Council Memo

Introduction and discussion of the proposed adoption of the 2018 International Building and Technical Codes and the 2017 National Electric Code, with local amendments.


Department:Community DevelopmentSponsors:


  1. Printout
  2. 2018 Adoption Flyer (This file has not yet been converted to a viewable format)
  3. Proposed Amendments to City of Prescott 2018 Building Code (This file has not yet been converted to a viewable format)
  4. Redlined Resolution (This file has not yet been converted to a viewable format)

Document Comments

Recommended Action: This item is for presentation only. No action will be taken.


Item Summary


This is a building and technical code cycle adjustment to bring the City of Prescott up to the latest code cycle of 2018 for all International Code Council (ICC) Building and Technical Codes and up to the 2017 National Electrical Code. This proposed adoption is being pursued in cooperation with surrounding jurisdictions (Prescott Valley, Chino Valley, Yavapai County) to bring all major local jurisdictions to the same code cycle at approximately the same time, as a coordinated effort to streamline and facilitate on behalf of both the contracting community and our respective development customer base(s).




In September 2014, the City Council adopted the 2012 International Building Codes, with local amendments. The International Codes and their local amendments became effective January 1, 2015. City Council amended some of the codes in May of 2015 to address group homes. No other code amendments have occurred since.


To provide better, more effective service to local contractors, Prescott Community Development staff has been working diligently with surrounding jurisdictions and the Yavapai County Contractors Association since Fall 2018 to collaboratively coordinate the proposed code adoptions so that the participating jurisdictions will adopt and enact on the same code cycle at approximately the same time (established target: mid 2019). Some variation in the effective dates between jurisdictions is inevitable, but by the beginning of 2020, the 2018 ICC Building and Technical Codes (and 2017 National Electric Code, in the City of Prescott’s case) will be enacted and in use by all participating jurisdictions. Having all primary local jurisdictions operating within the same building and technical codes should prove very beneficial to our contractor and development customers, especially those who routinely work across multiple jurisdictions.


As a part of this proposed code adoption, two code sections that were never modified from the 1997 Uniform Building Codes (now incorporated into the Administrative Code references) will be repealed, eliminating two unnecessary codes.


In addition to eliminating unnecessary codes, a strong effort has been made by the cross-jurisdictional code review group, City of Prescott Building Division staff, and our Building Advisory and Appeals Board, to reduce the complexity of the codes where possible. This is done through the adoption of an Administrative Code that amends various code provisions in the International Codes. An example of an edited (“administrative”) code section is attached. This type of amended code provides the City with the ability to customize a particular aspect of the code to best fit our jurisdiction.


Following this introduction and discussion, we anticipate bringing forward the formal adoption ordinances and resolutions at the June 11, 2019 City Council voting meeting.


Meeting History

May 28, 2019 1:00 PM Video City Council Study Session Meeting
draft Draft

Community Development Director Bryn Stotler provided a presentation to Council regarding the background of Code adoptions taking place in Prescott since 1875, and the 27 city adoptions since that time with the Uniform Building Code in 1928 and most recently in 2014. She discussed the specifics of items that are unique to the code for Prescott. Need for adoption of new codes is related to the review of communities and their safety by insurance agencies. Current ISO rating is a 3 which is very beneficial to our constituents and local business owners.

This years adoption is multi-jurisdictional and includes Prescott, Chino Valley, Prescott Valley and Yavapai County, which benefits contractors in our area. The Yavapai County Contractors Association (YCCA) was a huge help in making that happen and were involved in outreach meetings which began in February 2019. Collaborative adoption will have a July 2019 enactment date.

All code adoption information is available on the City’s website.

