Oklahoma State Home Builders Association

An Affiliate of the National Home Builders Association

Building to the code to avoid inspection rejections

 
Posted on September 4, 2015 by By Carol Hartzog Communications

Kelly Parker holds IRC code book as he stands before audience in breakout session.

 
Kelly Parker holds IRC code book as he stands before audience in breakout session.

By Jim Stafford

Carol Hartzog Communications

Kelly Parker lifted a hefty book the size of 1960s Sears catalog up high as a room full of people looked on at Oklahoma City's Cox Convention Center.

Instead of "Sears," the cover of the book said "IRC," an acronym for International Residential Code.

"How many people know we have a statewide building code that went into effect in 2010?" asked Curtis McCarty, standing next to Parker in the first breakout educational session at the 2015 Oklahoma Building Summit & Expo.

Kelly Parker holds IRC code book as Curtis McCarty looks on in background.
Kelly Parker holds IRC code book as Curtis
McCarty looks on in background.

Dozens of hands went up in a room filled with home builders and members of the building trades.

"Is everybody up to date on that code and what it means to the industry and what it means to us as builders?" McCarty asked.

Fewer hands went up.

McCarty is owner of Norman-based C.A. McCarty Construction, LLC, and teamed with Parker, a consulting engineer and President of GWS Systems, to lead an educational session called "Top 10 Reasons for Inspection Rejection."

The pair showcased issues both nationally and locally that have caused new construction to be rejected by inspectors.

They prefaced the session by emphasizing the importance of the building code and how it was adopted and evolves.

McCarty is one of 12 members of the Oklahoma Uniform Building Code Commission (OUBCC), which is charged with reviewing and updating the Oklahoma building code every six years.

"He is your liaison to that commission," Parker told the audience.

The pair recommended that builders acquire a copy of the IRC and use it as a guide to avoid having their work rejected by inspectors because it is not built to the code.

"This is the book that governs how we build a house in Oklahoma and across the country," McCarty said. "The IRC is written specifically for residential construction."

In Oklahoma, codes are adopted for statewide use, although individual communities are free to revise certain codes to make them more stringent.

However, an estimated 40 percent of all new construction is built in unincorporated areas of the state.

"Are you obligated to build to a code when you are not in the jurisdiction of a municipality?" Parker asked. "Yes, although it won't be inspected. You can request an inspection."

The most common complaint the OUBCC hears from the public revolves around the lack of enforcement in unincorporated areas, McCarty said.

The commission works to improve building codes that ensure quality construction across the state while keeping costs affordable for consumers.

"At some point the cost of what we are required to do has no return on investment to the consumer," McCarty said. "So, why would you keep making it more stringent if there is no return on the investment. We have to take those factors in to consideration."

After providing insights into the building code, McCarty and Parker launched into their list of top 10 reasons for rejection of construction, beginning with failure to provide a field survey to establish property boundaries.

"We're trying to educate our builders on what the top problems are, the top violations to improve construction and overall quality across Oklahoma," McCarty said. "That's really what this whole Building Summit is about."

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