Building Code Update

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City Council approved the 2023 Lafayette Building Code.

On June 6, 2023, City Council approved the 2023 Lafayette Building Code. Approval formally adopts the 2021 suite of international building codes and associated local amendments. The key amendments are described below and included in the document library to right. The new codes become effective Aug. 1, 2023.

What amendments were approved?

View the 2023 Building Code Update informational flyers

International Energy Conservation Code

  • Electric-Required: One of the City’s priorities is to reduce the reliance on natural gas. This amendment would require all-electric construction for all new residential and commercial projects, with certain exemptions for commercial projects (large systems, kitchens, hospitals, labs, industrial, etc.)

  • Solar-Required: The solar-required amendments would require new commercial buildings 5,000 square feet or more and major renovations of buildings 5,000 square feet or more to have a solar system installed as part of the construction. The amendment will require that solar produce two watts per square foot of useable roof space or be sized to produce 50% of the building's anticipated load.

  • Solar-Ready: The solar-ready amendments would prepare new homes, major renovations of new homes, new commercial buildings less than 5,000 square feet, and major renovations of commercial buildings less than 5,000 square feet for future solar installation by requiring the installation of wire or conduit from the roof to the electrical panel and providing adequate space in the electrical panel for future breaker installation. This makes the installation of solar panels in the future easier and more cost-effective to install. The amendment requires that 40% of the usable space on commercial buildings and 300 square feet for residential buildings be allocated for the installation of future solar panels.

  • Electric Vehicle (EV) Parking Space Requirements: The City currently requires that a percentage of parking spaces be set aside for electric vehicle charging. The proposed amendment includes two changes. The first includes a more nuanced approach to commercial projects, installing EV infrastructure where it makes the most sense. For example, a gas station would not need the same about of infrastructure as an office or hotel. Second, multi-family requirements are proposed to be increased; this increase is in recognition that renters cannot install this infrastructure themselves, and installing after construction is more expensive for owners.

  • Cool Roofs: Cool roofs are made of materials (typically lighter in color) that reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat. Cool roof requirements are already included in the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code, though the strengthening amendment will bring the requirements into our climate zone in recognition of increased summer temperatures and the growing problem of the heat island effect.

  • Horticulture Facilities: The City is exploring a strengthening amendment to improve lighting efficiency requirements in indoor horticulture facilities. Historically grow facility owners haven’t invested in efficient lights because of the industry’s volatile markets and shifting policies. This amendment will allow owners to install LED lights and decrease their energy consumption.


2021 International Residential Code – Fire Suppression Systems

The code requires that residential structures install a fire suppression system (i.e., a sprinkler system). This requirement was introduced into the 2009 International Residential Code. The City has historically amended the code to not include this sprinkler requirement for single family homes, duplexes, and townhomes, but is proposing not to delete this provision with the 2021 building code update. This would result in all new residential buildings requiring a sprinkler system. Buildings with existing water taps are proposed to be exempted from this requirement.

What applies and where?

Topic
ResidentialCommercial
Electric-Required

What projects are impacted?
New buildings only
New buildings only
Requirements Fully electric with specific exceptionsFully electric with specific exceptions
Solar-Required

What projects are impacted?New buildings and major alterationsNew buildings and major alterations
Buildings smaller than 5,000 square feetSolar ReadySolar Ready
Buildings larger than 5,000Solar ReadySolar-Required
Electric-Vehicle ReadyApplies to new buildings and major alterationsApplies to new buildings and major alterations
Cool RoofsDoes not applyCommercial Roofs with a pitch less than 2:12
Horticulture Lighting No amendments - does not applyAny new horticulture facility or alterations/upgrades to existing lighting.
Fire Suppression (Sprinklers)
  • New Residential buildings, except those with existing water taps that do not have adequate capacity for the sprinkler system.
  • Not required for detached Accessory Dwelling Units where the existing primary structure is not sprinklered.
  • Would not be triggered by a home being used as a short-term rental.

No amendments


A Note about the Process

The City periodically adopts a suite of international codes, together referred to as I-Codes (e.g., International Building Code). The City is currently on the 2015 version of the I-Codes and is beginning the process of adopting the 2021 I-Codes. As part of the adoption process, jurisdictions routinely include amendments to the base codes to align procures and requirements to local conditions and to introduce strengthening amendments to advance specific community goals. The City is considering local strengthening amendments to the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code as part of the broader I-Code adoption that furthers some of the City’s sustainability, resilience, and building safety goals.

