Code Briefs

The intent of Building America’s Code Compliance Briefs are to provide code-related information about Building America’s research, best practices, and new innovations to help ensure that the measures will be accepted as being in compliance with the code. Providing notes for code officials on how to plan review and conduct field inspections can help builders or remodelers with proposed designs and provide jurisdictional officials with information for acceptance. Providing the same information to all interested parties (e.g., code officials, builders, designers, etc.) is expected to result in increased compliance and fewer innovations being questioned at the time of plan review and/or field inspection.

Air sealing and insulating attic knee walls to code.

Publication Date: May, 2016

The intent of this brief is to provide code-specific information about air sealing and insulating common walls in multi-family buildings to help ensure that the measures will be accepted as being in compliance with the code. Providing the same information to all interested parties (e.g., code officials, builders, designers, etc.) is expected to result in increased compliance and fewer innovations being questioned at the time of plan review and/or field inspection.

This brief provides an overview of the 2009 through 2015 IRC/IECC code requirements related to air sealing and insulating attached garage walls.

If the bathroom fan is part of the whole-house mechanical ventilation system (WHMV), there are code provisions that should be verified during plan review and field inspection depending upon codes enforced in your jurisdiction.

Publication Date: May, 2016

The intent of this brief is to provide code-related information about buried ducts in vented attics to help ensure that the measure will be accepted as being in compliance with the code.  Providing notes for code officials on how to plan review and conduct field inspections can help provide jurisdictional officials with information for acceptance.  Providing the same information to all builders, designers, and others is expected to result in increased compliance and fewer innovations being questioned at the time of plan review and/or field inspection.

Guidance is needed for code-compliant installations of various cladding materials when installed over thicker foam sheathing also known as insulated sheathing or continuous insulation (c.i.).

Publication Date: May, 2017

The intent of this brief is to provide code-related information about controlling moisture in unvented attics by installing a vapor diffusion port/vent that would convey water vapor from an unvented attic to the outside when air-permeable insulation materials are installed and can be verified as being in compliance with the related codes and standards for residential construction.  Providing consistent information to document compliance with codes and standards to all relevant parties responsible for verifying compliance (e.g., code officials, builders, contractors, designers, etc.) is expected to result in increased compliance and more timely, less challenging and more uniform plan review and field inspections.

Publication Date: October, 2016

The intent of this brief is to provide information about Electrical Energy Storage Systems (EESS) to help ensure that what is proposed regarding the EES ‘product’ itself as well as its installation will be accepted as being in compliance with safety-related codes and standards for residential construction.  Providing consistent information to document compliance with codes and standards to all relevant parties responsible for verifying compliance with those codes and standards (e.g., code officials, builders, contractors, designers, utilities, fire officials, etc.) is expected to result in increased compliance and more timely, less challenging and more uniform plan review and field inspections.

Double stud wall wood framing is not specifically addressed in the International Residential Code (IRC) or International Energy Conservation Code (IECC); it is neither encouraged nor discouraged.  Recommendations of where the vapor retarder and air barrier should be placed, based on research and testing are further defined in this Code Compliance Brief.

The intent of this brief is to provide code-related information about ductless mini-split heat pumps to help ensure that the measure will be accepted as being in compliance with the code. 

Code compliance brief describing glazing requirements added to the residential portion of the IECC and the IRC in 2015.

This brief discusses the provisions in the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and International Residential Code (IRC) related to evaporative cooling.

The intent of this brief is to cover the new requirements for new wood-burning fireplaces regarding doors, dampers, and combustion air and proper ventilation.

New language in the 2015 IECC allows different installation of insulation in floors over unconditioned spaces.

The intent of this brief is to provide code-related information about gas-fired boilers to help ensure that the measure will be accepted as being in compliance with the code. Providing notes for code officials on how to plan reviews and conduct field inspections can help builders or remodelers design installations and prepare construction...

Applicable codes and standards regarding heat pump water heaters (HPWHs) that are an energy-efficient alternative to electric resistance water heaters.

Publication Date: October, 2016

The intent of this brief is to provide code-related information about heat recovery ventilation to help ensure that what is proposed regarding the heat recovery ventilator ‘product’ itself as well as ventilation measures can be verified as being in compliance with the code.  Providing consistent information to document compliance with codes and standards to all relevant parties responsible for verifying with those codes and standards (e.g., code officials, builders, contractors, designers, etc.) is expected to result in increased compliance and more timely, less challenging and more uniform plan review and field inspections.

