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HB2089 HD1 calls for better timeline of code adoption

The following testimony was submitted by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii for consideration by the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce on Feb. 27, 2024.
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Feb. 27, 2024, 2:30 p.m.
Hawaii State Capitol
Conference Room 329 and Videoconference

To: House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce
      Rep. Mark Nakashima, Chair
      Rep. Jackson Sayama, Vice-Chair

From: Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
           Ted Kefalas, Director of Strategic Campaigns

RE: COMMENTS IN SUPPORT OF HB2089 HD1 — RELATING TO THE STATE BUILDING CODE

Aloha Chair Nakashima, Vice-Chair Sayama and members of the Committee,

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii would like to offer its support for HB2089 HD1, which would mandate the State Building Code Council adopt the International Building Code (IBC) and the International Residential Code (IRC) within two years of every other edition of said codes.

State law currently requires the State Building Code Council to adopt every edition of the International Building Code and various related codes within two years of their release.

These codes are typically updated by the International Code Council every three years. For example, its 2024 code was released in December 2023 as an update of the 2021 code.[1]

The counties, meanwhile, must adopt their own level amendments to the IBC after every state update.

However, the state and counties often struggle to adopt and amend the IBC within a reasonable time frame. For example, it was only in April 2021 that the State Building Code Council adopted the 2018 IBC[2] and it was early 2023 when Honolulu fully adopted its amendments to the 2018 IBC.[3]

Because of this staggered adoption process, county building officials and architects must constantly re-learn the building code’s requirements. The almost-constant nature of the building code updates also taxes already understaffed county planning and permitting departments.

Allowing the State Building Code Council to skip every other cycle for the IBC and the IRC would provide a level of certainty for builders and agencies and save the State Building Code Council and counties time from having to update the codes so often.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify.

Ted Kefalas
Director of Strategic Campaigns
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
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[1]The International Code Council Releases 2024 International Codes®,” International Code Council, Dec. 5, 2023.
[2]State Building Code Adoption,” State Building Code Council, April 20, 2021, p. 1.
[3]Interim Building Code (2018 IBC) Takes Effect,” Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting, April 20, 2023.

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