The State of Massachusetts is going to adopt a new building code starting in January 2017. Since 2010, the building code has changed several times and many of those changes were dramatic and have resulted in significant increases in the cost of new homes, remodeling and additions throughout the state. Designing and building on Cape Cod was further impacted by the adoption of the "Windborne Debris Zone" which required the use of impact resistant windows and doors or storm shutters for all homes within 1 mile of the shore.
The changes that are forthcoming with the 9th Edition of the Massachusetts Building Code (780 CMR) in 2017 are not quite as dramatic for new custom homes, and some of the changes serve to reduce the cost of design and construction. For instance, the "Windborne Debris Zone" will now be eliminated, and the geographical areas requiring impact resistant windows and doors will be substantially reduced.
There are some things that will add costs. The 9th Edition will require more stringent design and construction methods for homes located in flood zones. The new mapping available, allows officials to clearly determine a "Coastal A" flood zone, which is subject to wave action of 1.5-3'. The code will now require design and construction of homes resistant to wave action in this zone, which can dramatically increase engineering and construction costs. The State is also slated to adopt the "Existing Building Code" which will have substantial impacts on the design and costs associated with renovation and remodeling projects, as it provides different thresholds which can trigger other improvements not required in the past, such as insulation, mechanical systems, or structural systems, which were previously considered "grandfathered" or "non-conforming conditions. 2017 is the first year this Existing Buildng Code will come into play and we will wait and see where the true impacts are of these new regulations.
If you are considering designing or building a custom home on Cape Cod, this code change is something you will want to pay attention to these code changes as they will definitely impact the final cost and design of your new Cape Cod Home!
Here's a good summary of the pending code changes from the Board of Building Regulations and Standards: Summary of 9th Edition Building Code