In November of 2008, the Alabama Building Commission adopted the 2006 IECC as the mandatory code for buildings constructed or remodeled using state funds. Enforcement of the new code began on December 1, 2008.
The Alabama Building Commission must adopt revisions to the code that affect state-funded buildings. For buildings other than those that are state-owned or -funded, the local government must adopt and implement the RECA code. Local adoption generally occurs through a vote of the city council or county commission. Depending on the form of government, the mayor may be required to sign the law.
For state-owned or -funded buildings, the design professional works with the Alabama Building Commission to establish compliance. For all other buildings, units of local government enforce compliance. If a local government adopts the 1995 Model Energy Code (MEC), the code requirements are enforced through the permit/inspection process for new construction and additions. Depending on the size of the local government unit, the same office may perform plan reviews and inspections.
For state-owned or-funded buildings, the Alabama Building Commission reviews plans and specifications to ensure compliance. For other buildings in localities that have adopted an energy code, compliance is addressed through the normal permit process. Typically, plans are submitted and reviewed and buildings are inspected during construction.
Prior to July 31, 1995, cities and counties in Alabama were free to adopt energy codes as they deemed appropriate. Most cities and counties that chose to adopt an energy code selected Appendix E of the 1994 Standard Building Code (SBC) or a prior edition of the SBC. Appendix E allows alternatives to complying with the 1995 MEC, including ASHRAE Standard 90.1-1989 for commercial buildings and ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90A-1980 and ASHRAE/IES Standard 90B-1975 for residential buildings.
On July 31, 1995, the Governor of Alabama signed House Bill (HB) 616. HB 616 requires cities and counties that choose to adopt a residential building energy code to adopt the 1993 Council of American Building Officials (CABO) MEC or its successors. HB 616 defines the MEC as follows: "The 1993 Edition of the Model Energy Code as prepared and maintained by the Council of American Building Officials, or any subsequent editions, changes, or recompilations thereof, or any other energy code, which the board has officially adopted."
HB 616 created the Alabama Residential Energy Code Board to promote the use and implementation of the MEC in Alabama. The Board advises the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) on implementation activities and provides for the mandatory implementation of and adherence to the MEC if a unit of local government chooses to adopt it in whole or in part. ADECA reported passage of the bill to the U.S. Department of Energy as part of their residential energy code certification under the Energy Policy Act of 1992 in a second certification letter dated August 8, 1995.
The 2004 Alabama Building Energy Conservation Code (ABECC) for state-funded buildings was adopted by the Alabama Building Commission on January 1, 2005, and is based on ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2001.
After an attempt in the state legislature to require the 2006 IECC for commercial buildings failed in the state Senate, a joint resolution established the 2006 IECC as the recommended code for the state of Alabama. Effective December 1, 2008, all new construction within the jurisdiction of the state building commission (state-funded buildings) became subject to the 2006 IECC.
Alabama legislation signed March 9, 2010, changed the Alabama Residential Energy Code Board to Alabama Energy and Residential Codes Board. The Model Energy Code was replaced with Alabama Energy and Residential Codes, which allows modern building and energy codes in compliance with federal law to be implemented by counties and municipalities.
On January 26, 2010, the House unanimously passed HB 264, which provided a process for the statewide adoption of codes. On February 9, 2010, the bill was amended on the floor of the Senate and approved. On March 2, 2010, the House passed a committee substitute bill which the Senate concurred the same day. The bill was signed on March 9, 2010.
On November 7, 2011, the Alabama Energy and Residential Codes Board voted to adopt the 2009 IECC for Commercial Buildings and the 2009 IRC for Residential Construction. The new codes will become effective on October 1, 2012.
Alabama's amendments to the 2009 IRC include deletion of the section for protection of exposed foundation insulation, addition of a section stating that local jurisdiction above-code programs must be approved by the AERC Board, making the panel certificate voluntary rather than mandatory, amending the insulation and fenestration requirements to match the 2009 IECC, deleting requirements for slab-on-grade insulation and programmable thermostats, and delaying R-8 duct insulation and duct testing requirements to July 1, 2013.