Estimated reading time: 5 minutes, 30 seconds
I rarely pay much attention to politics but this issue hits close to home.
The residential building code is supposed to be updated every three years like clockwork. All involved parties work on adapting it to our states unique situation and work tirelessly to come up with modifications to make it as great of a document as possible. We have been using the 2012 edition for several years and it is time to move on to the 2015 IRC (International Residential Code) with the updates we approved.
It’s International for cryin’ out loud! But NOOOOOO. One group (or person) was able to do an end run and because of their deep political ties were able to block the adoption of the 2015 IRC.
Favorite highway sign “Welcome to Idaho, Please turn your watch back 10 years”
Rather than listening to the voices of the many, the Governor of Idaho, Butch Otter, listened to the “RONG” (spelled that way on purpose) loud single voice and decided to indefinitely stall the normal process of updating to the 2015 residential building code which was supposed to happen like clockwork in a three-year cycle.
The normal process goes along and we adopt the code after vetting it and adapting it to our climate, our energy needs, and common sense by all involved parties including building officials all over the state. We have been doing this since building codes were adopted in the 1950’s, Our state adopted them as a minimum code state wide in 2005. It took a year of hard work and compromise but we got our document ready for the Governor to approve. All of our hard work was pissed away in the blink of an eye, or in my imagination, a greasy handshake.
The new home builders association in Boise’s leadership were involved and engaged every step of the way. At the last moment they decided to block it. Besides causing all sorts of confusion around the state, it halts some pretty great improvements. It keeps silly codes in place and does not take into account some new building materials and best practices from being adopted. My hunch is that they will be rewarded nicely for falling on the sword. Leaving the old codes in place is counter intuitive, me thinks someone is manipulating the process.
Why block updating the code you ask?
One of the argumentative points the BCA (Building Contractors Association) shared is that they think that the energy saving idea about increasing the percentage of energy efficient LED lighting is going to kill new home sales. REALLY? What else is on their mind? Good question, we have no clue because they refused to attended meetings that they have been invited to in order to deal with their objections.
In my view, the new 2015 IRC code is less restrictive and a better updated document by all accounts. I think it is a thinly veiled sleight of hand maneuver to cover for some bigger scheme. I can only hope this obstructive behavior comes back to bight them in the ass.
In who’s best interest is this bad behavior? Who does the new home builder lobbyists really represent? What ulterior motive lurks in the shadows of our “libertarian” read “tea party” state? Is this the same group that blocks the idea of contractor licensing? I smell rotten politics. Is there someone in government pulling their strings? I think I am on to who you are and what you are up to.
So Mr. mystery man, you want to come to the rescue of folks that are convinced that the world would be better if government stopped messing with private enterprise? You think that left to their own devices that people will do the right thing. RONG! I smell a rat. You want to have ultimate control of the building industry in the state and make all the rules don’t you sly dog. You’ve got a big plan.
We all do. The people of Idaho have been betrayed and especially the professional building contractors. Wake up, we need ever evolving and improving rules and guidelines to make a level playing field. Celebrate the fact that the best and brightest minds are involved in crafting the residential building codes. Building better, safer, more energy efficient homes is not a stupid idea.
While you’re at it, how about growing a set of cohones and support a legislative bill to recommend elevating my profession. Mandate Idaho state wide contractor licensing (Just like Plumbers, Electricians, Engineers, Architects, HVAC contractors, Well drillers and other similar professionals I have to interact with and in many cases be in charge of daily). These responsibilities imperative and are a vital link to the safety, health, and welfare of our citizens.
Aren’t contractors already licensed?
99% of those questioned mistakenly believe contractors are already licensed. WE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BE. The joke is that many contractors think they are too. Without mandatory licensing, besides letting anyone with $25 be a contractor, we are a magnet state for those who can not get a license in other parts of the country and those who have been stripped of theirs. Yea, that’s what we need.
Who is at the helm?
Playing politics and using power plays to block the process for your self-serving reasons, and your appointed buddies benefit is insane. We need you to participate in the process, then stand up and be counted. Shame on you and your selfish thinking. You want to make the things better? Get engaged, stop political cronyism and come out from behind the skirt of the BCA. You’ve also made our state a joke and the Governor look like a fool! Surprised this issue hasn’t hit the news yet, I’m not. It is kind of embarrassing.
In hopes that the citizens of this fine state figure out what you are up to, may they run you and your appointed buddies out of town on a rail.
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