A work session that was expected to cover three topics was sidelined by a lengthy discussion on the first item on the agenda -- an update of the city building codes.
The city is currently contracting building code plan review and inspection services to Safebuilt. The discussion came at their request. Safebuilt was represented by Russ Weber; the firm's local building inspector, Jeff Matthews, and several builders were also in the audience.
The city is currently working from the 2003 edition of the International Building Codes. These codes are reviewed and updated every three years. While the 2018 edition was recently released, Weber recommended the city take a look at the 2015 version. He went through several elements of the building code, comparing the current version used by the city to 2012 and 2015.
"The goal is to work with builders and staff to adopt a building code that makes sense and is not overboard," Weber said.
He explained that the building code can be adopted with amendments to exclude those provisions that don't make sense in the city -- either because they've never been viewed as a problem or because they're simply too expensive, as is the case with automatic sprinkler systems for all new residential construction.
When council member Gerald Roberts tried to nail down how much the updated building codes would cost, Weber said he believed the update involved "a lot of little changes" that would not substantially increase the cost of construction.
He also wanted to address fees, a portion of which passes through to Safebuilt to cover the cost of providing services. He has compiled fees from surrounding communities for council and staff to analyze. He also suggested a one-stop permit process that would mean just one visit to the construction site to inspect furnaces, roofs and other building components.
To come up with a modern building code that's good for the community and good for builders, Weber suggested additional meetings with staff and contractors to go through the building code point by point.
Due to a lack of time, the second item on the work session agenda -- a discussion of medical marijuana centers, was postponed until Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 6 p.m. That item will be the only matter on the work session agenda.
A discussion on a damage prevention safety program for underground utilities was postponed indefinitely.