Manchester Becomes First City in NH to Adopt International Existing Building Code

New code allows for further enhancement and redevelopment of older Manchester properties

Manchester, NH - On May 4th Manchester became the first city in New Hampshire to adopt the International Existing Building code (IEBC).  The IEBC provides developers and investors with the ability to rehabilitate and enhance older buildings in Manchester with greater flexibility than allowed under the general code. 

Adoption of the IEBC has been debated for a number of years.  Its recent adoption was one of the first major initiatives spearheaded by Mayor Ted Gatsas soon after he took office in January. “The adoption of the IEBC will provide property owners, investors and developers with new opportunities to develop and enhance properties throughout Manchester that are currently underutilized or in need of improvement, especially in the downtown area,“ stated Mayor Gatsas.

The IEBC incorporates “smart codes” which are more flexible building and construction codes that promote the alteration and re-use of existing buildings.  The previous building code guidelines created situations that sometimes made it more cost effective for a developer to demolish an existing building than rehabilitate it, even if the existing building was still useful and structurally sound.   Smart codes provide developers with cost effective solutions to rehab aging or underutilized buildings allowing buildings such as these to be saved.

Jay Minkarah, Manchester’s Economic Development Director notes that the new IEBC standards will allow for the continued revitalization and enhancement of downtown Manchester and the Millyard.  “The adoption of the IEBC enhances Manchester’s reputation as an innovative and business-friendly city.  We are confident that property owners, investors and developers will view the building code change as another example of Manchester’s willingness to listen and adapt to the needs of our business community.”

Over the years the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce has been a leading advocate for the adoption of the IEBC.  “The new IEBC standards provide better predictability, proportionality and consistency in building codes.  This will provide property owners and developers the ability to rehabilitate an existing historic building in a safe but cost-productive manner that keeps the character of the building intact,” stated Mike Skelton, Vice President of Economic Development and Advocacy for the GMCC.   Skelton points out the increase in development opportunities will create new jobs and an economic boost for Manchester. 

The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce will hold an information session and workshop on the new building code for interested property owners, developers, and businesses on Thursday June 24th from 12 pm to 2 pm at the Chamber Offices on 54 Hanover Street.  The workshop will feature remarks from Mayor Gatsas and an overview of the new code from City staff.  In addition, a walking tour of vacant downtown office space that can benefit from the new code will be held at the end of the program.  For more information contact Mike Skelton at the Chamber at (603) 792-4107.

For more information about the adoption of the IEBC please contact Jay Minkarah, Director of Economic Development at 603-624-6505.