Manitou council addresses building code ordinance adoption

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City officials and others tour Manitou’s water treatment plant in 2021. (File photo)

By William J. Dagendesh

On Feb. 28, Manitou Springs City Council discussed Ordinance 0223: Repealing and Reenacting Chapter 15.04 of the city’s Municipal Code to adopt the 2023 edition of the Pikes Peak Regional Building Code.

The discussion was planned to consider adopting the 2023 edition of the PPRBC and the latest international codes. The state requires adoption of the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code with the goal to increase energy efficiency and reduce operating costs over a building’s lifetime.

As amended, the proposed IECC meets Colorado requirements as long as the adoption, including the effective dates of the 2023 PPRBC, is completed no later than June 30, 2023.

In 1966, an intergovernmental agreement between the city of Colorado Springs and El Paso County established the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department as a governmental entity. It was designed to provide uniform service to their jurisdictions.

Five suburban jurisdictions, including Manitou Springs, entered into the same service agreement for the administration and enforcement of their building and construction codes.

Every three years, the International Code Council revises the international codes, which are regarded as the model for construction codes used throughout the United States. All member jurisdictions adopted the current version of the PPRBC during the first and second quarters of 2018.

According to PPRBD representative Roger Lovell, this region has historically adopted new model codes on a six-year cycle. The 2023 PPRBC and IC recognize new construction practices, technology and increase in life safety and energy efficiency, and maintain compliance with statutory requirements.

However, the 2023 PPRBC adopts and amends the 2021 IIEC, which will increase the initial cost of construction and is required by state statute.

“The goal is to have one building code that works across all boundaries,” Lovell said.

PPRBD attorney Virjinia Koultchitzka said the definition for “historic structure” is consistent with PPRBC, and that it has not been revised to match the city code or any recent revisions.

“(City attorney) Jeff Parker has reviewed the ordinance and, at least, has approved the preliminary draft,” Koultchitzka said.

Planning Director Hannah Van Nimwegen-McGuire added, “We reviewed the draft ordinance and there is not a significant change in our day-to-day operation. We are supportive of the adoption and don’t have any concerns.”

The goal is to have one building code that works across all boundaries. — Roger Lovell

In a Jan. 23 letter to Lovell, Mark Reyner, president of the Housing and Building Association, and Kort Henderson, HBA Code Review Committee chair, said the Colorado Springs HBA promotes and supports policies that allow for the production of safe and attainable housing for all aspects of the community.

“As you know, building professionals who are participants of the HBA Code Review Committee have spent more than a year reviewing the code changes. They have worked alongside RBD and other agency partners to come to a consensus that allows for reasonable construction practices while working towards our common goal of energy conservation,” Reyner and Henderson wrote.

“We appreciate RBD’s acknowledgment of upcoming codes that will be implemented from the state energy board, and their willingness to offer the building community this interim code that allows both the industry and the market to transition before we are required to adopt more stringent and costly codes.”

Reyner and Henderson added that the HBA represents 120 builders, remodelers and developer member companies. In 2022, these members pulled more than 80 percent of all single-family home-building permits through the RBD in the Pikes Peak region. The HBA includes 465 companies representing more than 8,000 related jobs in all aspects of the building industry.

“This positions the HBA and its members as having the highest level of expertise on the impacts of these code changes. … The bottom line for our members … is we are working to meet the housing needs of the Pikes Peak region while building to standards that promote life safety and attainability,” Reyner and Henderson wrote.

Council plans to hold first and second hearings later this month.

Also, Deputy City Administrator Roy Chaney gave an update on water plant maintenance projects completed in 2022 and what projects are planned for 2023.

According to Chaney, the water treatment plant went through a state inspection process in 2022 and several deficiencies were discovered. The city contracted with Colorado Springs-based JDS Hydro Consultants Inc. to assist in bringing these issues up to code within the resolution due dates. All deficiencies have been remedied, Chaney said.

The 2022 projects include improving the chlorine system, adding new analyzers for daily testing, and testing and repairing plant generators. All electrical breakers were tested and updated, and vibration analyses of pumps and motors were conducted.

Also, the French Creek generator was replaced, and improvements were made to communications antennas, intruder alarms, security cameras and cyber-security (firewall). The water plant is expected to provide safe and quality water for the public for years.

Staff will work on improving existing conditions to return the plant to a reliable operating system through 2023 and beyond.

“We’re following everything that the state is requiring when it comes to copper and lead as well. …We are confident we’re on the right track,” Chaney said.

John Elwell from the water treatment plant conducted a PowerPoint presentation that showed the 2023 proposed projects, which include replacing the existing coagulant chemical feed system, replacing the existing soda ash chemical feed system, replacing four to six filter valves and electric valve actuators, and replacing aging and non-functional instrumentation.

According to Elwell, the state can issue fines if there are significant deficiencies or violations in a water treatment plant or distribution system.

“In 2022, we had six significant deficiencies and two violations, and those have been remediated. We won’t have another audit for two years. We’re doing a lot to get us in a good situation so we will look good as compared to maybe last year,” Elwell said.

Elwell complimented JDS Hydro staffers for their willingness to work with the water treatment plant.

“JDS Hydro brings a lot to the table. They have a lot of experience in the water treatment industry and we have them to fall back on when we don’t have the answers,” Elwell said.

Council members commented on the presentation.

“As one of our most basic services, I have been a bit nervous about this, so you have helped increased my confidence,” said Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Fortuin.

Mayor John Graham added, “I take a certain amount of comfort knowing our water is primary water. It’s coming down off slopes of Pikes Peak, not through someone else’s system. We have outstanding water to begin with.”

City Administrator Denise Howell reported that nearly all projects came in under budget.

“This is due to John and (team members) being fiscally responsible and checking everything possible to see if they could find a less expensive way to do it,” Howell said.

Elwell added, “We got a lot of things fixed and are now going in the right direction.”

Council’s next regular meeting is planned for 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 7.

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