The Placer County Building Department wants to make sure local homebuilders know to expect changes in building code requirements beginning Jan. 1.
The reason: Placer County, other counties and cities throughout California will switch from the Uniform Building Code to the International Building Code in 2008. California and Hawaii currently are the only states that abide by the UBC.
On Tuesday, Nov. 27, the Placer County Building Department will hold an informational workshop to go over the changes that will go into effect next year and to answer any questions.
The meeting will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Planning Commission hearing room at the headquarters of the county Community Development Resource Agency, 3091 County Center Drive. The headquarters building is at the DeWitt Center in North Auburn near the intersection of Bell Road and Richardson Drive.
Placer County Chief Building Official Bob Martino said the main focus of the workshop will be on the construction of single-family homes, duplexes and home-remodeling projects.
On Nov. 6, the Placer County Board of Supervisors adopted the latest California Building Code, which is based on the International Building Code. The code adopted by the board includes some local amendments based on the county’s climate, geography and topography.
Martino and his department have mounted an outreach campaign to make sure the local construction industry knows about the building code changes, talking to such groups as the Placer County Contractors Association and Contractors Association of Tahoe Truckee. The department also held two meetings with engineers in the North Lake Tahoe area to discuss changes in snow-load design.
“The International Building Code is consistent with the old code in many ways. It is more restrictive in some situations, and less restrictive in others,” Martino said.
“We want to make sure homebuilders know what has changed before the new rules take effect. Otherwise, builders may follow the old rules, and our building inspectors will have no choice but to require changes to comply with the new rules. That’s frustrating for everyone, so we want to avoid those situations as much as possible.”
Placer County’s new building code rules will apply to construction projects in unincorporated areas that file building permit applications after Jan. 1.
Most commercial developers and large homebuilders likely have heard about the switch through industry groups or contacts with architects, engineers and others who keep close tabs on changes in the construction industry.
Martino is particularly concerned about getting the word out to small builders and property owners who plan to have homes built for them, because they may not have heard about the new building code.
Three of the most significant changes that affect single-family houses involve the separation between garages and dwellings, exterior wall protection and stair construction.
For more information, call the Placer County Building Department at 530-745-3010.