December 2023

After many months, the long-anticipated 10th Edition Building Code is on the horizon. Finally! The 10th Edition is Coming! The 10th Edition is Coming! By Guy Webb, HBRAMA’s Code Guy

Sarah Wilkinson, commissioner of the Massachusetts Division of Occupational Licensure (DOL), made the announcement during the latest BBRS Board meeting that the Governor’s Office has finally released the draft 10th Edition on December 11th.

This effectively gives the BBRS permission to proceed to the next steps of making the new code official, which is the scheduling of a series of required public hearings.

There are to be three public hearings held during a three-week period starting the week of January 29th. One of the hearings will take place in Boston, another in the Springfield area, with the last hearing being virtual.

Once the hearings are complete there is a one-week period when written comment may be submitted. The BBRS Board will convene shortly thereafter to review the public comments received.

It is anticipated that the hearings and subsequent review of comments by the BBRS Board will be complete in early or mid-March when the BBRS Board will presumably set an effective date for the new code. The best guess at this time is an effective date of late spring or early summer. Importantly, the BBRS has already committed to a six-month period of concurrency, whereby builders and remodelers may opt for either the 9th or 10th Edition Code for their projects when applying for a building permit.

The HBRA will keep you informed as the specific public hearing dates are set, and when an official effective date is confirmed. Below are a few of the changes you will see in the updated code. Also, we’ll provide details on the differences between the 9th and 10th Edition Massachusetts amendments as well as training opportunities to help you navigate the upcoming new code. Stay tuned!

This comprehensive code comprises all building, plumbing, mechanical, fuel gas and electrical requirements for one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses up to three stories. The 2021 IRC® contains many important changes such as:

  • Braced wall lines must be placed on a physical wall or placed between multiple walls.
  • The rated separation for two-family dwellings is 1 hour whether or not a lot line exists between units.
  • Emergency escape and rescue openings require a clear 36-inch-wide path to a public way.
  • An engineered design is required for storm shelters.
  • A habitable attic is limited to one-half the area of the story below and the dwelling requires sprinklers.
  • Updated Wind Speed maps match IBC and ASCE 7 maps.
  • Deck design now considers snow load, tributary area for footing and post height, and guard details.
  • Specific requirements for deck guardrails were added.
  • Component and cladding wind pressures in Table R301.2(2) are updated for new design wind speeds and hip or gable roof profiles.
  • Minimum footing size tables are revised to more accurately reflect current practice.
  • Cripple wall requirements apply only to exterior cripple walls.
  • New appendices for cob construction and 3D printed construction are added.
  • A 30 percent reduction of airflow is permitted for balanced ventilation systems.
  • Commercial gas cooking appliances are prohibited.
  • The head pressure for a water test of DWV systems increased to 10 feet.
  • Air vacuum testing is now permitted for plastic piping DWV systems.
  • Section P2904 for dwelling sprinklers is expanded to more closely align with NFPA 13D.
  • An emergency service disconnect is required in a readily accessible outdoor location.
  • A surge-protective device (SPD) is now required at the service panel.
  • The number of receptacle outlets required for peninsular and island countertops in kitchens is determined by the area of the countertop surface.
  • GFCI protection is now required for damp and wet locations not included in the other 10 areas requiring GFCI protection.

Thank you in advance for your commitment to our industry.

Looking to get involved? You can choose to join us at various upcoming events at the statehouse, testifying before committees, and speaking to legislators or rather - just as importantly - please consider a financial donation to help us help you. Donating to the fund can be done by going to our website: and clicking on Donate Now below.

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