What the recent and upcoming  building code changes mean for SWFL


What the recent and
building code changes mean for SWFL
September 4th, 2015
The bulk of the changes to the code just passed
are related to the federal government’s goal of increasing the energy
efficiency of houses by 15%. (An additional 15% increase is expected for the
next change which is to go into effect in 2017.) To meet the code change we are
allowed to use 2 programs. The first is to meet certain standards for every
part of the house including glass to square footage ratios. The second method
is the one commonly used in custom housing. It is a testing of the home as
actually planned; with solar orientation, glass to square footage ratio, and
efficiencies of the major energy items considered. This method allows higher
efficiency items to offset less efficient items or elements like an abundance
of glass, additional water heaters, etc.
While Divco homes were already more efficient
than required prior to the new code, some of our smaller floor plans with lots
of windows and sliding doors would not pass the new code without a change to
the foam ceiling insulation. (While the foam insulation was standard in many of
our communities, it was optional in others) We decided to make this a standard
feature for all of our homes in all communities. Other than this, the other
changes required to meet the new efficiency standards were already Divco
standard practices or were minor in nature.
The 2017 change will affect construction
practices even more. Most likely aluminum windows and doors will become
obsolete and will be replaced with vinyl framed products. The currently
deferred whole house ventilation system will be required. Higher efficiency A/C
and heating products will be required. It is also possible that the design of
homes will be affected with a lower percentage of glass to square foot of house
required for some houses. (Currently there are no 90 degree vinyl doors and
certain larger doors, however, this is expected to change as we get closer to
the new date). Either way, changes are coming. As always, Divco will be ahead
of these requirements as we continue our practice of building the best, most
energy efficient homes possible in our target markets.
Written By, Stephen Kauffman, CEO of DIVCO Custom Homes