In a nine-to -six vote, the North Carolina State Building Code Council on March 11 approved moving the commercial building code (except for the electrical code) to a six-year cycle for updating instead of a three-year cycle. The electrical code will continue to be updated every three years, with the remainder of the commercial code mirroring the six-year residential code update approved last year.

The motion to move the code to a six-year cycle from the current three-year cycle, and be in sync with the residential code, was made by Robbie Davis, a Rocky Mount general contractor and new member of the council.

"I think it would be very confusing to operate on two different code cycles," Davis, owner of Turn-Key Contractors, told council members before the vote. "I think we would have a lot of disconnect." Davis also said that keeping code uniformity for six years would save costs and benefit "less-fortunate counties," including eastern North Carolina.

Alan Perdue, a fire services representative of the council, disagreed with Davis. "As changes come, who is going to document them? I just see a lot of confusion as an inspector. North Carolina is progressive in its code process. We will not be in that category."

The controversial issue has been simmering for months.

At the council's Dec. 10 meeting, Dave Simpson, NC governmental relations and building director at Carolinas AGC (CAGC), told council members that CAGC members were divided on the issue. He said that while some CAGC members favored updating the code every three years to keep it more current, others noted that the code still could be amended at council meetings.

Most speakers at a public hearing then testified in favor of keeping the three-year cycle for the commercial code in place. The council deferred a vote on the issue until yesterday.