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Radon-Resistant New Construction (RRNC)

Builders: The Basics

What is Radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas found in soil and rock. It seeps from the ground into homes through cracks in the foundation, walls, and joints.

By building radon-resistant new homes, builders and contractors provide a public health service — helping to reduce buyers’ risk of lung cancer from exposure to radon in indoor air.

Using common materials and straightforward techniques, builders can construct new homes that are resistant to radon entry.

Radon-resistant features can be an important selling point for health-conscious home-buyers.

Radon-resistant new construction (RRNC) typically costs a builder between $250 and $750, depending on the size and location of the house.  RRNC can cost less than $250 if the builder already uses some of the same techniques for moisture control.

This cost is much less than the cost to fix a radon problem if a new homeowner tests for radon and finds elevated levels (4 pCi/L or more).

RRNC, an integral part of the green building movement, is part of or included in three labeling programs:

More than 1.5 million new homes have been constructed since 1990 with radon-resistant features, based on an annual survey of builders conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Research Center.

Builders can often obtain radon-resistant new construction training from state programs and private service providers. Visit RRNC Training for more information.


Building Codes

  • Building codes are intended to protect the health, safety, and welfare of homeowners and residents by establishing minimum construction standards.  Read a "primer" on Building Codes.
     
  • Building codes also provide uniformity in the construction industry.
     
  • Building codes embrace all aspects of construction. They set minimum standards for materials, structural elements, fire prevention, plumbing and sanitation, radon reduction, and the electrical and mechanical systems in a home.
     
  • Building codes are adopted by a legislative body, then enacted to regulate building construction within a particular jurisdiction, such as a township, city, county, or state.  Find out what building codes/regulations exist in your state (if applicable).

Your municipality, county, or state can choose to adopt a code (or standard) that covers radon-resistant new construction, authored by one of several organizations. For details on national radon standards, or standards that relate to new homes in your area, visit the Web sites of the three organizations listed below.

  1. ASTM International (replaces EPA's previous Model Building Techniques and Standards)
    www.astm.org

For the free “scope” section of ASTM’s “ACTIVE STANDARD”: E1465-08 Standard Practice for Radon Control Options for the Design and Construction of New Low-Rise Residential Buildings, go to: www.astm.org

While following any of the three primary codes that include radon resistant construction is sufficient to qualify for the Directory of Radon Builders, EPA believes that ASTM E1465-08 has some advantages over the other codes. Using ASTM E1465-08:

  • Allows more flexibility of installation
  • Provides a more effective radon reduction system
  • Increases the life expectancy and durability of mechanical equipment
  • Guarantees results from required testing
  1. The International Code Council (ICC)
    www.iccsafe.org/
Here you can find the International Residential Code (IRC), which includes Appendix F−Radon Control Methods. The code can also be purchased at: www.internationalcodes.net
  1. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
    www.nfpa.org
The NFPA codes and standards are available in read-only format on line; use this link to view NFPA 5000 for free: www.nfpa.org/aboutthecodes

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