The City of Lafayette joined a cohort of eight nearby cities and Boulder County with the intent to adopt strengthening amendments to the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code that are consistent throughout the region. The cohort is also working to develop a common roadmap to achieve new net-zero construction and 100 percent renewable electricity.

City Council approved the 2023 Lafayette Building Code.

On June 6, 2023, City Council approved the 2023 Lafayette Building Code. Approval formally adopts the 2021 suite of international building codes and associated local amendments. The key amendments are described below and included in the document library to right. The new codes become effective Aug. 1, 2023.

What amendments were approved?

View the 2023 Building Code Update informational flyers

International Energy Conservation Code

  • Electric-Required: One of the City’s priorities is to reduce the reliance on natural gas. This amendment would require all-electric construction for all new residential and commercial projects, with certain exemptions for commercial projects (large systems, kitchens, hospitals, labs, industrial, etc.)

  • Solar-Required: The solar-required amendments would require new commercial buildings 5,000 square feet or more and major renovations of buildings 5,000 square feet or more to have a solar system installed as part of the construction. The amendment will require that solar produce two watts per square foot of useable roof space or be sized to produce 50% of the building's anticipated load.

  • Solar-Ready: The solar-ready amendments would prepare new homes, major renovations of new homes, new commercial buildings less than 5,000 square feet, and major renovations of commercial buildings less than 5,000 square feet for future solar installation by requiring the installation of wire or conduit from the roof to the electrical panel and providing adequate space in the electrical panel for future breaker installation. This makes the installation of solar panels in the future easier and more cost-effective to install. The amendment requires that 40% of the usable space on commercial buildings and 300 square feet for residential buildings be allocated for the installation of future solar panels.

  • Electric Vehicle (EV) Parking Space Requirements: The City currently requires that a percentage of parking spaces be set aside for electric vehicle charging. The proposed amendment includes two changes. The first includes a more nuanced approach to commercial projects, installing EV infrastructure where it makes the most sense. For example, a gas station would not need the same about of infrastructure as an office or hotel. Second, multi-family requirements are proposed to be increased; this increase is in recognition that renters cannot install this infrastructure themselves, and installing after construction is more expensive for owners.

  • Cool Roofs: Cool roofs are made of materials (typically lighter in color) that reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat. Cool roof requirements are already included in the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code, though the strengthening amendment will bring the requirements into our climate zone in recognition of increased summer temperatures and the growing problem of the heat island effect.

  • Horticulture Facilities: The City is exploring a strengthening amendment to improve lighting efficiency requirements in indoor horticulture facilities. Historically grow facility owners haven’t invested in efficient lights because of the industry’s volatile markets and shifting policies. This amendment will allow owners to install LED lights and decrease their energy consumption.


2021 International Residential Code – Fire Suppression Systems

The code requires that residential structures install a fire suppression system (i.e., a sprinkler system). This requirement was introduced into the 2009 International Residential Code. The City has historically amended the code to not include this sprinkler requirement for single family homes, duplexes, and townhomes, but is proposing not to delete this provision with the 2021 building code update. This would result in all new residential buildings requiring a sprinkler system. Buildings with existing water taps are proposed to be exempted from this requirement.

What applies and where?

Topic
ResidentialCommercial
Electric-Required

What projects are impacted?
New buildings only
New buildings only
Requirements Fully electric with specific exceptionsFully electric with specific exceptions
Solar-Required

What projects are impacted?New buildings and major alterationsNew buildings and major alterations
Buildings smaller than 5,000 square feetSolar ReadySolar Ready
Buildings larger than 5,000Solar ReadySolar-Required
Electric-Vehicle ReadyApplies to new buildings and major alterationsApplies to new buildings and major alterations
Cool RoofsDoes not applyCommercial Roofs with a pitch less than 2:12
Horticulture Lighting No amendments - does not applyAny new horticulture facility or alterations/upgrades to existing lighting.
Fire Suppression (Sprinklers)
  • New Residential buildings, except those with existing water taps that do not have adequate capacity for the sprinkler system.
  • Not required for detached Accessory Dwelling Units where the existing primary structure is not sprinklered.
  • Would not be triggered by a home being used as a short-term rental.

