You probably received the notice from the City of Houston regarding the January 1st effective date of the 2012 International Residential Code. However, in partnership with the Houston City Council, GHBA was successful in extending the effective date an additional month, to February 1, 2016.
Additionally, Government Affairs Committee members met with the City of Houston building official and the head of inspections on December 15. We were informed that there are two previously unenforced codes that will be enforced as of Feb. 1, 2016. These requirements have always been in the code, but were not enforced:
- Any projection less than 3′ from the property line (ie: eaves or soffits), must have one-hour fire resistance material put on the face and underside and will be subject to inspection at the time of the firewall installation. In order to comply, consider the following option – eliminating the eaves (zero overhang) to remain greater than 3′ from the property line. Also, consult with your roofing and energy specialists about increasing your attic air flow to meet requirements for lower ventilators.
- The City of Houston amendments to the IRC call for a 32″ clear path of egress to a public right of way. As a result, if you are building 3′ from the property line, be mindful about installing fences, overflows, gas meters, cleanouts, etc. which could cut into the 36″ and get below 32″. Also, if using siding or stucco, be aware that they too decrease the space. At this time, there are no exceptions for projections into the clear 32″ width of passage between the ground and 6’8″ high.