North Carolina Building Codes

Current Commercial Code of North Carolina

north calorina building codes

2018 North Carolina Building Code
Based on the 2018 International Building Code with state-specific amendments; includes adoption of the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) also with state-specific amendments. ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2016 is an acceptable compliance path through Chapter 5 of the IECC.
Adopted and effective as of January 1, 2019.

The commercial provisions of this code continue to focus on building envelope performance. The updated requirements enhance energy efficiency by implementing higher R-values for ceilings, walls, floors, and slabs, and by specifying improved window performance with lower U-factors and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) standards. Efficient lighting and mechanical system improvements play a larger role under the new code. Additionally, the latest code mandates designers to select at least one of several advanced energy efficiency options for each new building. The North Carolina Department of Insurance has estimated that the commercial provisions of the 2018 NCECC meet or exceed the requirements of ASHRAE 90.1-2016, demonstrating a comprehensive approach to energy conservation across various building aspects

See Development and Implementation of an Improved Energy Code for North Carolina for more information.

2018 North Carolina Existing Building Code

Adoption Info

Effective dates January 1, 2019 – Present

Adopts with amendments International Existing Building Code 2015 (IEBC 2015)

Overview The International Existing Building Code (IEBC) sets standards for the rehabilitation, alteration, and maintenance of existing buildings.

The 2018 North Carolina Existing Building Code is derived from the International Existing Building Code 2015 (IEBC 2015) with specific state amendments and additions.

2018 North Carolina Fire Prevention Code

Adoption Info

Effective dates January 1, 2019 – Present

Adopts with amendments International Fire Code 2015 (IFC 2015)

Overview The International Fire Code (IFC) establishes regulations for fire prevention, protection, and safety.

The 2018 North Carolina Fire Prevention Code is based on the International Fire Code 2015 (IFC 2015) with state-specific amendments and additions.

2018 North Carolina Plumbing Code

Adoption Info

Effective dates January 1, 2019 – Present

Adopts with amendments International Plumbing Code 2015 (IPC 2015)

Overview The International Plumbing Code (IPC) provides comprehensive regulations for plumbing system design, installation, and inspection.

The 2018 North Carolina Plumbing Code is derived from the International Plumbing Code 2015 (IPC 2015) with amendments and additions specific to North Carolina.

2018 North Carolina Mechanical Code

Adoption Info

Effective dates January 1, 2019 – Present

Adopts with amendments International Mechanical Code 2015 (IMC 2015)

Overview The International Mechanical Code (IMC) outlines standards for the design, installation, and maintenance of mechanical systems.

The 2018 North Carolina Mechanical Code is based on the International Mechanical Code 2015 (IMC 2015) with specific amendments and additions tailored to North Carolina.

2018 North Carolina Fuel Gas Code

Adoption Info

Effective dates January 1, 2019 – Present

Adopts with amendments International Fuel Gas Code 2015 (IFGC 2015)

Overview The International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC) provides regulations for the installation and maintenance of fuel gas piping systems, appliances, and related accessories.

The 2018 North Carolina Fuel Gas Code is based on the International Fuel Gas Code 2015 (IFGC 2015) with state-specific amendments and additions.

2018 North Carolina Energy Conservation Code

Adoption Info

Effective dates January 1, 2019 – Present

Adopts with amendments International Energy Conservation Code 2015 (IECC 2015)

Overview The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) establishes minimum design and construction requirements for energy efficiency.

The 2018 North Carolina Energy Conservation Code is based on the International Energy Conservation Code 2015 (IECC 2015) with amendments and additions specific to North Carolina.

North Carolina Storm Shelter Code 2014

Adoption Info

Effective dates January 1, 2015 – Present

Adopts with amendments ICC/NSSA Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters (ICC 500-2014)

Overview The ICC/NSSA Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters (ICC 500) sets forth requirements for the design, construction, and installation of storm shelters to ensure occupant safety during extreme weather events.

The North Carolina Storm Shelter Code 2014 is based on the ICC 500-2014 standard with state-specific amendments and additions tailored to North Carolina’s needs.

North Carolina Accessibility Code 2009

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2010 ADA Standards

Adoption Info

 

Effective dates

March 15, 2012 – Present

 

Official title

2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design

 

Overview

The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design set the minimum requirements for accessible facilities, ensuring equal access for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, commercial facilities, and state and local government buildings.

 

The 2010 ADA Standards provide comprehensive guidelines to create environments that are accessible and usable by people with disabilities, addressing a wide range of architectural elements and spaces.

