CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia homebuilders might have to meet new conservation regulations if new legislation is passed.
Officials from the West Virginia Home Builders Association, the state Fire Marshal's Office, the Department of Energy and the state Insurance Commission this week drafted legislation to introduce to the Legislature in February that would require homebuilders to meet the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code, said Dale Oxley, president of the Home Builders Association of Greater Charleston.
Part of that legislation also would include an update to the code for fire protection.
State law requires homebuilders within enforcement areas to meet the 2004 guidelines for energy conservation and fire prevention, Oxley said Tuesday afternoon at a meeting of the South Charleston Economic Development Council.
"It's pretty normal for code enforcement to be behind," Oxley said. "Fortunately, with electrical code [and] plumbing code, we're at 2011, . . . so it's only building code that we're in fact behind the curve."
Last year, legislation was introduced to change the building code requirements to reflect 2009 energy conservation regulations, Oxley said. The Home Builders Association opposed that legislation, he said, because it included a requirement that all residential housing include sprinklers.
"The HBA is not against sprinklers," he said. "At the same time, it's got to be practical."
In some instances, sprinklers can make insurance rates increase, Oxley said. If a house has a small fire that is contained, a sprinkler can cause more damage to the house than would the fire, he said.