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Wed, Oct. 16

County officials mull new building code

PRESCOTT- The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors is considering whether it should adopt the 2012 International Building Code, and if so, how it can minimize the burden on developers or home remodelers while maintaining safety standards.

There's a new Building Code issued every three years, but governments typically don't adopt the rules-which are contained in a 2-inch-thick book-every time they're issued. Yavapai County most recently adopted the 2006 version.

In Wednesday's joint meeting between the board and the Planning and Zoning Commission, they discussed the options available.

Most of the county's towns and cities are planning to go to the 2012 code sometime in 2013, said Jack Judd, county building official.

Last year, the board expressed reservations about adopting the code at all, with Supervisor Tom Thurman saying it would "kill construction" in the county, but this year, the discussion centered on how it could be made workable, primarily by cutting the new residential fire protection rules contained in the code.

"When you adopt a (new) code, it can be devastating," Judd said, but "I think we can adopt this in a realistic manner, in which we can accomplish some critical new items that are in the code." In fact, it includes some new cost-saving measures, he added.

Thurman, who has a construction background, remained skeptical about the regulations.

"Some of those (fire codes) are pretty restrictive," he said. "When you're up in the mountains on a cliffy lot, you can't make those fire codes."

Judd said Yavapai County has not put into effect a fire code, preferring instead to rely on individual fire districts to make those decisions.

Supervisor Carol Springer pointed out that enacting codes related to fire protection could also subject the county to liability issues.

Development Services Director Steve Mauk said the county has removed certain parts of the building code, notably those dealing with fire codes, in the past.

"I don't want to be in a position to adopt a code, just to adopt a code, only to find out it does funny things we didn't know it was going to do," Mauk said, so Judd will return to the board with a report on the major changes in the 2012 code and which he recommends should be omitted. The decision to adopt or not will be left for the new Board of Supervisors that will be seated in January.

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