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1. I have a question regarding the administration and enforcement of the building codes in New York City: Back to Top
Due to its population, New York City is allowed to adopt separate building codes than the rest of the state. For questions pertaining to the building codes in New York City, please contact the New York City Department of Buildings directly at (212) 566-5000 or online at http://www1.nyc.gov/site/buildings/index.page .
2. What about energy code questions in New York City? Back to Top
Unlike the building codes, the energy code is a statewide code applicable to all parts of the state. Municipalities have the option of adopting local energy conservation construction codes if approved by the State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council, provided that they are more restrictive than the state code. New York City has an approved local energy code. All energy code questions for New York City should therefore be directed to the New York City Building Department (see FAQ above for contact information in addition to firstname.lastname@example.org).
3. Where can I find information pertaining to administration and enforcement of the building code in the Town/Village/City/County of XXX? Back to Top
In general, every city, town, village, and county is charged with administering and enforcing the Uniform Code and Energy Code within its jurisdiction. If you have specific code questions, you should contact your local building department and they will be able to assist you in finding the applicable forms and compliance requirements pertaining to your project.
4. Does the Division of Building Standards and Codes handle issues regarding zoning, licensing of contractors or electricians, or other local laws related to buildings and properties? Back to Top
Issues regarding local laws, zoning, and licensing of contractors or electricians are not handled by this Division. Local laws may or may not address these land use and constructor regulations. You should contact your local building department for more information and/or consult with your attorney.
Licensing of home inspectors such as those involved in real estate transactions and electricians involved with installing security and fire alarm systems are done through the Department of State’s Division of Licensing Services (Click Here).
Please note that the DBSC provides basic training courses and issues certificates upon successful completion to Code Enforcement Officials and Building Safety Inspectors.
1. Where can I find a copy of the code books for New York State? Back to Top
New York State has adopted specific versions of the 2015 International Code Council (ICC) books and published two NYS Supplements (i.e. 2017 Uniform Code Supplement and 2016 Supplement to the New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code (Revised August 2016)) that modify specific parts of these books. The following link will take you directly to the online version of the code books as well as PDF’s of the two NYS supplements (Click Here for Codes). Copies of prior versions of the codes may be available from local libraries. Additionally, electronic copies have been provided to four Supreme Court Law Libraries (located in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Plattsburgh, and Bath) and the State Library in Albany.
2. Which NYS Supplement do I use? Back to Top
Until October 31, 2017, the 2016 Uniform Code Supplement and 2016 Supplement to the New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code (Revised August 2016) was in effect. Starting October 31, 2017, all applications received on that day and after shall use the 2017 Uniform Code Supplement and the 2016 Supplement to the New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code (Revised August 2016).
3. What about the 2017 Supplement to the New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code? Back to Top
There is no new 2017 Supplement to the New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code. On October 31, 2017, anywhere the 2016 Supplement to the New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code (Revised August 2016) referenced the 2016 Uniform Code Supplement shall now reference the 2017 Uniform Code Supplement.
4. Where can I find information pertaining to swimming pools for residential homes? Back to Top
Information for new swimming pools, hot tubs, and spas associated with detached one and two family dwellings and townhouses that are not more than three stores above grade plane can be found in the 2017 Uniform Code Supplement, Chapter 2, Part 2.24, Section R326. Information pertaining to existing swimming pools, hot tubs, and spas can be found in the 2017 Uniform Code Supplement, Chapter 8, Part 8.6, Section 303. (Link to Codes and Supplements). These sections outline items such as necessary alarms, entrapment protection, and barrier requirements.
