Updated building code will ease requirements
More "user-friendly" buildings and simpler construction requirements for single-family homes are among the changes in an updated building code that has been signed into law by Mayor Mufi Hannemann.
Honolulu is the first county in the state to adopt the 2003 International Building Code and International Residential Code as part of the local construction mandates. But Hawaii is the last state in the country to adopt the code.
Oahu architects, engineers, contractors, real estate agents, labor officials and other building industry representatives have been working for four years to update Honolulu's building code, the city said.
"There was a requirement that it go to the community at large, and in doing so it required input from a lot of members of the community," said Tim Hiu, city acting building division chief.
Hiu said the code goes into effect in 90 days. "Any applications, if they choose to, still can continue to use the old building code -- there's a transition of 90 calendar days."
The code allows buildings to be designed in a more "user-friendly" way without sacrificing safety requirements, Hiu said.
"We'll start seeing these buildings and we won't even kind of notice it," Hiu said.
Some of the other changes include updating seismic and wind requirements and recognizing the use of new construction materials.
Hannemann signed the new law Wednesday. The last time the code was updated was 10 years ago.