabama Energy and Residential Codes Board was only authorized with adopting the statewide codes and has no authority with respect to enforcement,” said Karen Clifton with ADECA’s Energy Division. “Even though jurisdictions may have no designated inspection authority, the adoption of a code provides the building owner/homeowner with a legal foundation in instances of code violations.”

ADECA’s Energy Division has held presentations across the state to inform code officials, building inspectors, contractors, architects and other professionals involved in the building industry.