New codes mean higher building costs

BOULDER – Builders are expected to pay about 2 percent more for new construction and 10 percent more on remodeling projects when the city of Boulder’s new building codes go into effect Friday, Jan. 31.

Most of the revised codes center around improving energy efficiency, according to Dave Thacker, Boulder’s building services manager and chief building official.

Insulation, windows and heating and cooling systems are areas where builders can do more work to meet the increased regulations, Thacker said. Since each building project is different, Thacker suggests builders and others look up more details about the code update at the city’s planning website,

The increased costs are based on a consultant’s estimate, Thacker said.

To help builders and others understand how the code updates might affect them, city officials have held three workshops, Thacker said. A fourth one is scheduled for and others are expected to be scheduled for February, he said.

Tonight’s workshop will be about the city’s plumbing, mechanical systems and fuel gas code. It will be held at 6 p.m. at the Boulder Municipal Service Center at 5050 Pearl St.

While some people have expressed frustration at the new code requirements, Thacker said he doesn’t think the code will negatively impact growth or construction activity in Boulder.

“The economy is getting better, and people are realizing that for every penny they put in up front, the payoff is better down the road with less money spent on utilities on the back-end,” Thacker said. “Sometimes it’s not fun to pay up front. (But) quite honestly with the way climate change has been and things have been going throughout the nation, this is one step people are willing to take.”

Boulder city council members approved the code updates on Oct. 1. City officials have a goal of having a “net zero energy” city by 2031. “Net zero energy” is a term used to apply to anything that puts out as much energy as it takes in.

To RSVP for the workshop, contact Karlin Goggin at 303-441-4053.

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