1. How do I file an appeal or request a variance? Back to Top
19 NYCRR Part 1205 outlines the variance and appeal process for the Uniform Code. An unofficial version of this Part can be found here (Click Here). Energy Law §11-106 provides that an application for a variance or modification of any standard or requirement of the Energy Code shall be made to the Secretary of State. If you feel that you are unable to comply with a code section or believe that a code section is being improperly interpreted or enforced by a building department, then you have the option to apply for and obtain a variance or successfully appeal the determination of the local building department. If you wish to apply for a variance or appeal for the Uniform Code, please download the Application for Variance or Appeal form and submit it to the appropriate Regional Office. The application can be obtained by clicking here (Click Here); a map of the Regional offices can be obtained by clicking here (Click Here). If you wish to apply for a variance for the Energy Code, please download the Application for Energy Variance and submit to the Albany office. This application can be obtained by clicking here (Click Here).
1. How do I check my training credits status? How many training credits do I have? How do I reset my SLMS password? Back to Top
Several instructional YouTube videos have been created and placed on the NYSDOS YouTube channel outlining how to set up/create an account, reset your password, and view your training credit status for NY.gov and the Statewide Learning Management System (SLMS).
1.What is the State Energy Conservation Construction Code ? What is the most current version and effective date? Back to Top
The currently effective State Energy Conservation Construction Code having an effective date of October 3, 2016, is comprised of two base documents. Those being, the 2015 IECC and ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2013, which are both subject to modification by the 2016 Supplement to the New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code. Their more formal, legal description as adopted is;
2. Where can I find a copy of these referenced publications? Back to Top
The following link will take you directly to the online version of the ICC code books as well as PDF’s of the two NYS supplements (Click Here for Codes). ASHRAE 90.1-2013 may be obtained from the publisher electronically here. Electronic copies have been provided to four Supreme Court Law Libraries (located in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Plattsburgh, and Bath) and the State Library in Albany. Additionally, they are available for public inspection and copying at the Office of the New York State Department of State located at One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12231-0001. Copies of prior versions of the codes may be available from local libraries.
3. Does the 2015 IECC apply only to commercial buildings and the 2015 IRC Chapter 11 apply to residential buildings? Back to Top
No. The 2015 IECC is divided into two separate sections, Chapters prefixed by “C” are applicable to Commercial construction, Chapters prefixed by “R” are applicable to Residential construction. Additionally, Chapter 11 of the 2015 IRC has been modified by the 2017 Uniform Code Supplement to align its requirements to match that of the residential provisions of the 2015 IECC, as modified by the 2016 ECS. This allows the use of either document to show compliance with 19 NYCRR 1240.
4. Are RESCheck and COMCheck still an acceptable path of compliance for the New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code? Back to Top
Yes. Per the 2016 Supplement to the New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code Sections R101.5.1 and C101.5.1, compliance software can be used to demonstrate compliance with the Energy Code provisions. RESCheck and COMCheck are approved for residential and commercial applications, respectively. Other software that has been expressly approved in writing by the New York Secretary of State as acceptable for demonstrating compliance may also be used. The RESCheck automated printout represents a complying building envelope only. The required Mandatory requirements of the Residential and Commercial energy code must also be enforced, which are reflected by the checklists that accompany the envelope printout sheets. For free versions of the REScheck/COMcheck software that references the Energy Code, please go to www.energycodes.gov. It should be noted that there will be no NY Specific versions of RESCheck and COMCheck, since NY did not adopt substantial building envelope amendment provisions to the 2015 IECC, or ASHRAE 90.1-2013. In the Code dropdown, 2015 IECC or ASHRAE 90.1-2013, are selected for New York State.
1Pursuant to Article 11 of the Energy Law, 19 NYCRR 1240 “State Energy Conservation Construction Code” was promulgated with an effective date of October 3, 2016 This part and the publications incorporated by reference constitute the State Energy Conservation Construction Code. Please see 19 NYCRR 1240 for for all publications incorporated by reference into that Part.
