On Tuesday March 11, the North Carolina Building Code Council voted 9-6 to institute a 6-year building code adoption cycle ditching our present 3-year cycle. The action included an exception for the National Electrical Code (NEC), which the Council agreed to keep on a 3-year track.

BCC Chairman, Dan Tingen explained during the meeting that the move will harmonize the Residential Code and the Commercial Codes since the Legislature enacted a 6-year rotation for the Residential regulations during last year’s legislative session. However, the Legislature also kept the NEC on the same 6-year cycle with the Residential Code setting up a potential clash with implementation of electrical code requirements.

DOI staff expressed their concern about industry education over such a long period without publishing a traditional code volume. They expressed their concern that design and construction professionals had lobbied against the old NC Code with “blue pages” during the passage of the IBC in 2001. They worried that this new adoption cycle would send us back to those days. Proponents of the switch on the Council reminisced about the blue pages and how going back wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Chairman Tingen stated that he has faith that with today’s technology, an on-line solution to keeping up with amendments during a 6-year period would be attainable. (Editors note here: has he ever tried to find anything on the DOI web site?)

None of the discussion among the Council members addressed the issues of interstate practice, federal government procurement, harmonization with ADA and safe harbor for designers, technology gaps, training inefficiencies and increased insurance rates for building owners. The Council also failed to explain with which version of the IBC they would begin the 6 year tolling period. No time table was discussed for a decision.