background_fid.png
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Springfield adopts new 'compromise’ building code

Brock Rowe, Springfield interim director of building development services, speaks to City Council about changes to the city building code on July 25, 2022.
City of Springfield Cityview screenshot
/
City of Springfield
Brock Rowe, Springfield interim director of building development services, speaks to City Council about changes to the city building code on July 25, 2022, as Sierra Club members and other attendees look on.

The city of Springfield reached a compromise with local entities on how to update the city’s residential building code — after months of meetings between the city and groups like the Home Builders Association and the local Sierra Club.

New homes in Springfield will soon be required to meet more modern international energy-efficiency standards.

Debra Hart is a Springfield developer. This week, she summarized some of the issues with construction standards that have been at play for years — just hours before Springfield City Council voted 8-to-zero to adopt the 2018 International Residential Building Code.

“How do you balance energy efficiencies — and balance those with the cost of an end product that does not make the product uncompetitive in the marketplace?” she said.

In other words, the city’s task was to update building safety and energy standards — without making the cost of new homes too expensive for people to buy.

The local chapter of the Sierra Club, a major environmental organization, endorsed the new Springfield standards during a recent public hearing. Myra Scroggs is a club member.

“What we see in the proposed code is a template for quality homes in Springfield that are safe, resilient to weather extremes, with healthier air and affordable energy efficiency," Scroggs said, reading from a Sierra Club statement.

These various stakeholders often don’t see eye to eye. City leaders, Sierra Club members and developers hailed the work of Brock Rowe, the city’s interim building development services director, for bringing the conflict-prone factions together.

Stephanie Stenger is another Springfield developer. She spoke at the recent hearing.

“Brock has done a great job, and his department has done a great job, of talking to all the stakeholders and working through those issues," Stenger said.

The new residential building code takes effect January 1, 2023.

Gregory Holman is a KSMU reporter and editor focusing on public affairs and investigations.