5. Are prior (superseded) versions of RESCheck and COMCheck available, and if so how are these accessed? Back to Top
Prior versions of RESCheck and COMCheck are available by email request, to the US Department of Energy, at https://www.energycodes.gov/HelpDesk
6. Is a "blower door test" required for all new homes constructed under the 2015 IRC and 2015 IECC? Back to Top
Yes. Per Section R402.4 of the 2016 Supplement to the New Your State Energy Conservation Construction Code and Chapter 2, Part 2.32 Section N1102.4 of the 2017 Uniform Code Supplement, which modify the 2015 IECC and 2015 IRC respectively, the use of a "blower door test" (ACH 50 testing) is a mandatory requirement.
7. For residential use, is spray foam permitted to create a "conditioned attic assembly" by spraying the foam directly on the underside of the roof rafters without ventilation above or below the foam? Back to Top
Yes. In one- and two- family dwellings and townhouses, section 806.5 of the 2015 IRC permits an “unvented attic” under specified conditions and requirements using air-impermeable insulation (e.g., spray foam) to control moisture. Air-impermeable insulation is the key to allowing an unvented attic, since control of air passage is also the control of moisture passage. Air-impermeable insulation must meet ASTM E283 and the code-required thickness of insulation as determined by climate design zone, as designated by Table R806.5. Coincidentally, the unvented attic sealing approach allows for downsizing of the mechanical systems by a significant percentage by ACCA Manual J (2015 IRC Section N1103.7 and 2015 IECC R403.7). Ventilation of the dwelling unit to limit moisture development is required as specified in Chapters 3, 4, 11 and 15 of the 2015 IRC.
8. Do you need to apply a thermal barrier or ignition barrier to the surface of spray foam in attics and basement areas? Is this type of space considered the "interior of a building"? Back to Top
The 2015 IRC Sections R316.5.3 (Attics), 316.5.4 (Crawl spaces), and R316.5.11 (Sill plates and headers) permit spray foam applications under the specific conditions defined within each of the code sections indicated. Foam must be identified, or listed to meet the test requirements specified in Section R316.6. If the attic is considered interior space, foam must be covered by gypsum wall board or an alternate finish material (per Section R316.6). The application and allowable installations may be detailed in an “Engineering Services Report “produced by the International Codes Council for the particular material in question. Where allowed by the ESR report, the foam may be left uncovered per the 2015 IRC.
9. Are Manual "J" Calculations required for sizing heating and cooling loads for new single family dwellings? Back to Top
Yes. The 2015 IECC Section R403.7 which deals with equipment sizing and efficiency ratings, is a mandatory requirement. It states in part: "Heating and cooling equipment shall be sized in accordance with ACCA Manual S based on building loads calculated in accordance with ACCA Manual J or other approved heating and cooling calculation methodologies". These requirements become increasingly important in tighter homes, which require smaller heating and cooling loads, due to a marked decrease in the loss of conditioned air through building infiltration.
10. Is a "duct blaster" test required for all new homes covered under the 2015 IRC or 2015 IECC to determine if a home's supply and return ducts have been properly sealed from losing conditioned air? Back to Top
Not if the heating and cooling ductwork is completely contained within the conditioned building envelope. Sealing of duct work is a mandatory requirement of the 2015 IRC and 2015 IECC. The requirement for testing of the completed ductwork (known as CFM 25: “the duct blaster test”) are waived if the air handler and ducts are located completely within the conditioned building envelope. As an example, if a furnace and ductwork are located within a basement space, and the basement enclosing walls and the floor joist perimeter (band joist directly above) have been insulated in accordance with requirements of the 2015 IRC and/or 2015 IECC, the ductwork is located within conditioned space, and qualifies for the exemption to duct testing. If the HVAC ductwork for heating and or cooling are located outside of the conditioned envelope (for example, a central AC or furnace in the attic, above the insulation), then the ductwork requires testing per CFM 25, or duct blaster test, as well as insulation of the ductwork per code requirements.