Chief Building Official Paul Macari continued the presentation with a review of code adoption highlights for this process

* Energy Code 2012 Code Remains in effect

* No permits required for fences under 6 ft (previously 4 ft) and retaining walls not over 32 inches in height (now considered “landscape walls”) (out of the ground height)

* Certified installer/tester now qualifies as 3rd party inspector: building wraps (ie Tyvek), mechanical systems (blower door tests), benefits contractor schedule in/decreased staff time/industry certified installers/testers become accepted 3rd party inspectors

* Routine Water Heater Replacements: simplified requirements for installation (one of the most common permits attained by homeowners vs contractors)

*2018 refines 2012 code, clarifying and reducing requirements and incorporating changes in building and safety technologies

* 2018 codes will reduce redundancy to improve usability by the building industry

* 2018 codes incorporate and simplify the latest practices in design and construction

Ms. Stotler stated that Council will vote at their June 11 meeting in order to adopt these changes. There will be an overlap of acceptance of 2012 and 2019 with staff already providing direction on correct code styles. And the launch of a virtual inspection program, simplification of applications and the introduction of express permits to homeowners not just developers and contractors will help streamline the system as well.

Mayor Mengarelli commended staff for building the partnerships with the other municipalities and for making things easier for contractors in our area.

Councilman Blair also thanked staff for their work and stated that improving the process is a good thing, but that we have put ourselves in the position of having to inspect everything and it can put the whole industry behind so we need to look at making changes to that as well.

Ms. Stotler commented that staff is looking into making methodology more precise and hope that those issues will not be there in the future. Allowing builders to move forward with “approved with comments” option for any conditions that may need to be addressed.

Mayor Pro Tem Orr thanked the YCCA Board for Home Show and their involvement in this process over the last several months.

Larry Meads - Prescott Resident and member of Advisory & Appeals Board, addressed Council regarding electrical items. He stated that tamper resistant receptacles in the code book need to be looked at for consistency of inspections.

Fred Oswald - Prescott Resident, addressed Council regarding homes in Willow Lake area and water line leaks in that area due to issues with improper sheltering of the lines. He also reiterated the importance of consistency in inspections.

Sandy Griffis - Prescott Resident and YCCA Boardmember, addressed Council regarding work of Community Development team to get these updates moving forward and the revitalization of the codes that were long overdue.

Councilman Blair asked at what point in time can we come back and make changes to items in the code book that are not working.

Ms. Stotler stated that adoptions are typically blanket adoptions, and it takes feedback of the industry to know what is not working, so staff will continue listening to the industry and if there are items that need to be repealed they will be brought back to Council for review.

Councilman Lamerson echoed Councilman Blair’s comments, and asked about a review of code updates by the Uniform Development Code Board (UDC).

City Manager Michael Lamar commented that the UDC was eliminated by Council as an advisory board 6-9 months ago.

Ms. Griffis also commented that she has begun a notebook of changes that the industry has requested and there will be upcoming changes and the YCCA continues to work with staff. It is a process, but it is moving forward.

City Attorney Jon Paladini discussed that the Advisory & Appeals Board is really in charge of these types of changes and the UDC was established to address Land Development Code. When it was determined that a wholesale rewrite of the Land Development Code was not going to be done, it made the UDC unnecessary and that is why the Board was disbanded, however, if there is determined to be a future need it could be re-established. In the meantime though the Advisory & Appeals Board continues to work on review and revisions and works with the industry as well.

Councilman Lamerson said he feels there is a lack of communication regarding what makes sense and what does not in our code.

Mr. Lamar commented that there is an ongoing dialogue with construction industry and the city as a regulatory agency. Issues can be addressed along the way, rather than all at one time on an every four year basis.

Ms. Griffis agreed and stated that communication is far better now than it has been in the past.

Councilman Sischka discussed the issues that his son, who is a contractor in the Valley, has experienced with dealing with Community Development Departments and receiving different responses from different staff members so if we can make that better in our department it would be a huge help. He also asked where other communities are on tamper proof receptacles.

Ms. Stotler said that the code does not mandate them in residential dwellings, they can be installed but consensus that Advisory & Appeals Board did not want to impose an additional requirement on the industry. They are a commercial requirement however.

Mike Enders - Prescott Resident and YCCA Board Member, addressed Council regarding his local custom home business by commending the City Manager and Mayor & Council on the implementation of positive changes amongst the departments in treating building and general public as clients. Staff does a great job of implementing this, they took industry concerns and comments into consideration.