The book 2018 Select IRC® Options For Use With The 2015 Michigan Residential Code (MRC) is now available for purchase at a discounted price from the Home Builders Association of Michigan’s website.

While state law requires builders and remodelers to have a copy of the current Michigan Residential Code as a condition of holding a license, there is no requirement anyone have a copy of the 2018 Options book. But, the book does identify 35 options your state association’s code committee believes might save you time and/or money in using.

Why, if it’s not required, would you want to buy a copy of the 2018 Options book? Because you can submit the relevant section(s) of the book to your building official or inspector as a permitted alternative to the requirements of the 2015 MRC. You will need to prove that you are allowed to use the selected alternative building method.

In 2012 Governor Snyder signed the “Flex Code” legislation into law. If the state did not update the current edition of the Michigan Residential Code to the next published

edition a builder, remodeler, electrical, plumber, mechanical contractor or designer involved in one and two family homes and townhouse could voluntarily use portions of the unadopted code.

Building officials and inspectors must, under the law, allow the use of a selected section and cannot force the use of any other section of the 2018 code book unless it is specifically referenced in the section (not chapter) they wish to use.

After the state chose to stay with the 2015 edition of the Michigan Residential Code and skip the adoption of the 2018 version, the Home Builders Association of Michigan’s Building Code Committee reviewed the entire 2018 International Residential Code.

While you can use any section(s) of the 2018 IRC you wish, the 2018 Options book does not cover every change found in the 2018 IRC, only the 35 sections the HBAM Building Code Committee felt offered the most flexibility and utility for builders, electricians, plumbers and mechanical contractors.

Each of the selected code sections identifies any change as newly added text, a modification or clarification of the existing language or deleted text. Accompanying each change is a photograph, detailed illustration or comprehensive example. The Options book contains:

• Clarification of code language via full-color illustrations, photographs or examples to enhance comprehension of each change

• A detailed table of contents, part summaries, change summaries, and in-depth discussion of the change significance.

• Clear notations of all key changes, including deleted code language shown with a strike-through and new code text indicated as underlined text

A full copy of the entire 2018 International Residential Code sells on the International Code Council’s website for $144. The ICC’s website sells the 2018 Options book for $32.00. The book is available through HBAM at a cost of 25.50 for a hard copy or $22.00 in PDF format. Discounted copies may only be purchased through HBAM’s website.

Is it worth it? That’s really up to you. But consider this: A study from Home Innovations Research Labs found that, depending on the size and location of your home, the 2018 option for allowing ducts to be buried within ceiling insulation could save you $731.00 in costs while the 2018 option for performance modeling buried ducts as if they were inside conditioned space could save as much as $4,064 in costs. Both these changes and the requirements for taking advantage of these changes may be found in the 2018 Options book.