Spokane's City Council adopted two changes to the building code this week, both making it easier for home builders to put up new homes.
The first was removing the mandate that water service lines had to be done with copper pipe.
That deal came out of work with the Spokane Home Builders Association, who has suggested the city should allow pipes go in with less expensive High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) pipe.
Copper is still an alternative but not required. That change to poly is based on the high cost of copper, its attraction to site thieves and poly'srelatively simpler installation.
The second change requires new water meters for homes to be placed within 3 feet of the property line and no longer in basements.
The change will make it easier to read and access meters. Additionally, meters located outside will no longer be required to be housed inside an expensive concrete vault; the ordinance allows installation in a plastic PVC box.
The city's Water Department has said roughly 80 percent of builders already install water meters at the property line, which has been the typical rule in neighboring jurisdictions.
Both changes mean home construction costs can be kept reasonable, allowing more new homeowners to buy, said Phil Folyer, a past president of the Spokane Home Builders Association.
The association also cited a study by the National Association of Home Builders asserting that in the Spokane area, a $1,000 increase in the cost of a new home will price about 244 families out of the market.