Publication Date: October, 2016

The intent of this brief is to provide code-related information about photovoltaic systems to help ensure that what is proposed regarding the photovoltaic ‘product’ itself, including accessories such as inverters and controls, as well as their individual and collective installation can be verified as being in compliance with safety-related codes and standards for residential construction.  Providing consistent information to document compliance with codes and standards to all relevant parties responsible for verifying compliance with those codes and standards (e.g., code officials, builders, contractors, designers, utilities, fire officials, etc.) is expected to result in increased compliance and more timely, less challenging and more uniform plan review and field inspections.

The intent of this brief is to provide code-related information about insulated interior/exterior wall intersections to help ensure that the feature will be accepted as being in compliance with the code. Providing notes for code officials on how to plan reviews and conduct field inspections can help builders or remodelers with proposed...

The intent of this brief is to provide code-specific information about insulated headers to help ensure that the measure will be accepted as being in compliance with the code.

Publication Date: October, 2016

The intent of this brief is to provide code-related information about mechanical system piping insulation and service hot water systems to help ensure that what is proposed regarding insulating these systems  will be accepted as being in compliance with the code.  Providing consistent information to document compliance with codes and standards to all relevant parties responsible for verifying with those codes and standards (e.g., code officials, builders, contractors, designers, etc.) is expected to result in increased compliance and timely, less challenging, and more uniform plan review and field inspections.

The focus of this brief is on boiler efficiency, sizing requirements, controls, combustion air, and pipe insulation for the 2015 version of the IRC/IECC.

Code-related information about recessed lighting. 

An entirely new section in the 2015 IECC/IRC regarding fuel-burning appliances basically requires the appliance to be isolated from the building thermal envelope, located either outside or within a separate room if the fuel-burning appliance is supplied by open combustion air ducts. This brief provides an overview of the requirements and further details of approving the actual "room".

Publication Date: May, 2016

The intent of this brief is to provide code-related information about sealing and  insulating crawl space walls in existing residential buildings to help ensure that the measures will be accepted as being in compliance with the code.  Providing the same information to all interested parties (e.g., code officials, builders, contractors, designers, etc.) is expected to result in increased compliance and fewer innovations being questioned at the time of plan review and/or field inspection.

Publication Date: May, 2016

The intent of this brief is to provide code-related information about sealing and insulating existing walls in existing residential buildings to help ensure that the measures will be accepted as being in compliance with the code.  Providing notes for code officials on how to conduct plan reviews and field inspections can provide jurisdictional officials with information for acceptance.  Providing the same information to builders, contractors, designers, and others is expected to result in increased compliance and fewer innovations being questioned at the time of plan review and/or field inspection.

Publication Date: May, 2016

From a model code perspective, submittal of construction documentation, permitting, plan review, and field inspection may be required depending upon the specific details of renovating the floor above an unconditioned space (e.g., floor over a vented crawl space).  Several different approaches can be taken to seal and insulate existing floors during a renovation project. 

Publication Date: May, 2016

The intent of this brief is to provide code-related information about sealing and insulating existing vented attics to help ensure that the measure will be accepted as being in compliance with the code.  Providing the same information to all interested parties (e.g., code officials, builders, contractors, designers, etc.) is expected to result in increased compliance and fewer innovations being questioned at the time of plan review and/or field inspection.

Publication Date: October, 2016

The intent of this brief is to provide code-related information about properly sealing heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) register boots to help ensure that what is proposed regarding sealing the register boot will be accepted as being in compliance with the code.  Providing consistent information to document compliance with codes and standards to all relevant parties responsible for verifying with those codes and standards (e.g., code officials, builders, contractors, designers, etc.) is expected to result in increased compliance and more timely, less challenging and more uniform plan review and field inspections.

Publication Date: September, 2015

This brief provides an overview of slab-on-grade insulation requirements, insulation protection, and flashing.

Publication Date: September, 2015

The intent of this brief is to provide additional information to help assure the measure will be deemed in acceptance with the code. Providing notes for codes officials on how to plan review and field inspect can help the builder or remodeler with the proposed designs and provide the jurisdiction with information for acceptance. Providing...