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Arapahoe County News

Posted on: March 23, 2022

County updates building codes to comply with international standards

A hand holds a pencil over a copy of construction building plans

Starting April 1, new Code and Design Criteria for residential and commercial buildings within unincorporated Arapahoe County will go into effect. 

The new code was approved by the Board of County Commissioners in November 2021 and replaces building guidelines that had been in place since 2015 and 2009. 

The new County guidelines follow the 2021 editions of the International Building Code, the International Residential Code, the International Plumbing Code, the International Mechanical Code, the International Fuel Gas Code, the International Existing Building Code, the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code and the International Energy Conservation Code.

Every three years, the International Code Council updates its comprehensive codes that regulate building, plumbing, electrical, mechanical and energy conservation. The ICC sets a standard for building safety and incorporates innovation and technology into its guidelines. “Homeowners are not going to see huge changes, but commercial contractors and new home builders will,” said Mitch Maulik, a County senior plans examiner, who was instrumental in working on the updates. 

Significant changes to the new code that will impact commercial and new home builders is the energy conservation regulations governing the design and construction of buildings for energy efficiency, Maulik said. The code outlines ways for new buildings to reduce energy consumption and costs through a myriad of options, which include a reduction of lighting power, heat efficiency and energy monitoring systems.

Another new change is that residential storage sheds, playhouses, shade structures and similar uses will no longer need a building permit if the floor area is not greater than 120 square feet and the structure will not be used for vehicle storage.

There is also a new section for fireplace installations dictating that new or used fireplaces must comply with requirements set by the State Air Quality Control Commission. During inspection, the fireplace must be certified by the commission and display an emission certification. 

Maulik said during the process to update the code, the Building department reached out to contractors and developers to ensure they were aware of the upcoming changes. The delay in enacting the new code was enacted to give these stakeholders time to transition to the new code. 

All information about the new Code and Design Criteria is available on our website.

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