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Local & Regional

City of Tulsa Building Codes About to Change a Bit

tulsa_city_hall.jpg
Matt Trotter
/
KWGS

City councilors are working to adopt several changes to Tulsa’s building codes.

The updates deal with one- and two-family dwellings, manufactured homes and swimming pools. Most are not substantive changes — and in some cases, it’s something already on the books but worded differently — but Building Official Yuen Ho said if the city doesn’t adopt them, its rating with insurers will slip.

"And so, the insurance rate that's taken out for these new homes that are not built to the new code, they will suffer those losses in terms of their insurance rate," Ho said. "Their premium will go up substantially."

One of the biggest changes is requiring a regular door for outside access to and from a garage. Ho said it's a safety matter in case an overhead garage door can’t be opened.

"For example, in a tornado, they may have just pulled in or whatever, and that door got jammed and there's no way for them to find a different door to get out of that garage," Ho said. "So, the provision for the side door is just to give that secondary means of egress."

Homeowners won’t need to do any retrofitting unless they’re planning a project that requires city permits.

"If I have an existing home and I make changes and alterations to it, what I do as far as the new construction has to comply with the current code," Ho said.

City officials have held several meetings with local contractors and builders to make them aware of the changes. They told city councilors builders haven't pushed back against them.