11. What is required for HVAC Ductwork Design for Residential Buildings constructed under the 2015 IRC? Back to Top
The 2015 IRC requires that Duct systems serving heating, cooling and ventilation equipment shall be installed in accordance with the provisions of Section M1601 of the 2015 IRC and ACCA Manual D, the appliance manufacturer’s installation instructions or other approved methods.
12. Are there efficiency requirements included for permanent Lighting Fixtures for residential buildings? Back to Top
Yes. A mandatory requirement per the 2015 IECC Section R404.1 states that new homes are required to have not less than 75 percent of the lamps in permanently installed lighting fixtures to be high-efficacy lamps or not less than 75 percent of the permanently installed lighting fixtures to contain only high-efficacy lamps, except in low-voltage lighting. See the 2015 IECC definitions of High Efficacy Lamps. Examples of such bulbs are compact fluorescent bulbs, or LED (light emitting diode) bulbs.
13. Are snow melt system controls required in the 2015 IRC and/or 2015 IECC for all buildings? Back to Top
Per the 2015 IECC sections C403.2.4.5 and R403.9 snow-and ice-melting systems, when provided, and when power is supplied from a building, shall include automatic controls capable of shutting off the system when the pavement temperature is above 50ºF and no precipitation is falling and an automatic or manual control that will allow shutoff when the outdoor temperature is above 40ºF.
14. Can latex or enamel paint (on the inside surface of the sheetrock or other interior materials) be used to meet mandatory vapor retarder requirements of Section R702.7of the 2015 IRC? Back to Top
Per Section R702.7.2 of the 2015 IRC, latex or enamel paint is a Class III vapor retarder. Section R702.7.1 outlines that Class III vapor retarders are accepted in specific conditions and climate zones.
15. Is there now a definition of "Area Weighted Average" in Energy Code? Back to Top
Yes. The 2016 Supplement to the New Your State Energy Conservation Construction Code has added the following definition: AREA WEIGHTED AVERAGE. A mathematical technique for combining different amounts of various components, based on proportional relevance, into a single number. Weighted averaging may be used where there is more than one R-value for floor, wall, or ceiling insulation, or more than one U-factor for fenestration in a building. As an example, the area weighted average for window fenestration U-factors equals (Area 1 x U-factor 1) + (Area 2 x U-factor 2) + …/ Total Area = maximum allowable fenestration U-factor.
16. Are pool installations and modifications regulated by the 2015 IECC? Back to Top
Yes. Section C404.9 and R403.10 of the 2015 IECC outlines these provisions for commercial and residential buildings, respectively. Some of these provisions include:
17. Is Mechanical whole house ventilation a requirement of the 2015 IRC? What about Energy Recovery, or Heat recovery? Ventilation systems? Back to Top
An Energy Recovery, or Heat Recovery Ventilation system is not required by code. However, the 2015 IECC does require whole house ventilation systems to be installed in new residential structures built to the 2015 IRC. The design parameters for the system are contained in the 2015 IRC, Section M1507, Mechanical Ventilation. This allows for the whole-house ventilation system to consist of one or more supply or exhaust fans (or a combination of supply or exhaust), and associated ducts and controls. Although the code allows for supply of exhaust fans to serve as a ventilation system, outdoor air intake must be a consideration of the system. A “Whole House Mechanical Ventilation System” is defined in the Code as: “An exhaust system, supply system, or combination thereof that is designed to mechanically exchange indoor air with outdoor air when operating continuously or through a programmed intermittent schedule to satisfy the whole house ventilation rates.” Questions have come up concerning the use of building infiltration air solely for supply air in the building ventilation system, or in practice, the use of exhaust only fans as a system of providing required mechanical ventilation. The code is silent on the method of supply of outdoor air, therefore any quantifiable method to provide the required quantity of outdoor air may be utilized. In other words, the use of building infiltration air only, as the source of make-up air must be proven by calculations, or by testing.
Are zoning or other local laws that require manufactured homes to be installed on something other than the standard pier and footing system legal?
