NMHC/NAA Viewpoint The apartment industry supports building codes and standards that are technologically feasible, cost effective and reflective of the unique needs of multifamily buildings.
Building codes and industry standards have an important role in the apartment sector. They establish minimum requirements for the design, construction, alteration and maintenance of apartment buildings.
The apartment industry supports the use of model codes and standards, which are developed and published by independent organizations such as the International Code Council, National Fire Protection Association, American Society of Heating, and the Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.
These codes provide uniformity and relieve state and local jurisdictions from the burden of creating individual building codes. However, they are not in effect or enforceable until a state or local jurisdiction adopts them in whole or in part.
Because of the uniqueness of multifamily buildings-they are both commercial and residential structures-proposals often surface during the code development process that have practical impacts for apartment properties and tangible costs associated with implementing new codes.
Unnecessarily increasing the construction costs of apartment communities limits the affordability of rental units and aggravates the shortage of housing, particularly affordable housing, that already exists in the U.S. Harvard University research estimates that the market is short at least 5.1 million affordable housing units.
Several issue areas raise significant and distinct concerns for apartment properties. These include fire safety requirements, energy efficiency measures, accessibility and green building requirements.
The apartment industry is affected by 15 international model codes and dozens of industry standards.