Oppose Efforts to to Change the Utah Uniform Building Code Commission

Utah Homeowners Deserve Fair Representation and Up-to-Date Building Codes

Residential construction is booming in Utah. New homes are going up daily, but are they being built to the best standard possible? Changes being proposed to Senate Bill 33 will undermine vital consumer protections for homebuyers while also keeping Utah’s residential energy code out-of-date.   

SB 33 1st Sub-Uniform Building Code Commission Amendments (Sen. Curt Bramble, Rep. Mike Schultz), was recently voted out of the House Business and Labor Committee with a favorable recommendation. While we support the original bill, amendments discussed and voted on at the February 8, 2020 committee hearing are concerning. The changes would alter the makeup of a little-known, but important state body called the Uniform Building Code Commission, by replacing two of the public and local government members with four members representing private industry. If the bill passes, the 13-person Commission would be made up of nine representatives from the building industry, and only four representatives of the government and public. The voices watching out for the long-term interests of homeowners would be greatly reduced putting at risk the latest construction standards for energy conservation and safety in new homes and buildings. 

Why The Building Code Commission Matters to Homeowners

The Uniform Building Code Commission is charged with making recommendations to Utah’s Legislature on whether or not to adopt new building codes in Utah. Building codes define the quality of our homes and buildings, deciding everything from a home’s energy efficiency to electrical safety and earthquake readiness. In past years, the Commission has thoroughly reviewed and generally recommended adoption of newer building and energy codes that make Utah homes more comfortable and more affordable to run through more energy efficient construction methods and materials. However, due to past push back from some contractors and home builder lobbyists, Utah’s residential building code is currently out-of-date. Without public representation on the Building Code Commission, it is likely that Utah’s residential building code will remain outdated, which means Utah homeowners get stuck with higher monthly utility bills, and homes that are not meeting national building standards.  

“We need strong public interest representation on the UBCC to ensure that building code updates are in the long-term public interest. This unnecessary and concerning bill threatens improved energy efficiency and cleaner air.”

Kevin Emerson, Utah Clean Energy’s Energy Efficiency Program Director and former public member of the UBCC.

AUTHOR

kevin emerson

Kevin Emerson, MSc

Director of Building Efficiency and Decarbonization

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