1. What is a “manufactured home”? Back to Top
Per Chapter 2, Part 2.2 of the 2017 Uniform Code Supplement:
MANUFACTURED HOME. A structure transportable in one or more sections that, in the traveling mode, is 8 feet (2438 mm) or more in width or 40 feet (12192 mm) or more in length or, when erected on site, is 320 square feet (29.7m2) minimum, and that was built on or after June 15, 1976, on a permanent chassis and designed to be used as a dwelling with or without a permanent foundation when connected to the required utilities and includes the plumbing, heating, air conditioning and electrical systems contained therein. The term "manufactured home" shall also include any structure that meets all the requirements of this definition except the size requirements and with respect to which the manufacturer voluntarily files a certification required by the federal department of housing and urban development and complies with the standards established under the national manufactured housing construction and safety act of 1974, as amended. The term "manufactured home" shall not include any self-propelled recreational vehicle.
2. What is a “mobile home”?? Back to Top
Per Chapter 2, Part 2.53, Section AE201 of the 2017 Uniform Code Supplement:
MOBILE HOME. A moveable or portable dwelling unit that was built prior to June 15, 1976, and designed and constructed to be towed on its own chassis, composed of frame and wheels, connected to utilities, and designed and constructed without a permanent foundation for year-round living, excluding travel trailers. For the purpose of these provisions, a mobile home shall be considered a manufactured home.
3. What is a “modular home”? Back to Top
Per Chapter 2, Section 2.2 of the 2017 Uniform Code Supplement:
FACTORY MANUFACTURED HOME (MODULAR HOME). A structure designed primarily for residential occupancy, constructed by a method or system of construction whereby the structure or its components are wholly or in substantial part manufactured in manufacturing facilities, intended or designed for permanent installation, or assembly and permanent installation, on a building site.
4. What do Article 21-B Manufactured Homes and Part 1210 Manufactured Home Regulations require? Back to Top
Please see the following PDF which summarizes this information.
5. Where can a list of certified individuals be found? Back to Top
6. What are the responsibilities of the code enforcement official (CEO)? Back to Top
Installers are responsible for anything that makes the home livable after delivery (e.g. - electrical connections, plumbing hook‑ups and site preparation) in compliance with the applicable Building Codes, construction documents and installation manuals.
7. What are the responsibilities of the code enforcement official (CEO)? Back to Top
The CEO has responsibility for enforcing the Uniform Code for work performed at the site, but has no jurisdiction enforcing the requirements of HUD's Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards. In other words, the CEO cannot require changes to any assemblies or parts from the factory. However, any parts supplied by the factory that require field attachment or assembly should be verified by the CEO as having been installed properly using the manufacturer's installation manual as a guide.
8. Can the CEO rely on a certified individual (installer, mechanic, etc.) to perform their responsibilities in compliance with the Uniform Code and not perform inspections? Back to Top
NO, the CEO must still perform the required inspections.
9. Where can the requirements for the installation, alterations, additions, repairs or relocation of manufactured homes be found Back to Top
The requirements for the installation, alteration, addition, repair or relocation of manufactured homes can be found in Appendix E, Manufactured Housing Used as Dwellings, of the 2017 Uniform Code Supplement.
10. Are zoning or other local laws that require manufactured homes to be installed on something other than the standard pier and footing system legal? Back to Top
Jurisdictions that regulate manufactured homes more restrictively than the 2015 IRC as modified by the 2017 Uniform Code Supplement or the HUD standard, whether by zoning or other local law, must have a more restrictive local standards approved by the State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council. For information on zoning and other local laws, contact the NYS DOS Division of Local Government Services at (518) 473-3355.
1. Who should I contact if I have questions regarding more restrictive contruction standards and more restrictive energy laws? Back to Top
Please direct all questions regarding more restrictive construction standards and more restrictive energy laws to:
Gerard Hathaway R.A.
Assistand Director for Code Development