At the end of January I attended an all day construction class for my contractor’s license recertification. The class was organized by Northfield’s Building Official, John Brookins, and was held at the American Legion. A couple of State employees did the actual presentations and did an excellent job. There were over 100 building contractors there for the education class. I really appreciate John organizing this education seminar.

The focus of the class was on the changes being implemented to the building code. We talked about many issues, including drainage….

And changes being implemented to framing requirements….

Minnesota now uses the International Residential Code (IRC). It is a model code that was developed to be used across the country and had worked very well. However, every three years or so it is reviewed and updated. Minnesota is generally a bit slower than other states about implementing the changes, so we are lagging behind right now. Right now the state is focusing on getting ready to implement the 2006 code.

One of the interesting ‘show downs’ in the code review is coming from the building industry itself, by way of the Builders Association of Minnesota (BAM). The 2006 building code calls for doors and windows to be installed according to and following manufactures instructions. BAM wants the code to require ‘pan flashing’ under all doors and windows.

A ‘pan flashing’ is a waterproof barrier, typically a flexible material, that is wrapped into the window opening before the window is installed. Some buiilders use a solid pan flashing made of metal. The theory is that if the window itself starts leaking, water will find its way down to the pan flashing, where it will be discharged to the exterior. BAM is concerned that without pan flashings, if a window begins leaking the water will simply migrate down the wall and be trapped in the wall itself, causing mold and mildew problems. The state is concerned about going beyond what window manufacturers call for and requiring a pan flashing to be installed. BAM is concerned that with Minnesota’s sealed tight home construction requirements any water migrating into walls will have a huge negative impact on owners of those homes. Testimony has been received on this issue and a determination will be made shortly.

Northfield Construction Company has been using pan flashings for many years under all our windows and doors.

Good, flexible membrane products are made for this purpose. It takes only a few minutes per opening to install the flashings and it provides solid, positive protection against water intrusion. I view this much as I view draintile. While draintile is typically not required to be installed by our building code, I would never build a home without it.

I’d vote to require pan flashings under windows and doors….it is inexpensive insurance against leakage.


Author Since: 25 / Apr / 2018

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