- House: 78-40 in favor of the bill.
- Senate: 27-17 in favor.
- Six House Democrats joined the majority vote.
Core Elements of the Bill:
- Delays energy efficiency standards pushed by Gov. Cooper until 2026.
- Reorganizes the state’s Building Code Council into two separate entities: one for residential codes and one for commercial codes.
- Transitioning from the Residential 1-2 Family Code to the 1-4 Family Code, a shift that facilitates:
- More affordable triplexes and quad homes
- Fewer opportunities for NIMBYs and local governments to block denser housing
- More opportunities for urban planning
- Rep. Mark Brody, the bill’s sponsor, says the previous state code made building multifamily units under commercial codes prohibitively expensive. The new bill would reduce costs by shifting multifamily construction to a new residential code.
- Brody received positive feedback from cities like Raleigh and Charlotte.
- Delayed energy efficiency standards might increase home construction costs. Estimates vary:
- North Carolina Homebuilders Association: Increases of about $20,400 per home.
- U.S. Department of Energy: Up to $6,500 per home (though costs would be recouped in about four years from energy savings).
- Gov. Cooper warns that the delay in improved standards could hinder the state’s ability to obtain federal disaster funds.
- Some Democrats believe the bill’s restructuring might violate the state’s separation of powers.
The Bigger Picture: Discussion surrounding House Bill 488 centers on two pivotal issues for North Carolina: tackling the affordable housing challenge and promoting homes that are both energy-efficient and resilient to disasters. While the bill isn’t flawless and would benefit from earlier implementation of the energy efficiency standards, the revisions to the building code is an massive YIMBY victory