Changes in Building Codes for Jonesboro Home Builders

December 7, 2006 -- Posted at 6:18 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- New city codes proposed by Jonesboro were supposed to go into effect on January 1st, but now those are being pushed back.

After K8 News started making calls on this issue, the enforcement of the new codes was delayed.

"The changes that they're trying to implement are going to drive the cost of construction up," said builder Todd Wilcox.

Now the changes might not take place until June or July of next year.  The specific changes have to do with seismic requirements because of the proximity to the new Madrid fault zone.  The controversial part of the proposed changes involves the extensive costs.

When these new changes go into effect in 2007, they will affect everything from the floor to the ceiling of a newly constructed home.

"It will affect their foundations, their flooring, their frame and the roof assembly," said Jonesboro Building Inspector Paul House.

These requirements are already in place for commercial buildings in Jonesboro, including schools.

"When you talk about earthquakes it depends on the magnitude of an earthquake, obviously the home is going to be ruined.  I know they're looking out for the best interest of the home buyer, but I'm not sure how this is going to help," said Wilcox.

When the code changes do go into effect, they will probably be altered slightly, but House says the way he inspects homes will change in 2007.

House points out existing homes will not have to meet these code requirements.  If a homeowner is remodeling or building, that construction will be under the new code.

The only existing houses that will have to be changed for the seismic requirements are those homes facing condemnation, because they are already unsteady.

Other changes have to do with building a home in flood plains.  Those changes will require that pipes and wiring be wrapped in case the area does flood.  Also, the foundation of the home will have to higher.