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Existing home inventory in the Rochester and surrounding areas is slim at best.  That’s causing the new construction market to boom at the moment.  While considering new construction it’s important to stay up to date on the building code changes that may affect your ability or desire to go that route.

Mike Paradise, President of Bigelow Homes, LLC was kind enough to provide his “Top 10 Changes” to the 2015 Minnesota Building Code.

1.  Automatic Fire Sprinkler System

Required in all townhouse and two family dwellings.  Also in single family homes over 4,500 sq. ft. (includes all floors and basements, excluding garages).  Estimated cost = at least $5,000.

2.  Window Fall Protection

For windows where the lowest part of the opening is more than 72 inches above the finished grade or surface below, the lowest part of the opening must be 36 inches or higher from the interior finished floor.  Window openings lower than 36 inches will be required to provide window fall protection.

3.  Fire Protection of Floors

The bottom of I-joists and floor trusses will need to be sheet rocked above un-finished basements.  Will not include utility rooms.

4.  Flashing Details

Higher requirements on kick-out flashing, window, flashing, and House wrap to prevent moisture intrusion.

5.  Insulation

Attic insulation increases to R-49 (up from R-43); Wall insulation increases to R-20 (up from R-19); Basement Wall Insulation increases to R-15 (up from R-5); and Rim Joist increases to R-20 (up from R-5)

6.  Duct Sealing

All ducts must be sealed and if they leave the conditioned space they must be tested.  We can no longer use the floor and wall cavities for returns.  This will result in a more efficient operation of HVAC equipment and more even heat.

7.  Blower Door Test

All homes will be tested and verified as having an air leakage rate not exceeding 3 air changes per hour at a pressure of 50 Pascals.

8.  Balanced Ventilation

This will require the use of HRV or ERV for the ventilation.  Commonly called air exchangers.

9. Hot Water Pipe Insulation

Some of the hot water piping will require insulation.  This will result in hot water faster when you turn it on.

10.  Energy Efficient Lighting

75% of the bulbs in permanently installed light fixtures must be high efficiency.

Thanks again Mike Paradise with Bigelow Homes LLC for providing us with a quick and cohesive summary of some of the key points to consider while shopping for new construction and how our market is changing.