The International Code Council (ICC) will soon publish the 2021 edition of the International Residential Code® (IRC®), and many states and jurisdictions will begin considering plans next year to adopt or upgrade to the latest IRC and other I-Codes.
The 2021 IRC includes many changes to structural, fire, egress and energy efficiency requirements. Key significant changes include:
- Revised footing size tables with more reasonable footing widths for typical homes.
- Three-foot wide path between fenced yards leading to a public way allowed for emergency escape and rescue.
- Wind-borne debris protection requirements in hurricane-prone regions expanded to sites adjacent to large inland lakes and rivers.
- Required wall insulation in Climate Zones 4 and 5 increased to R5 continuous plus R20 cavity insulation.
- Required attic insulation in Climate Zones 4 through 8 increased to R60.
Like other ICC “model” codes, the IRC is designed to be amended by state or local jurisdictions to account for local considerations, such as geography, climate and local practices.
NAHB is developing a Code Adoption Toolkit for the 2021 IRC and other 2021 I-Codes that will be available early in 2021. The Toolkit will include lists of significant changes, estimated cost impacts of those changes, and suggested amendments for both single-family builders and multifamily developers that may improve the model codes adopted in your jurisdiction.
Questions on the particulars? Call 800-368-5242 and reach the NAHB Construction, Codes and Standards staff on the following extensions:
- Craig Drumheller, Assistant Vice President, x8565
- Vladimir Kochkin, Director: Energy and Green, x8574
- Gary Ehrlich, Director: Structural, Resilience, x8545
- Dan Buuck, Senior Program Manager: Plumbing, Mechanical, Electrical and Fire Suppression/Detection, x8366
- Cesar Lujan, Program Manager: Accessibility, Egress and Fire-resistant Construction, x8303