What is the IRC and Why Should I Care?

Codes, they are a-changin,’ and the builder who stays on top of current codes is a wise person. One of the most important codes in the home building industry is the IRC, or the International Residential Code.

IRC compliant house

What is the IRC?

The IRC is quite comprehensive, and addresses building standards, energy conservation, plumbing standards, mechanical standards, gas provisions and electrical provisions for one- and two-family homes as well as town homes. This code seeks to offer the new home owner the highest protection of health, safety and welfare by utilizing innovative and cutting-edge technologies. In addition, best practices which have stood the test of time are also promoted.

Most states in the US have adopted some permutation of the IRC, but not all are using the most up-to-date version. For example, in Pennsylvania, the current International Residential Code effective statewide is the 2009 version, but in Texas, the statewide International Residential Code is the 2015 IRC, which is the most current. But whether your state mandates the most recent International Residential Code or not, if you are able to make the homes you build compliant to the most recent code, you are giving your homeowners a wonderful advantage in terms of energy efficiency and resale value.

What Does the IRC Mean to Builders?

An example of how using the most recent International Residential Code can benefit your customers is in the area of energy conversation standards. In the 2015 IRC, all new homes need to have testing for air-tightness for both the home itself and for the ductwork in the home. This test is achieved by testing with a blower door and measuring the amount of air that escapes the home. The blower door standard is an energy development which grew out researching why well-insulated homes still lost energy. If a significant leak is found, the builder has the opportunity to seal it. Having a house with the International Residential Code standard for air-tightness met will give your home-buyers significant energy cost savings – a great sales point!

How to Get a Copy of the Current IRC

The IRC is revised every three years to keep abreast of changing technology and construction advances. Some version of it has been adopted or in use in 49 of the US states. To get your own copy of the code, visit the International Residential Code website. At their site, you can also see which version of the International Residential Code has been adopted by your state.

After you’ve constructed an amazing, IRC-compliant home, don’t forget to get an American eBuilder warranty to give yourself and your buyers peace of mind about a job well-done!

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