Following the TDLR IHB Code Council (state regulatory entity for modular housing in Texas) meeting on July 27, 2023, where Council members voted to approve moving to the 2021 version of many ICC codes, TDLR formally published their proposed rule and construction code changes in the Texas Register.
TDLR published proposed rules for updating all adopted ICC codes for the IHB program to the 2021 versions except for the IECC which is to remain at the statewide code set by SECO, currently the 2015 version. The rules also move the electrical code to the NEC 2020 version.
We were initially please during the discussions at the Code Council Meeting (which can be viewed here) that Council members and TDLR staff appeared to be consistent with the interpretation that the energy code adopted by SECO should also be the code used for the IHB program.
For a bit more context, a bill was passed, but then vetoed by Gov. Abbott that would have allowed SECO to update the state energy code from the current 2015 version. This action certainly had some influence on the Council members’ decision not to include the energy code updates of the 2021 IECC with the 2021 ICC updates.
However, we still have concerns with the proposed rules, in particular the language in the rule that reads:
“Conflicts between editions of the International Building Codes and the adopted version of the International Energy Conservation Code shall be resolved in favor of the more stringent code. If the more stringent code cannot be determined, the department shall make a determination as to which code controls.”
We have concerns that the required Fiscal Impact Analysis for small businesses, micro-business and rural communities, which the agency determined, “[t]here will be no adverse economic effect on small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities as a result of the proposed rules,” might not be entirely correct. Specifically in rural communities, where a residential IHB (“modular”) home built to the state codes set by TDLR would require, after these rules go into effect, a home to be built to the 2021 ICC, whereas the legally required version of the ICC for all site-built housing in a county is only the 2009 version.
The formal posting in the Texas Register (you can read here, and we encourage all members involved in modular home construction to review the proposed rule) kicks off the 30-day public comment timeline.
TMHA will submit comments to the agency, and we encourage anyone with concerns or insight on these changes to contact us and/or send in your public comments as well.
You can let us know what you think about this proposal at email@example.com.
As proposed, these new code changes would go into effect on April 1, 2024.