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ICC Is Helping Special Interests Steamroll the Code Development Process

The ICC wants to change how the nation’s model building energy code is developed—moving it from an open process to having it be developed by a committee without input from the local government building officials who administer it. Public comment period ends January 11.

On December 16, the International Code Council Board of Directors met to discuss the future of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). Following the recommendations from the Appeals Board and the Board Committee on the Long-Term Code Development Process (Blue Ribbon Committee), the Code Council Board decided to put forward a framework for the updating of the IECC and Ch. 11 of the International Residential Code (IRC) using the ICC standards process, subject to stakeholder input and final approval by the ICC Board of Directors.

2021 ieccIf approved, the following framework will apply:

  • The title of the document will remain the International Energy Conservation Code and the residential energy provisions in Chapter 11 of the IRC will be a duplication of the residential provisions from the IECC. As such, the change in process will not impact references in existing statutes, laws or policies.
  • The IECC will retain the International Codes publication format with the 2024 IECC and IRC scheduled to be published in the fall of 2023.
  • The 2024 IECC and Chapter 11 of the IRC will be updated using the Code Council’s Consensus Procedures. The Consensus Procedures allow for more timely consideration and an in-depth investigation of energy improvements without the time limits imposed in the code hearings.
  • The energy provisions will undergo continuous maintenance in order to be responsive to advances in technology. This will result in the update process continuing beyond the publication of the 2024 IECC and IRC.
  • The committee will be balanced in accordance with our consensus procedures.
  • The next update will begin with the 2021 IECC and Chapter 11 of the 2021 IRC.
  • The Code Council will conduct a campaign to inform members about participation.

Read here why these changes are not good for the building industry.

The Code Council Board will be meeting the week of January 18 to hear verbal testimony from interested members and stakeholders. If you are interested in submitting written comments and providing verbal testimony, please contact memberinput@iccsafe.org.

All written submissions and commitments to participate must be received by 8:00 PM ET on Monday, January 11, 2021. All comments received will be posted on the Code Council website. There will be a registration process for verbal testimony; additional information will be sent the week of January 4, 2021.

In addition to the IECC process, the Blue Ribbon Committee is considering a number of issues related to the code development process, including federal preemption and voter guides. Click here to read the latest update from the committee. You can also learn more on the Code Council website; contact Mike Pfeiffer, PE to receive email updates related to upcoming committee meetings.


Cati O’Keefe is the editorial director of Green Builder Media. She has 25 years of experience reporting and writing on all aspects of residential housing, building and energy codes, green building, and sustainability.