No amendments


A Note about the Process

The City periodically adopts a suite of international codes, together referred to as I-Codes (e.g., International Building Code). The City is currently on the 2015 version of the I-Codes and is beginning the process of adopting the 2021 I-Codes. As part of the adoption process, jurisdictions routinely include amendments to the base codes to align procures and requirements to local conditions and to introduce strengthening amendments to advance specific community goals. The City is considering local strengthening amendments to the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code as part of the broader I-Code adoption that furthers some of the City’s sustainability, resilience, and building safety goals.

The City of Lafayette joined a cohort of eight nearby cities and Boulder County with the intent to adopt strengthening amendments to the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code that are consistent throughout the region. The cohort is also working to develop a common roadmap to achieve new net-zero construction and 100 percent renewable electricity.

Q&A

Please share any questions you may have and City staff will reply in about two business days. Note that both the question and answer will be posted on this page for others to view.

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  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    I would like to see Lafayette address indoor air quality for commercial buildings as pertains to pathogen transmission management. Despite abundant evidence that respiratory illnesses such as COVID spread via airborne transmission, there has been no large-scale effort to address the role that building ventilation plays in disease spread. Building codes would never allow water from waste pipes to circulate back to supply pipes, yet equivalent air recirculation is considered acceptable. It would be great for Lafayette and for the broader community if Lafayette's commercial building codes addressed indoor air quality with regard to mitigating the spread of airborne disease.

    ddlenz asked over 1 year ago

    Thank you for taking the time to share this. The project team has reviewed your question and will also share it with City Council when the new codes are presented for adoption in early 2023. To dive into the specifics, the mechanical code currently requires that buildings be either naturally ventilated with openings that are sized at least 4% of the occupied floor space or, more commonly in commercial, mechanically ventilated through one or more of several different options which are found in Section 403 if the International Mechanical Code.  While the ventilation of a space may not address all the concerns presented by the question, the City of Lafayette is working with a regional cohort and efforts to improve indoor air quality are in progress and will be incorporated into future editions of the code (which are updated every three years or sooner as needed.) Please don’t hesitate to contact staff if you have any questions or need additional information.

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    I think it is fantastic that Lafayette is continuing to move towards a more sustainable and resilient future. While great to consider the approach of adjacent municipalities I don't agree with an adoption of the same strategies as it appears that all of the proposed code updates and amendments will increase the cost of construction which does not jive with City goals of affordability. A couple points I suggest considering: 1) An 'trade-off' based program for increased efficiency. Allow the market to decide which path to an increased sustainability is best for each situation. This could be a combination of a checklist and/or performance path where the proposed project is modeled for energy performance based on project specific conditions and what is achievable by the construction team. Allowing for passive design strategies ie climate appropriate building orientation, glazing designed to utilize passive solar, climate appropriate roof overhangs, etc. are ways of increasing the sustainability of a building and add little if any cost. Allowing these elements to be accounted for in the code would move us towards our 2030 targets in a financially sustainable way. 2) A graduated path to sustainability. Having different sustainability requirements for a residential addition versus a 5k square foot house or multi-family project. Boulder County has traditionally had a similar chart for paths to compliance. 3) An incentive based program. It could be advantageous to create an incentive program where, for example, a project that achieves net zero energy or Passive House might get other incentives such as zoning incentives, a fast tracked City review process, or reduction in other areas of the code. I am an Architect running a small Lafayette firm based around sustainability. I have a passion for this topic, and extensive knowledge around attainable sustainability. I am available and happy to continue the conversation if you have any questions.

    jesse asked over 1 year ago

    Jesse, 

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Our team will review and consider this as the project progresses. We plan to summarize these and other comments received during a City Council meeting on Dec. 6. The Dec.6 meeting is an update on the project (no decision is being made.) We expect to present the proposed codes to City Council for consideration in early 2023. 

    Regarding #3, we just started a multi-year process of rewriting our zoning regulations and will be considering incentives. Zoning incentive programs typically involve allowing some additional level of development (e.g., density, building height) in exchange for a specific type and amount of community benefits. The community benefits could include things like affordable housing or greener construction. We expect to formally launch that project around March 2023. Please feel free to reach out to me at philip.kleisler@lafayetteco.gov if you would like to be notified about that project once we have information to share.     

    Thanks again for taking the time to share this! 

    Phil Kleisler, Principal Planner

     

Page last updated: 14 Aug 2023, 03:38 PM