June 22, 2018
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Lincoln to prepare contractors, residents for new building codes

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

LINCOLN, Maine — Dan Whittier doesn’t want anyone to be surprised by the new state building and energy codes that will go into effect July 1.

That’s why the town code enforcement officer is holding public meetings at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, at the town office to answer questions and otherwise acquaint construction companies, realtors and residents to the new codes, he said Tuesday.

“There will be a significant increase in the inspection process,” Whitter said. “Under the new codes, all aspects of a building need to be inspected.”

Applying only to municipalities with populations of 2,000 or more, the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code vastly expands the total number of requirements the builders of homes and other buildings must meet. As an illustration, Whittier said the old town and state building codes filled one three-ring binder.

The new ones fill a half-dozen, he said.

Whereas the old codes applied mostly to plumbing, the new codes apply to the construction of foundations, wall framing, insulation, plumbing and electrical systems, Whittier said.

The most significant increase comes in the state’s energy code requirements. As an example, new buildings need to have cellars with insulation equal to R-10, or 10 units of thermal resistance. Walls must have R-20 insulation; attics and ceilings, R-49 insulation, he said.

New buildings, Whittier said, must be inspected or tested to ensure that they fulfill minimum qualifications regarding their air “tightness,” or resistance to air leakage, a key element to energy savings.

Though some elements can be grandfathered — or excused from the law due to age — buildings that predate the code must be inspected when they undergo changes in use, occupancy or structural renovations, Whittier said.

Anyone with questions is invited to contact Whittier at 794-3372 or attend the meeting.

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