Bill Summary for H 255 (2015-2016)

Summary date: 

Mar 17 2015

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
House Bill 255 (Public) Filed Tuesday, March 17, 2015
AN ACT TO REFORM BUILDING CODE ENFORCEMENT TO PROMOTE ECONOMIC GROWTH BY CONFORMING WORK IN PROGRESS INSPECTION AUTHORITY TO RECENTLY ENACTED INSPECTION LIMITATIONS, BY REQUIRING THE BUILDING CODE COUNCIL TO STUDY THE ALTERNATE METHODS APPROVAL PROCESS, BY CLARIFYING THE DEFINITION OF OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT FOR CODE OFFICIALS, BY RAISING THE THRESHOLD FOR REQUIREMENT OF A BUILDING PERMIT, BY CREATING THE BUILDING CODE COUNCIL RESIDENTIAL CODE COMMITTEE AND THE BUILDING CODE COMMITTEE, BY REQUIRING INTERNET POSTING OF CERTAIN COUNCIL DECISIONS AND INTERPRETATIONS, BY CLARIFYING THAT INSPECTION FEES COLLECTED BY CITIES AND COUNTIES MAY ONLY BE USED TO SUPPORT THE INSPECTION DEPARTMENT, AND BY REQUIRING THAT INSPECTIONS BE PERFORMED IN FULL AND IN A TIMELY MANNER AND INSPECTION REPORTS TO INCLUDE ALL ITEMS FAILING TO MEET CODE REQUIREMENTS, BY AUTHORIZING INSPECTIONS OF COMPONENTS OR ELEMENTS OF BUILDINGS CERTIFIED BY LICENSED ARCHITECTS OR LICENSED ENGINEERS, AND BY EXEMPTING CERTAIN COMMERCIAL BUILDING PROJECTS FROM THE REQUIREMENT OF A PROFESSIONAL SEAL.
Intro. by Brody, Riddell, Cotham.

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Bill summary

Amends GS 153A-360 and GS 160A-420 to provide language that ensures compliance with requirements that the North Carolina Building Code Council (Council) must approve or disapprove requests from a county or city for additional inspections of buildings or structures constructed in compliance with the North Carolina Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings. 

Directs the Council to study procedures and policies for the approval of alternative materials, designs, or methods. Sets out three elements that must be covered in the study, including the alternate methods application process. Provides for staff support to come from the Engineering Division of the Department of Insurance. Requires the Council to submit findings and recommendations to the 2016 Regular Session of the 2015 General Assembly. 

Enacts new GS 143-151.8(c) in the definitions section for Article 9C, North Carolina Code Officials Qualification Board, setting out and defining the terms willful misconduct and gross negligence or gross incompetence, setting out conduct or actions that are included, such as the habitual failure to provide requested inspections in a timely manner. Requires the North Carolina Code Officials Qualification Board, no later than October 1, 2015, to notify all Code enforcement officials in the state of the clarification to the grounds for disciplinary action enacted by this act. 

Amends GS 143-138(b5) to provide that no building permit is required under the NC Building Code (Code) or any local variance approved under subsection (e) for construction, installation, repair, replacement, or alteration costing $10,000 (was, $5,000) or less in any single family residence or farm building unless specified work is performed. 

Recodifies GS 153-357(a2), concerning permits, as GS 153-357(a3) (appears to intend GS 153A-357). 

Amends GS 153A-357 concerning permits, making organizational and technical changes and providing that counties must review and approve building plans submitted for any nonresidential structure pursuant to the Code (previously, did not require but allowed a county to review and approve residential building plans submitted). Adds new language that provides that a county cannot require that it review and approve plans for the construction of structures subject to the Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings, except that the county can require building plans to be available on site during the inspection process. Further provides that no building permit is required under the Code for construction, installation, repair, replacement, or alterations costing $10,000 (was, $5,000) or less in any single-family residence or farm building unless specified work is performed.

Recodifies GS 160-417(a2), concerning permits, as GS 160-417(a3) (appears to intend GS 160A-417).

Amends GS 160A-417, concerning permits, making organizational and technical changes and providing that cities must review and approve building plans submitted for any nonresidential structure pursuant to the Code (previously, did not require but allowed a county to review and approve residential building plans submitted). Adds new language that provides that a city cannot require that it review and approve plans for the construction of structures subject to the Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings, except that the city can require building plans to be available on site during the inspection process. Further provides that no building permit is required under the Code for construction, installation, repair, replacement, or alterations costing $10,000 (was, $5,000) or less in any single-family residence or farm building unless specified work is performed. 

Enacts new GS 143-136(c) to create a Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings Committee (Committee) within the Building Code Council. Provides that the membership will be five specific members of the Council and that the licensed general contractor specializing in residential construction will serve as chair of the committee. Provides that the Committee is tasked with reviewing revisions or amendments to the Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings and that such changes can only be considered by the Council after recommendation by the Committee. Provides further responsibilities of the Committee, including considering appeals or interpretations arising under GS 143-141 and overseeing the process by which the Council conducts revisions pursuant to GS 143-138(d). 

Amends GS 143-138(d) making a conforming change and deleting language that required the Council to post appeal decisions and formal opinions on the Council's website. 

Enacts new GS 143-141(c1) requiring the Department of Insurance to post and maintain on its website, in the areas devoted to the Council, all appeal decisions, interpretations, and variations of the Code issued by the Council within three business days of issuance. Amends GS 143-138.1(b) to establish that the Department of Insurance must post and maintain, on its website in the areas devoted to the Council, written commentaries and interpretations made and given by Council staff and the Department for each section of the Code within three business days of issuance. 

Amends GS 153A-354 and GS 160A-414, concerning financial support of county and city inspection departments, to provide that all fees collected pursuant to the provisions of the respective sections must be used for supporting activities of the inspection department.

Amends GS 153A-352 and GS 160A-412 concerning the duties and responsibilities of county and city inspectors and inspection departments, clarifying that they include making necessary inspections in a timely manner. Adds new language that requires inspectors to conduct full inspections and provide permit holders with complete lists of all items that fail to meet the requirements of the Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings. 

Effective July 1, 2015.  

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