Last week the S.C. Building Codes Council met to review dozens of proposed changes to the International Series of building codes, including the International Residential Code, the building code that applies to one- and two-family dwellings in South Carolina.

Your Home Builders Association, working with your Home Builders Association of South Carolina, proposed several modifications, including one that would have removed Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters from the building code.

Below is a list of the top 10 significant changes and modifications to the 2018 IRC.  These changes, as well as dozens of others, will be presented to the General Assembly in January.  The effective date of the new building code is expected to be January 1, 2020.

  1. Sections 301.2 and 301.2.2.1-Wind & Seismic Maps. The HBA of SC supported a study to be funded by the S. C. General Assembly and produced by The Citadel to review and address the probabilistic hazard maps. This will ensure that houses in S. C. are built on the needs and hazards of our state. 
  2. Section 301.2.1.2 Protection of openings. This change replaces 2-story limit on use of wood structural panels for wind-borne debris protection with limit based on 45-foot mean roof height. 
  3. Section 302.1 Exterior Walls. This modification maintained the minimum fire separation distance for improvements constructed on a lot where the local governing authority has prior to the implementation of IRC 2012. 
  4. Section 302.5.1 Opening Protection. The existing modification was maintained to remove the use of a selfclosing device. 
  5. Section 313 One-and -Two Family Dwellings Automatic Fire Systems. This modification maintains that residential fire sprinklers continue to be an option, but are not mandated. 
  6. Section R318.1 Protection Against Subterranean Termites. This modification adds an additional method to allow treatments to be conducted under the S.C. Pesticide Control Act and enforced by the Clemson University Department of Pesticide Regulation. 
  7. Section R318.4 Foam Plastic Protection. This modification adds language to allow foam plastics to provide an inspection gap for crawlspace applications. 
  8. Section M1502.4.2 Duct Installation. Language would allow exhaust ducts to be supported at intervals not to exceed 8 feet and ducts will no longer be required to be joined with screws. 
  9. Appendix Q Tiny Houses. By adding Appendix Q builders will have more options and flexibility for small home construction. 
  10. Section E3902.16 Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter Protection. Language rolls back code to earlier version that would remove the use of AFCIs in kitchens and laundry rooms.

Be sure to thank these members, who have served on your HBA’s Building Codes Committee and have actively support the work of reviewing and modifying the new building code:

  • Matt Shouse, APB, Chairman
  • Mike Freeman, APB, member of the NAHB Building Codes and Standards Committee
  • Joe Hoover, APB
  • Matt Ruth, APB
  • Rick Quinn, APB
  • Steve Carson, APB
  • James Speer, APB
  • Lee Hornbeck, APB