Building Boise Updates

Fall 2019


Spotlight: indieDwell

Our new Spotlight feature highlights companies actively involved in green building construction. This issue, we talk with Scott Flynn of indieDwell about his company's use of standard industrial shopping containers to build new homes. Learn More



International Existing Building Code

A large number of existing buildings do not comply with current building code provisions for new construction and in many cases, may not comply with the building code adopted at time of original construction.

Upgrading buildings to current building code for new construction is an option, however, can sometimes be cost prohibitive. Another option to consider, is evaluation of the building under the International Existing Building Code (IEBC). The intent of this code is to provide more flexibility to permit the use of alternative approaches in order to rehabilitate existing buildings, while still maintaining a reasonable level of safety. The IEBC code pertains to repairs, alterations, change of occupancy, additions and relocation of existing buildings. There are chapters on historic buildings and relocated buildings as well.

The IEBC has three (3) options for consideration:

Option 1: The Prescriptive Compliance Method (specified in Chapter 4)
Option 2: The Work Area Compliance Method (specified in Chapters 5-13)
Option 3: The Performance Compliance Method (specified in Chapter 14)

Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages and the designer needs to work closely with the building owner for a desired path forward. One option must be chosen for the design to then be submitted for building permit application.

  • A link to City Code with amendments to the IEBC can be found here.
  • A link to free online building codes for access to the full IEBC can be found here.



Locking Access Port Caps for Refrigeration Piping

The International Mechanical Code requires locking access port caps for refrigeration piping. This provision was added into the code to deter a relatively new method of substance abuse where individuals intentionally inhale refrigerant gases for the intoxicating effect. Inhalant abuse is very dangerous, and it can result in sickness or death. Locking access port caps help prevent such abuse by making it difficult for individuals to tamper with or remove these caps without a special tool or key. The special caps also make it harder for individuals to tamper with the refrigerant levels in the system.

More recent published code editions have added an exception to exclude this code provision for equipment located in a controlled area, such as on a roof with a locking access hatch or behind locked fencing.

City of Boise Mechanical Inspectors will be enhancing inspection emphasis on verifying these locking access port caps are installed on all new equipment and replacement equipment when not installed in a controlled area.

Summer 2019

Energy Code Commissioning

The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) has provisions in place requiring system commissioning for some mechanical systems and electrical lighting systems in commercial or multi-family buildings. Commissioning ensures proper installation to the design and maximizes energy efficiency, resulting in lower building operation and maintenance costs. The City of Boise is working to better communicate and identify applicable projects that meet the criteria for system commissioning.

Mechanical: Commissioning is required for mechanical systems and service water heating systems that have a total cooling capacity of 480,000 Btu/h or greater and a total combined heating capacity of all water-heating and space heating appliances of 600,000 Btu/h or greater in commercial or multi-family buildings. Systems serving individual dwelling units and sleeping units can be excluded from the total Btu/h.

Electrical: Functional testing commissioning is required for controls of automatic lighting systems in commercial or multi-family buildings per the current adopted IECC. Automatic lighting system controls include occupant sensors, time switch controls and daylight responsive controls.

System commissioning for projects within the City of Boise requires a commissioning plan be submitted with the “308 – IECC System Commissioning Agencies” form along with the other construction documents at the time of review. Prior to issuance of occupancy, a completed and signed preliminary commissioning report is required to be submitted to the City of Boise for review. Commissioning is required to be done by the registered design professional or an approved agency. Further requirements for the commissioning plan and report can be found in the current adopted version of the IECC. A link to reference online versions of the codes can be found here.

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