New building rules for basements, bathrooms and bedrooms likely coming soon in Jackson

Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Jason Weber exits an excavator while working on a retaining wall Tuesday at his property on Providence Drive in Jackson. The city of Jackson likely will enact new building codes by the new year.

Sheetrock might be required more often. As will carbon-monoxide detectors. More outlets will need to be installed in garages. But bathrooms and bedrooms can be built smaller.

These restrictions all will be addressed if new building codes are approved by the Jackson Board of Aldermen.

New building codes will go into effect Jan. 1 in Jackson, pending aldermen approval.

Jackson is operating under codes from 2009, building superintendent Janet Sanders said at Monday’s board of aldermen meeting.

Building codes specify the standards a structure must adhere to be deemed inhabitable.

Every three years, the codes are updated by the International Code Council, Sanders said.

In that three-year cycle, suggested changes are submitted and reviewed by the council, and members vote on whether to include proposed updates, Sanders said.

Over a year ago,

Sanders said she’d mentioned Jackson’s codes needed to be updated to reflect changes.

After a lot of studying and work, the ordinances are almost prepared, she said.

Sanders told the board of aldermen she hoped the new codes would be adopted in December for an effective date of Jan. 1, and provided a list of notable changes to the code.

In her opinion, Sanders said, the biggest change is the new requirement for Sheetrock to be installed in a basement ceiling if I-joist or floor truss construction is used.

I-joists are an engineered wood joist, and the Sheetrock is intended to provide some fire protection.

The Sheetrock does not need to be fire-rated or finished, Sanders said, but because floor trusses or I-joists don’t have a fire rating as high as solid lumber joists, this requirement should lower a home’s overall fire hazard.

Sanders said other significant changes, including lowering a bathroom ceiling’s minimum height and reducing the minimum square footage of a room from 120 to 70 square feet may be driven by the tiny-home movement.

Other changes are technology-driven, Sanders said.

In garages, two outlets would be required, not one. That’s because of the anticipated increase in electric cars, Sanders said.

Wireless smoke detectors now are permitted, she added, because the council has recognized the technology as valid.

In a nod to increased safety, carbon-monoxide detectors will be required in bedrooms and bathrooms with fuel-fired appliances, such as gas or wood-burning fireplaces, and in all attached garages.

Electrical outlets in laundry areas will require ground-fault circuit interrupt, or GFCI, outlets. Dishwashers also will require GFCI protection.

Cape Girardeau and Perryville, Missouri, already have adopted the 2015 codes, Sanders said in a Nov. 17 memo to the mayor and board of aldermen.

“Our inspectors have been informing our local contractors for a number of months that these code updates will be coming,” Sanders said in the memo.

Jason Weber, owner of Jason Weber Construction LLC, said the building codes Cape Girardeau has in place are good.

Weber, who said he’s been building in the Cape Girardeau/Jackson area since 1996, said his company has run into the Sheetrock restriction before and said, “[You] just have to plan before time.”

There’s different preparation work involved, Weber said, and it’s a matter of ensuring everyone’s on the same page, but he thinks the requirement is a good one to improve safety.

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Pertinent address:

101 Court St., Jackson, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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