Adoption of New Massachusetts State Building Code

The current Massachusetts State Building Code, the 8th Edition, has been in effect since August 6, 2010 and has been the active building code throughout most of the post-recession building boom. Following on the heels of the new Massachusetts Comprehensive Fire Safety Code which was adopted on January 1, 2015, Massachusetts is looking to adopt a new version of the state building code, the 9th Edition, based on the 2015 International Code Council set of model codes.

On November 10, 2015, the state’s Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) approved the most recent batch of draft amendments for public review (see link below). In consideration of Governor Baker’s Executive Order EO 562 the new draft is intended to reduce the complexity of the code by limiting amendments and clarifying language to better align with the referenced base codes (I-Codes).

When Can We Expect Adoption?

The BBRS has indicated that the new edition of 780 CMR is to take effect in mid-2016 (anticipated in July) after time has passed for public input and the final adoption process. Projects looking to have permit application dates in mid-2016 and beyond should plan accordingly for the anticipated adoption of the new 9th Edition regulations. The BBRS has indicated that there may not be a concurrency period, where either the 8th or 9th Edition could be elected to be utilized for a period of time as we have seen in the past. The most recent updates from the BBRS still indicate that this is the case but they are continuing to discuss options with the Secretary of State’s office to help design professionals. Stay tuned for future Code Red Consultants blog posts for updates on this topic.

What’s Included?

As part of the adoption of the 9th Edition 780 CMR the following model codes will be incorporated with amendments:

  • 2015 International Building Code
  • 2015 International Existing Building Code
  • 2015 International Residential Code
  • 2015 International Energy Conservation Code
  • 2015 International Mechanical Code
  • 2015 International Fire Code (as limited by application of 527 CMR)
  • Recent NFPA Standards as referenced by the above codes.

Unlike the 8th Edition, the BBRS is anticipating that a single building code document will be released that contains both the amendments and base code to simplify use.

Links to the proposed MA Amendments and key changes are included at this location:

http://www.mass.gov/eopss/consumer-prot-and-bus-lic/license-type/buildings/updates-to-draft-9th-edition-of-the-building-code.html

The ICC Codes can be read here:

http://codes.iccsafe.org/I-Codes.html

What Does This New Code Mean For Me?

The new building code will bring about a number of new changes within each trade as the most up to date practices and regulations are adopted. If you would like to know how this code change will affect your building and future projects don’t delay in contacting us to guide you through navigating the new codes.