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MA BBRS; follow new Stretch Code + 2021 IECC + MA Amendments

Posted by Mark Paskell on Wed, Jan 18, 2023 @ 04:08 PM

Today, MA BBRS sent out a notice regarding the new Stretch Code with instruction to also follow the 2021 IECC and MA Amendments. This applies in Massachusetts stretch code cities and towns. The new code was developed by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, not the BBRS.

For several years, in my CSL CEU training classes, I have informed my students that these significant changes were coming. Now they are here, and many CSL's are caught off guard including building inspectors.

To ensure clarity, I am proving a complete copy of the BBRS message today with the MDOER Stretch Code attachment unedited. 

Email from BBRS 1/18/22

Good morning: 

Attached please find guidance shared by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) regarding the new Stretch Energy Code, 225 CMR, that took effect on January 1, 2023. In addition to the attached guidance, additional information may be found here. Questions regarding the Stretch Energy Code should be directed to the Department of Energy Resources.

 In addition, please be advised that 527 CMR, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Fire Safety Code, 527 CMR, has been updated and went into effect on December 9, 2022.  That code may be found here. Questions regarding the Fire Safety Code should be directed to the Department of Fire Services.

Users of these codes are reminded that for purposes of Certificates of Occupancy, Building Officials must require compliance with specialized codes per M.G.L. c. 143, §96, which includes the Fire Safety Code as well as the Stretch Energy Code. Accordingly, it is incumbent on code users to become familiar with both codes. 

Finally, please be advised that on October 11, 2022, the BBRS voted to promulgate the draft 10th Edition Massachusetts amendments to 780 CMR, the State Building Code.  The draft 10th Edition Massachusetts amendments may be found here.  These draft amendments are currently undergoing administrative review and have not yet been finalized. They are next scheduled to be reviewed by the Building Code Coordinating Council during its January 2023 meeting.

Thank you for taking the time to review these important updates.

Respectfully, Richard Baldacci CBO, Chief of Inspections

Office of Public Safety, Building, Engineering, and Trade Inspections

Letter from MDOER attached to BBRS email on Stretch Code Guidance

Please review the following letter attached to the BBRS email, from the MDOER. I will be providing more posts about what this means for Construction Supervisors License holders and homeowners. 

Clarification on timing of Building Energy Codes in effect in Massachusetts

Dear Stretch Code Stakeholders and Building Officials, DOER_JPEG_300dpi

In December the Secretary of State’s office officially promulgated new building energy code regulations updating the Stretch energy code and making available a new Specialized stretch energy code option for municipal adoption.

January 1, 2023 was the beginning of a series of updates to the building energy codes to be enforced in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Federation of Building Officials on behalf of their members requested clarification on what building energy codes are in effect at this time and on future effective dates.

With the BBRS currently working on the adoption of a full 10th edition of the building code based on the ICC 2021 suite of code books, there will be a period of time where the Stretch energy code based on the 2021 model code is in effect prior to the main BBRS administered building code moving to the 2021 editions. This email seeks to clarify the effective dates for ease of reference for building officials and all users of the energy code:

1.    Non-stretch code communities (50 towns and cities in MA) 

IECC2018 + 780CMR chapters 13 and IRC chapter 11

These 50 communities remain on the 9th edition MA amended IECC2018 until the 10th edition MA building code is finalized by the BBRS and promulgated by the Secretary of State. Copies of current MA front-end amendments are available on the BBRS website and an integrated energy code book containing the IECC 2018 with MA amendments together is available to view (or purchase) from the ICC here:

2.     Stretch code communities (300 cities and towns)

Residential Low-rise code: IECC2021 + 225CMR 22

The Residential low-rise Stretch energy code was updated effective January 1, 2023 to the IECC2021 residential code (also IRC2021 chapter 11) with MA stretch code amendments. The location of the MA amendments has moved from 780CMR appendix 115.aa to 225 CMR 22. Copies are available from the State bookstore or from the DOER website in PDF format.

Commercial (and all other buildings) Stretch energy code: The Commercial Stretch energy code update is published and available, however the effective date is July 1, 2023. Similar to the updated residential low-rise stretch energy code this is the IECC2021 commercial code with MA amendments and has moved from 780CMR appendix 115.aa to 225CMR 23.

Prior to July 1, 2023 new permit applications for commercial buildings may follow the 9th edition stretch energy code based on the IECC2018 plus MA amendments and 780CMR appendix 115.aa where applicable.

Commercial Stretch Energy code:

Before July 1, 2023: IECC2018 + 780CMR ch13 & Appendix 115.aa

After July 1, 2023: IECC2021 + 225CMR 23

3.    Communities seeking to adopt the Specialized energy code

IECC 2021 + 225CMR 22 and 23 including appendix RC and appendix CC

For communities that wish to adopt the new Specialized stretch energy code, the adoption process is the same as for the Stretch energy code. Local adoption requires a vote by the town meeting or city council. Model bylaw or ordinance language is available on the DOER Green Communities webpage.

Adoption of the Specialize energy code requires both the residential low-rise and commercial energy codes to be adopted as a package with the same effective date.

The earliest effective date for Specialized energy code is expected to be July 1, 2023 with more communities expected to adopt effective January 1, 2024 or in the following 6 month periods.

To support the roll-out of these energy code updates the DOER is coordinating with the Mass Save® program which will continue to provide energy code training as well as a helpline and email for code officials to use. 

In addition, earlier today the DOER posted a draft of the 2023 Technical Guidance for the Massachusetts Stretch Code and Specialized Opt-in Code, covering both commercial and residential sections. 

If you have questions for the DOER energy code team please email us at

Thank you,

Maggie McCarey

Director, Energy Efficiency, Department of Energy Resources

Tags: Construction Supervisor License, CSL CEU Training, MA DOER, MA Stretch Code 2023