2007-2008 Proposed Amendments to IPMC

Proposals Submitted in August 2007: In August 2007, NCHH joined with its sister organization, the Alliance for Healthy Homes (AFHH), to develop nine proposed amendments to the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) as part of the 2007/2008 code development process. The IPMC is essentially a model housing code that is designed to apply to both new and existing structures. The amendments are intended to strengthen the health and safety components of the code and to ensure that local officials have the authority to order repairs that will help to safeguard families from disease and injury.

Proposals Accepted in February 2008 by Committee:  In February 2008, NCHH and AFHH presented the proposals to the IPMC Committee. Two were accepted with modifications: pest control in multi-unit housing complexes and clothes dryers. The modified language follows:

308.4 Multiple occupancy. The owner of a structure containing two or more dwelling units, a multiple occupancy, a rooming house or a nonresidential structure shall be responsible for extermination in the public or shared areas of the structure and exterior property. If infestation is caused by failure of an occupant to prevent such infestation in the area occupied, the occupant and owner shall be responsible for extermination.

403.5 Clothes dryer exhaust. Clothes dryer exhaust systems shall be independent of all other systems and shall be exhausted outside the structure in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions label.

Exception: Listed and labeled condensing (ductless) clothes dryers.

Revised Proposals Submitted in June 2008: In June 2008, NCHH and the Alliance submitted six proposed modifications to its proposals that were disapproved by the committee. These modifications were designed to address the concerns of the committee.

NCHH and the AFHH also strongly supported a revised proposal by ICC’s Hazard Abatement in Existing Buildings Committee, chaired by Wayne Jewell of Southfield, Michigan. This proposal would establish a new Health and Sanitation Chapter to the IPMC. It would set health standards for asbestos, carbon monoxide, radon, lead, potable water, and arsenic-treated lumber.

Proposals Accepted in September 2008 by Committee: ICC’s full assembly considered the proposals at its final action hearings in September 2008. The proposals required a two-thirds majority vote in order to be adopted by the committee. Tom Neltner of NCHH, code official Wayne Jewell, HUD’s Warren Friedman, and Jane Malone from AFHH were present to argue in favor of the changes.

The language in the International Property Maintenance Code was revised to the following:

202 General Definitions. Pest elimination. The control and elimination of insects, rodents or other pests by eliminating their harborage places; by removing or making inaccessible materials that serve as their food or water; by other approved pest elimination methods.

Regarding alarms, the language of the International Residential Code now reads like this:

R313.1.1 Carbon monoxide alarms. In new construction, dwelling units within which fuel-fired appliances are installed or have attached garages shall be provided with an approved carbon monoxide alarm installed outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedroom(s).

R313.1.2 Where required – existing dwellings. In existing dwellings within which fuel-fired appliances exist or have attached garages, where work requiring a permit occurs, carbon monoxide alarms shall be provided in accordance with Section 313.1.1.

R313.1.3 Alarm requirements. Single station carbon monoxide alarms shall be listed as complying with UL 2034 and shall be installed in accordance with this code and the manufacturer’s installation instructions. UL 2034-2008 Standard for Single and Multiple Station Carbon Monoxide Alarms.

The other suggested amendments were not approved by the ICC. The ICC members also rejected the addition of the proposed new Chapter 8 to the IPMC, which would pertain to Health and Sanitation and would have regarded existing health standards for friable asbestos, carbon monoxide, radon, lead, potable water, and arsenic-treated lumber as violations.

New model code change proposals must be submitted to the ICC by March 24, 2009. NCHH and AFHH will continue to pursue improvements to the model codes.