Larimer County Considers 2012 Building Code Revisions

The County is preparing to adopt the 2013 International Building Code, as other communities in Northern Colorado have already done. In a joint session with the Planning and Zoning Board, the Commissioners discussed a proposal by staff.

The Chief Building Official proposes to make a few technical adjustments to the Building Permit Fee Table to make the fee structure more transparent. The Building Department has been assessing a one-time “mountain area fee” of $50 on residential and commercial permits to offset the increased costs to perform inspections in remote portions of the County. This fee is not currently listed in the published fee table. The Building Department has also historically assessed an “investigation fee” for work started without a required building permit. Building codes up through the 1997 Uniform Building Code required an investigation fee “equal to the permit fee” in such cases. That wording was left out of the 2003 Codes adopted by Larimer County in 2004. The 2012 Codes state that persons commencing work without a required permit “shall be subject to a fee established by the applicable governing authority that shall be in addition to the required permit fees.” Now the fee will be specified in the adopted fee table.

Local amendments proposed by staff include the deletion of requirements for fire sprinklers in one- family homes, duplexes and townhomes. The pricey new energy conservation regulations, which include window 
maximum U-factor = 0.32, insulation R-49 minimum in ceilings, R-20 in walls above grade, R-15 continuous/19 cavity in basement/crawl space walls, R-30 floors over unheated space are not for adoption by staff, who suggest keeping the existing 2009 insulation requirements.

The Planning Commission will hold a hearing on the proposed codes in September, with a hearing by the BOCC in October. The County hopes the 2012 codes will become law in January 2014.

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