City Council members has two more weeks to make a complete updates to the city’s building codes. A first reading was held Monday of a proposed ordinance updating the codes to 2015 international code levels.
The city’s code enforcement effectiveness classification was downgraded by the international Insurance Services Office Inc. after an assessment of the city codes and the certification level of city building inspectors. Insurance providers use the city’s classification to determine insurance rates, Mexico Community Development Director Rita Jackson said.
“The results of the city’s (Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule) classification came back as a Class 10 for the one- and two-family residential property and a Class 10 for the commercial and industrial properties, also,” she said.
This is the lowest possible rating and essentially means the city has not building codes or enforcement mechanisms. A previous evaluation had the city at a Class 9. It was considered a Class 5 when local codes were updated soon after the implementation of new international standards.
“The downgrade was based on the age of our current code … and the life of certification by our building officials,” Jackson said. “The city was given the opportunity this scoring classification and we could do that by adopting the 2015 international codes and the 2014 international electrical codes.”
A work session held Feb. 25 highlighted significant changes to the codes. Building officials are taking part in training to update their certification to 2015 levels, Jackson said.
“This is something he will continue on for the next three to four months to get the additional certifications — the mechanical, the fire, plumbing, etc.,” she said.
The 2015 codes include a requirement for automatic fire sprinklers for one- and two-family dwellings. Council members indicated during the work session they would like to remove the sprinklers requirement. The council can request this removal since a state law stipulates contractors must offer the sprinkler as an optional addition to homeowners/developers for family dwellings during construction, rather than requiring the systems.
“All of the other 2015 code deletions, additions and insertions are dates, are fees or in-house procedures the city currently uses,” Jackson said. “Since we presented the significant changes at the work session, city staff has received two verbal communications regarding the adoption of the 2015 code.”
Both of those communications were in favor of the adoption of 2015 while removing the sprinkler requirement, she said. “City staff feels this would a great improvement for safety as far as our residents within the city of Mexico,” Jackson said.
The work session was helpful for council member Vicki Briggs and helped her prepare for Monday’s meeting, she said.
Council member Chris Williams asked if the city’s adoption of the 2015 property maintenance code would make it easier to address existing property issues in the city.
“The changes to the property maintenance code, there weren’t many significant changes,” said Building Official Matt Kreyling. “There are some additional lists that give us some specific things mostly due to structural deficiencies or unsanitary conditions.”
Property maintenance code updates wouldn’t necessarily address existing building issues, but changes to city policies could, he said.
The bill requires two readings. The council held a first reading Monday and a second reading and possible passage could occur March 25. “We thought this was important enough that you all would not want to force it,” said Mexico City Manager Bruce Slagle.