Meeting Geographical and Site Specific Requirements
These plans, and associated documents have been prepared to comply with the latest adopted base code version of the International Residential Code (IRC). Typically, states adopt the base code with their own adjustments. For example, the State of Oregon regulates residential construction under the Oregon Residential Specialty Code, which is based upon the IRC, with specific adjustments to meet unique requirements within Oregon.
Each state’s unique requirements vary – many related to climate or seismic conditions within the state. These plans comply with base codes for fire/life/safety requirements. Additional structural sheets are available to address wind/seismic requirements of the states of Oregon and Washington. For other states, or countries, it will likely be necessary to work with an engineer to comply with the structural requirements of the location.
Many jurisdictions also impose energy efficiency requirements that are unique to the climate. In such cases, additional drawings, details, calculations and worksheets may be necessary in order to obtain a permit. Often the general contractor, working with HVAC and/or insulation sub-contractors, will be able to meet the compliance requirements.
Each state in the US adopts a building code as their base code. Over the years, there have been several national code standards for states to choose from, but now the International Residential Code has become very widely accepted as the standard base code. For this reason, we choose to follow the IRC in developing our plans. Unfortunately, each state can modify the base code with their own state adopted amendments, and may choose not to adopt certain sections of the base code. Energy requirements are a common section that is heavily modified or replaced by a different model code, by each state.
So, meeting the myriad of national, state and local codes can be a challenge. These plans will likely require additional information before being ready to submit for permits. A great place to start is with your local building department, where you will be obtaining your building permits and inspections. Most building departments will have a website, brochures or handouts which describe the submittal requirements that will need to be met. In a few states, all plans must be created or reviewed by a design professional – such as an engineer or architect – who is licensed in that state.
It is wise to allocate additional coordination time, and budget, to meet these requirements. Our staff knows to never promise that our plans, without modification, will meet every requirement of every jurisdiction in the country. The reality is that additional information is likely to be required, and we may not meet the qualification requirements (state licensing, etc.) to address those cases for the customer. We do offer follow-up support, via telephone and email, to address as many code-related issues as we can.