Sherman moves to update building code for first time in a decade

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
The Sherman City Council is considering adoption of new international building codes for the first time since 2011.

After nearly a decade, Sherman is looking to update its building code. The City Council recently received an update on proposed changes to building regulations that would bring the city up to date with international and other industry-standard code-setting regulations.

The update will take the city away from the 2009 codes – which were adopted in 2011 – and update it to the most recent standard, which was approved and published in 2018.

"Many builders are beginning to use the 2018 code already just because our partners to the south are already requiring this, so we are running into that issue," Sherman Development Services Director Rob Rae said.

The push to update the city's code comes following the city's budget workshop in June when members of the council voice approval of proposed updates to the city Fire Prevention and Protection Code.

"As a part of that update, we were tasked with on the building side also looking at the residence code, building code and everything outside of the fire code as well," Rae said.

The update brings more than 300 new additions to the code, including 100 changes to plumbing and gas guidelines.

Another significant change in the code comes to guidelines regarding spas and pools, which were previous an integrated part of international guidelines. Now, in 2020, the sections related to pools and spas instead refer to a separate international code specific to these items.

With this change, the city will now need to adopt this separate pool code.

Council member Pam Howeth asked if any of these changes, including the pool code, would be a surprised or undue hardship on local developers.

Sherman Building Official Larry Bollier said most developers, especially those who work in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex already are familiar with these updates.

"Everyone else is used to it, we are just the ones who are behind right now," Bollier said.

Other concerns were raised about how this would affect existing buildings that were compliant under previous code. Bollier said these buildings should raise no issues and do not need to worry about the new code as it would not apply unless significant changes in use or major renovations took place.

 "They are pretty well safe where they are at," he said.

Council member Josh Stevenson, who has previous work in the engineering field, lauded the recommended update as a simple way to increase safety in Sherman construction.

Many of buildings being made by builders who work to the south are designed for these standards. However, when they are built in Sherman, these features are left out, he said.

"It won't be any additional cost to them because that's what these houses are designed for," Stevenson said. "From that standpoint, it is a no-brainer to increase it because we are getting safer houses for our citizens are no real additional cost."

 The updates are expected to be adopted in a future City Council meeting.