WASHINGTON, DC — After participating in a multi-year effort to produce a single set of national model building codes aimed at ensuring public health and safety while preserving housing affordability, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is urging regulators not to adopt a competing code recently released by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), which NAHB says would impose new costs on home buyers.

The home builders association has recommended that its members and affiliated associations oppose adoption of NFPA 5000 in their state and local jurisdictions through a resolution adopted during its recent board of directors meeting.

“NFPA’s code will adversely impact housing affordability without any sort of demonstrated need or benefit to home buyers,” said Gary Garczynski, president of NAHB. “For example, NFPA 5000 mandates stair tread/riser requirements for all residential stairways that have been traditionally limited to commercial buildings. If adopted, these requirements will adversely impact our ability to construct affordable townhouses, the entry level housing in many areas.”

NAHB says that NFPA 5000, “Building Construction and Safety Code,” competes directly with codes developed by the International Codes Council (ICC). ICC was established in 1994 by three regional model code organizations to create a single coordinated set of national model building codes. NAHB endorsed the ICC concept and participated in code development.

The existence of two competing sets of national model building codes will result in substantial additional costs to builders, design professionals, and ultimately home buyers, says NAHB. For builders and designers who work in multiple jurisdictions, it will add the expense of learning two sets of code requirements and the potential for costly construction errors, the home builders say. Therefore, NAHB is urging NFPA to abandon code development and adoption efforts related to NFPA 5000 and instead to work with ICC to integrate the other NFPA codes and standards into the existing ICC family of codes.

Publication date: 10/14/2002