The Industry ‘Scandal’ That Might Upend How America Builds Houses

"A long-simmering feud over building codes is boiling over and may discredit the system the U.S. has relied on for decades."

"Fossil fuel companies are trying to strip a series of climate-friendly measures out of the latest round of model building codes used to regulate construction virtually everywhere in the United States.

The International Code Council, the nonprofit organization responsible for writing widely adopted model building codes, broke its own rules to allow natural gas trade associations make the industry’s case for scrapping provisions for electric appliances and car chargers from the latest update to the codebook, HuffPost has learned.

Long accused of inappropriately chummy ties with the industries its rules regulate, the ICC late last year abruptly changed its own written policies to give the gas groups twice as much time to file appeals against codes they don’t like, and to skip a key bureaucratic step meant to provide oversight to avoid frivolous challenges, according to public documents and interviews with four sources with direct knowledge of the process.

The legitimacy of the entire building code system — already eroding, after recent changes to the process dampened hopes for more ambitious, greener codes — may now be at stake. Some experts involved in writing the latest codes say they may abandon the process altogether, in favor of forging a new national model that can more easily slash energy usage and cut back on planet-heating emissions."

Alexander C. Kaufman reports for HuffPost February 5, 2024.

Source: HuffPost, 02/07/2024