New building code for Amarillo area homes

New building code for Amarillo area homes

Amarillo, TX -  A little more money up front, but with long term savings. That is the new focus for home builders in the Amarillo area.

The City of Amarillo and some local construction companies say it is a trade off. An updated residential building code could mean more expenses but there are some positives.

The Texas Panhandle Builder's Association met today to discuss what changes are in store with the new 2012 residential building code. A major focus is energy efficiency.

"The energy code that's mandated by the federal government is going to probably be the primary area that's going to affect the way we construct houses," Construction company owner, Ron Connally, said. "The type of insulation values that we use to actually construct what we call the "envelope" or the actual body of the house."

It may mean more expenses.

"Those components, you know are going to be sort of a nickel and dime type process," Connally said. "The heating units might cost more. The insulation value, as far as how we build it, might cost us a little more."

However, it also means long term savings.

"Well, energy efficiency is a long term payback and, ultimately, reducing the cost of a person's monthly bill equated to the mortgage that person may be paying is a huge benefit," City of Amarillo building official, Scott McDonald, said.

Other changes are also on the way.

"Some of the codes have safety and health repercussions that are required and some of those may be more expensive or more restrictive but, ultimately, the tradeoff is the protection of the citizen," McDonald said.

Despite added expenses, many local home builders are accepting of the changes but want to stay informed, just in case.

"I feel like if we keep going this route, if we're not careful, we're going to get the homes to the point where they're not affordable and that it's going to hurt our industry," Mandy Catrite, with KMC homes, said.

City officials hope the 2012 code will take effect by the end of the year.