In 2002, the code council signed an agreement with the National Association of Home Builders — which represents 140,000 builders, suppliers and others in the industry — that gives the association the right to select four of the 11 voting members of the committee responsible for the International Residential Code, which governs home construction. (The other members are chosen by the code council directly and tend to be a mix of government officials and others who work in the building industry.)
The confidential agreement’s existence has long been a subject of speculation among people who work on building codes. When contacted by The Times, the council initially denied having an agreement with homebuilders. It later acknowledged the agreement and defended it as appropriate, while declining to provide a copy.
When presented with a summary of the agreement from Mr. Ballo, the council confirmed that the summary was accurate.
While four seats out of 11 on the residential building-code committee is a clear minority, it provides considerable power, critics of the arrangement say. Advocates for any change opposed by the homebuilders must win the support of six of the committee’s seven remaining voting members.
“It really makes it difficult for the advancement of energy efficiency,” said Ron Jones, a former board member at the association who is critical of its position on codes.
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