Land Commission recommends updated building code 8/19/2014

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Land Commission recommends updated building code

By Rupert Howell

Land commissioners for Panola County will recommend updating their International Building Codes (IBC) and International Residential Codes (IRC) as well as amending a public utilities hookup ordinance. 

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An ordinance regarding recreational vehicles was tabled for further study at last Monday’s monthly meeting.

Those recommendations will go to Panola Supervisors who will have final say over their adoption. Three Panola supervisors, James Birge, Cole Flint and Kelly Morris, attended the commission’s meeting held in the Sardis Courthouse.

Adoption of updated IBC, which includes commercial buildings, and IRC will put Panola County in line with the same regulations used by the City of Batesville who recently adopted the 2012 Codes, the same code recommended by the commission. Both entities are currently using 2006 codes and are updating to keep from being more than three code cycles behind as mandated. Codes are updated every two years.

Several items were excluded from the 2012 residential Code recommendation, including automatic fire protection sprinklers, automatic shutting doors between garage and living quarters and arc-fault breakers throughout the house.

Chad Meek, who serves as the commission’s compliance and enforcement officer, explained that sprinkler systems had been excluded from the City of Batesville’s newly adopted code and arc-fault breakers and automatic shutting doors may be cost prohibitive for many building new homes. 

Arc-fault breakers will be required in bedrooms as in the current 2006 codes, but not in other parts of the house. Meek earlier explained that cost and sensitive nature of those type breakers caused them to be unpopular with builders and homeowners alike and recommended they be excluded from the new regulations.

Although not required in new construction, homebuilders and developers wishing to install sprinklers must use specifications of the 2012 code once approved.

All new buildings in the county including sheds, pole barns and accessory structures will need permitting if Panola supervisors approve the recommendations.

Permitting those structures prior to their construction or placement or before utility hookups, will allow inspectors to determine if the structure will be waste water producing.

Field Dew, who works with the county’s Land Development Office as an inspector for the Department of Health, noted that the permitting will also help the county stay in compliance with flood plain management which he said has an affect on the county’s insurance rating.

Meek said the commission’s recommendations will be brought before supervisors during their Monday, September 8 meeting at the Batesville Courthouse where he also plans to present a fee schedule.