A list of more current construction codes was put into effect by McPherson city commissioners on Monday, including a major change to arc fault breakers that could prevent fires.

A list of more current construction codes was put into effect by McPherson city commissioners on Monday, including a major change to arc fault breakers that could prevent fires.

Previously, the codes only required the breakers to be installed in bedrooms. Now, in any new construction, arc fault breakers must be installed in all rooms of a residential home.

An arc fault breaker detects when there’s a potentially dangerous electrical arc in a circuit and shuts off the circuit.  

Bret Reynolds, building inspector, said the change is a positive one, noting one instance in McPherson where a heater was arcing and caught some nearby curtains on fire.

The change was one of may of the newly adopted 2009 International Building, Residential, Fire, Mechanical, Plumbing and Fuel Gas Codes. Also adopted were the 2003 American National Standards Initiative, the 2008 National Electric Code and some revisions to chapter 18 of the city’s Municipal Code.

Formerly, the city operated on the 2003 international codes, the 2002 electric code and rules established by the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Bret Reynolds, building inspector, said changes to the code are mostly minor, with most changes being done to wording for clarification’s sake.

“A lot of it was just correcting wording and clarifying things,” he said. “I’d just look through, see if there was a problem, go ‘oops, that ain’t right,’ and fix it.”

Some of those clarifications include defining what projects require permits.

“It shall be unlawful for any person to erect, construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, improve, remove, convert or demolish any building or structure regulated by this code ... without first obtaining a separate permit for each building or structure from the building official,” according to a new section in McPherson’s building codes.

Both Mayor Tom Brown and commissioner Michael Alkire thanked Reynolds for his work in maintaining and upgrading the codes.

Commissioners approve costs additions

Nick Gregory, city administrator, said the public improvement sections of both the Veranda Development and the Replat of Barnstormers West Field Addition had been completed.

Commissioners approved the statements of final costs of the projects, which consisted primarily of sanitary, street and storm water improvements.

Final costs were $147,567 for Veranda sanitary improvements, $669,869 for Veranda street and storm sewer improvements, $36,167 for Barnstormers sanitary sewer improvements and $129,069 for Barnstormers storm sewer improvements.

A public hearing will be conducted at 9 a.m. on June 3 to hear any objections to the statements.

In other business:

• Commissioners approved a greenhouse usage agreement with the McPherson school district. A special needs program of the district will be granted use of a section of the greenhouse as part of their program.

• Mayor Tom Brown encourages residents of McPherson to attend memorial ceremonies on Memorial Day, May 27. A 9 a.m., a service will be conducted at New Gottland Cemetery, and a 10:30 a.m. service will be at McPherson Cemetery.

• A town hall meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the McPherson Municipal Building. Phase One of the First Street Reconstruction Project will be discussed.

• Commissioners announced a budget meeting schedule for 2014-2016. The meetings will be from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday. There will be one-hour breaks for lunch both days. A budget hearing for the McPherson Public Library will be June 3.