CLINTON - The Clinton City Council unanimously approved adoption of a building code on Tuesday night.

The ordinance adopts portions of model building codes adopted by the 2007 Iowa State Building Code that will be effective July 1, 2008. The codes include the 2006 International Building Code, 2006 International Mechanical Code, 2005 National Electrical Code, 2006 International Residential Code, 2006 International Existing Building Code and 2006 International Energy Conservation Code.

Another approved ordinance adopted the 2007 Iowa State Building Code until the end of June 30, 2008. The ordinance applies only to buildings and structures that would have otherwise been subject to the state building code.

During the audience comment period, Bill Schweitzer, North Central Regional Manager for the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, addressed the council in support of the Uniform Plumbing Code. Schweitzer said he spoke with state officials who said the city can adopt any plumbing code, so long as it is equal to or more stringent than the code the state adheres to. He said there is no reason the city could not adopt the 2006 UPC and noted that the 2006 edition would keep the city up-to-date.

Schweitzer said if the city adopts the International Plumbing Code, the council would have to adopt “a tremendous amount” of amendments to make the code compliant with state requirements. He said the council could spend a lot of time debating the differences between the two codes, but he said he thought the council would like to see the city have “the best code possible.” Schweitzer advised that a poll of local contractors showed that many feel the UPC should be adopted.

Fourth Ward Councilman Rodger Holm said he has received several calls about the issue and heard from many people in support of adopting the UPC. Holm said the question asked of him is if two homes are equal in every other way, but one is built according to the UPC and the other by the IPC, what would be the cost difference. Schweitzer said there would be a minimal cost difference, estimating $69 on a $100,000 house, and said the difference would be venting through the roof with the UPC instead of relying on mechanical devices which could fail.

Clinton resident Bob Krajnovich said that if seven reputable and dependable local plumbing contractors are in favor of the UPC, the council should adopt the uniform code.

Rita Swearingen, regional manager of government relations for the International Code Council, addressed the council and commended the members for considering adoption of the IPC. She said the IPC is a family of codes, designed to work together, that has the most recent standards and allows for the most up-to-date techniques and materials.

Later in the agenda, the council discussed the possibility of postponing the second reading of the ordinance that would adopt either the 2006 International Plumbing Code of the 2000 Uniform Plumbing Code, until the Aug. 14 council meeting. First Ward Councilman Bob Soesbe said he was opposed to postponing the vote and said if the motion to postpone failed, he was prepared to make a motion to adopt the UPC. Soesbe said he saw no reason the matter should be delayed further, saying “I think we might as well get this over with.”

City Attorney Matt Brisch said that state officials said the code Clinton adopts must be equal to or more stringent than the state code. He explained that the city of Des Moines settled a dispute with an organization that challenged the city's adoption of the IPC, saying the code is not as stringent as the state code. In the settlement, the city adopted amendments to the IPC that added chapters of the UPC. Brisch said that just last week, the city passed the third reading of the 2006 IPC. City Administrator Gary Boden advised that the amendments to the code could be adopted in one action.

At-Large Councilman Ron Mallicoat said that regardless of what the council adopts, the code does not go into effect until July 1, 2008. He said the city does not have to rush into a decision and urged the council to wait until all the information regarding the two codes is available.

At-Large councilman Mark Vulich agreed with Mallicoat, saying there is no hurry to adopt either code. He noted he spoke with one of the seven plumbing contractors on the list and the contractor said he did not favor one code over the other. Vulich said he believes the council needs more time to look over the two codes. Soesbe asked why the council should adopt something they would have to amend “all over the place” and a code that would require people to go back and forth between codes.

Schweitzer asked why the city would adopt a code in pieces when the council can adopt a code that has everything the city needs. He said if the council wants to know the differences between the two codes, he could put together a section by section summary of the differences. Swearingen said she would be glad to help the city with the amendment process if the council decides to adopt the IPC.

In a vote to postpone the second reading of the ordinance, the motion was approved by a vote of six to one with Soesbe voting no.

This Week's Circulars