The 2009 edition of the International Residential Code, available in March, includes new requirements for sprinklers and energy efficiency. It also includes new standards for building homes in high-wind regions, and constructing community and residential storm shelters.

Jurisdictions that adopt the 2009 IRC will apply the most modern, scientific and comprehensive building safety provisions available to save lives and protect property. The IRC, developed and published by the International Code Council, is adopted at the state or local level in 48 states and Washington, D.C.

New safety features in the 2009 IRC include the following:
  • Fire sprinklers required in all new one- and two-family residences beginning Jan. 1, 2011.
  • Fire sprinklers in all new townhomes when the code is adopted.
  • New guidelines for the design and construction of homes in high wind regions, based on the International Code Council’s Standard for Residential Construction in High Wind Regions, ICC 600.
Energy-efficient upgrades in the 2009 IRC include the following:
  • High-efficiency light bulbs in at least 50 percent of permanent lighting fixtures in new homes.
  • An increase in insulation R-values for walls, floors and basements in cold climates to achieve heating and cooling savings.
The IRC combines all building, plumbing, mechanical, fuel gas, energy and electrical provisions for one- and two-family residences and townhouses into one comprehensive code that is compatible with all I-Codes. To pre-purchase the 2009 International Codes, click visit www.iccsafe.org.