2020 North Carolina Electrical Code

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2017 North Carolina Electrical Code

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North Carolina Fire Sprinkler Code 2013

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North Carolina Fire Alarm Code 2013

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North Carolina Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents, and Solid Fuel-burning Appliances Code 2013

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North Carolina Fire Wall Code 2015

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North Carolina Stationary Fuel Cell Power Code 2015

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2020 North Carolina Electrical Code

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North Carolina Refrigeration System Safety Code 2019

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North Carolina Refrigerant Classification Code 2019

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North Carolina Commercial Energy Code 2013

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North Carolina Elevator and Escalator Code 2019

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North Carolina Existing Elevator and Escalator Code 2020

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North Carolina Wind Turbine Tower Elevator Code 2016

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North Carolina Belt Manlift Code 2015

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North Carolina Hospitals and Outpatient Facilities Design Code 2014

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North Carolina Structural Concrete Code 2014

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North Carolina Concrete Thin Shells Code 2014

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North Carolina Residential Structural Concrete Code 2014

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North Carolina Post-Installed Adhesive Anchors in Concrete Code 2011

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North Carolina Unbonded Single-Strand Tendon Materials Code 2014

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North Carolina Special Unbonded Post-Tensioned Precast Structural Walls Code, 2007

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North Carolina Seismic Steel Construction Code 2010

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North Carolina Steel Construction Code 2010

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North Carolina Cold-Formed Steel Structural Member Code 2012

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North Carolina Wood Construction Wind and Seismic Code 2015

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North Carolina Administrative Code 2018

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North Carolina Typical Timber Construction Details Code 2003

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North Carolina Structural Glued Laminated Timber Appearance Grades Code 2001

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North Carolina Structural Glued Laminated Timber Dimensions Code 2010

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North Carolina Structural Glued Laminated Timber of Hardwood Species Specifications Code 1996

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North Carolina Power Assist and Low Energy Power Operated Doors Code 2013

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North Carolina Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment Code 2009

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Fair Housing Act Design Manual

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OSHA 1904 Recordkeeping

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Current Residential Code

Based on the 2018 IRC with state-specific strengthening amendments
Passed and effective as of January 1, 2019

 


Code Adoption and Change Process

Code Change Process

Regulatory (and Legislative): New code editions are generally promulgated by rule after being reviewed by the North Carolina Building Code Council. The state legislature, however, also retains the power pass legislation updating the state’s building codes.

Code Change Cycle

The North Carolina Building Code Council reviews editions of the ICC codes, including the IECC, as they are published on three-year cycles, but there is no automatic update requirement.

Next Code Update

North Carolina Building Codes is set for 2024


History

2024 Expected adoption of the 2021 International Codes (I-Codes), including the International Building Code (IBC) and International Residential Code (IRC), with North Carolina-specific amendments. This update emphasizes advancements in safety, energy efficiency, and technology integration in building practices.
January 1, 2015 An amendment to the 2012 NC Energy Conservation Code replacing references to ASHRAE 90.1-2007 with ASHRAE 90.1-2010 becomes effective. This adoption adds a new alternative compliance path for commercial buildings. It only replaces 501.1 Item 2 as a compliance path; other existing methods – 501.1 Item 1, NC specific COMcheck, and Section 507 – are still valid.
September 2014 DOE announces North Carolina as one of eight states that will participate in a three-year residential energy code field study. The North Carolina Energy Efficiency Alliance will help coordinate the outreach phase.
March 11, 2014 The North Carolina Building Code Council (NCBCC) votes to replace the existing three-year building code cycle with a six-year cycle for all codes besides the National Electric Code (NEC).
January 1, 2012 The 2012 North Carolina Energy Conservation Code (NCECC), based on the 2009 IECC with substantial strengthening amendments, becomes effective. This code iteration achieves significant energy savings in residential and commercial buildings beyond the state’s previous energy code.
June 24, 2011 Governor Beverly Perdue signs Senate Bill 708 into law, approving a new energy code for residential and commercial buildings. This includes the High Efficiency Residential Option (HERO) Appendix which delivers a 30% improvement in minimum energy efficiency.
January 12, 2011 NC Policy Watch publishes an article on the code changes: “Codes, compromises and hidden costs”.
December 14, 2010 The NCBCC agrees to adopt a compromise to update the state’s energy code as part of the 2012 North Carolina State Building Codes, achieving energy savings beyond the 2006 IECC.
September 14, 2010 The NCBCC votes 8-6 to defer any action on the adoption of the state’s proposed new energy code until the next code update cycle concludes in 2015.
March 9, 2010 The NCBCC votes to adopt the 2009 I-Codes, including the 2009 IECC with North Carolina amendments.
July 1, 2009 The 2009 NCECC, based on the 2006 IECC (and referencing ASHRAE 90.1-2004 for commercial buildings) becomes effective.
April 6, 2009 House Bill 1127 is filed, proposing the adoption of more stringent building code provisions related to energy conservation, but eventually dies in the House.
September 9, 2008 Governor Mike Easley announces that North Carolina is one of six states to win a federal grant to advance building codes.
July 1, 2006 The 2006 NCECC, based on the 2003 IECC, becomes effective.
December 31, 2001 The 2002 NCECC, based on the 2000 IECC, becomes effective.
December 1973 The NCBCC adopts the SBCC Standard Building Code insulating standards as statewide standards, which take effect on January 1, 1978.

Contacts

Len Hoey
Energy Engineering Manager
North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality
Email: len.hoey@ncdenr.gov

Billy Hinton, Jr.
Chief Energy Code Consultant
North Carolina Department of Insurance
Email: billy.hinton@ncdoi.gov

Sareena Nagpal
Energy Codes Manager
Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA)
Email: snagpal@seealliance.org


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