Changes to the Building Code

Posted by Roger Gallagher, Gallagher Remodeling Inc., EM NARI Government Affairs Committee Co-Chair on 29 September 2017 | 0 Comments


Since 2015, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) has been working on defining and implementing the new Ninth Edition of the State Building Code (780 CMR).  The new code will be based on modified versions of the following 2015 codes as published by the International Code Council (ICC).

·         The International Building Code (IBC);

·         International Residential Code (IRC);

·         International Existing Building Code (IEBC);

·         International Mechanical Code (IMC);

·         International Swimming Pool and Spa Code (ISPSC); and

·         Portions of The International Fire Code (IFC).

The above “I-Codes” are reviewed and revised every 3 years through an extensive process at ICC. The Massachusetts Eighth Edition Building Code is mostly based on I-Codes from 2009. Another version of the I-Codes was issued in 2012, and again in 2015. So, since the 2009 I-Codes on which the Eight Edition is based, there have been two iterations of updates to the I-Codes (2012 and 2015) on which the new Ninth Edition will be based.

Although DPS is relying increasingly on standardized and international codes, they use local input and their discretion to customize and revise the I-Codes for Massachusetts. The 2015 I-Codes and the Proposed Massachusetts Amendments can be found at the following locations:

780 CMR:    State Board of Building Regulations and Standards (Building Code) Link to 2015 I-Codes

MA Amendments to the Base Volume  file size2MB (including all figures, tables, and special regulations) 

MA Amendments to the Residential Volume  file size1MB

On January 2, 2018, projects will be expected to comply with the Ninth Edition Code.  Permit applicants desiring to use the Eighth Edition of the code may need to exercise appeal options if they are not able to file a permit application before expiration of the concurrency period. 

  Also, as a reminder, BBRS members have already approved a new energy code based on the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).  The new energy code came into full force and effect on January 2, 2017.  Please see the DPS website for additional information about new energy code provisions.

To simplify the transition, attached is a table showing changes made to the 2009 I-Code in both 2012 and 2015 for review as it may apply to types of projects or elements of projects your company typically performs. Keep in mind that sections of the table may be modified by the MA Amendments, so for code issues that are important to your projects, it will be important to check both the I-Code and the MA Amendments to know what the code is for MA.

Questions about the code process and these various documents can be directed to Roger Gallagher at Roger is not a code consultant and will not answer specific code-related questions. Those are best asked of the building inspector enforcing the code for the jurisdiction where your project will be built.

Click here to download 2015 IRC Transition from the 2009 IRC!

Respectfully submitted,
Roger Gallagher, President
Co-Chair EM NARI Government Affairs Committee
Gallagher Remodeling, Inc.


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