An 8 to 2 vote by the California Building Standards Commission on March 16 moved to rescind a prior decision by the administration of former Gov. Gray Davis to adopt the NFPA 5000 code, according to the California Building Industry Association in Sacramento.

The controversial NFPA 5000 Building Code and NFPA 1 Fire Code, published by the National Fire Protection Association, have been abandoned as the basis for the state's next set of building and fire codes. Instead, the commission will be using the International Building Code, the International Residential Code and the International Fire Code, all published by the IBC and used extensively throughout the United States.

Robert Rivinius, chief executive officer of the State Homebuilders Association, said that the ruling saves homebuyers, business owners and local governments millions of dollars in unnecessary costs.

Prior to the latest decision, the seven state agencies that oversee most of California's building standards had all but stopped work on their attempts to overhaul the NFPA publication.

The agencies determined that it would take them until 2010 or 2011 to process an unprecedented 500 pages of amendments that consultants for NFPA had submitted for a book that was originally 515 pages long. Among other issues complicating the outlook for adoption of the codes, the state agencies said that they had not budgeted for the workload and the extensive use of taxpayer funds needed to complete the "private sector" publication would have been brought into question.

Most importantly, the state agencies stressed the need to move to a set of publications that require only "fine-tuning" instead of a complete overhaul.

The I-Codes are the most widely recognized building codes in the country, and in California are supported by more than 500 private and non-profit entities, as well as individuals including NAHB and the CBIA.

The IBC is adopted and enforced in 44 states at the state or local level and in the District of Columbia.

For the past 35 years, California has published new editions of the state building and fire codes every three years. The state codes use national model codes as a base document and then make amendments that are appropriate for the state, such as intensifying seismic-safety provisions for schools, hospitals and other facilities.