Bill Summary for H 291 (2021)

Summary date: 

May 6 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
House Bill 291 (Public) Filed Thursday, March 11, 2021
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH AND REQUIRE CERTAIN TIME LINES FOR PLAN REVIEW AND APPROVAL OF COMMERCIAL AND MULTIFAMILY BUILDING PLANS FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, TO PROVIDE ALTERNATIVE METHODS FOR PLAN REVIEW, TO REQUIRE THE COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE TO PROVIDE FURTHER LOCAL GOVERNMENT INSPECTION DEPARTMENT OVERSIGHT, AND TO REQUIRE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO REMIT A PORTION OF PERMIT FEES TO THE DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE.
Intro. by Zenger, Potts.

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Bill summary

House committee substitute to the 2nd edition makes the following changes.

Instead of amending GS 160D-1106, moves proposed new (c1), (c2), (c3), (c4) and (c5) into new GS 160D-1104.1 and makes the following changes to that proposed language. Requires an initial plan review to be completed and a building permit decision to be issued within 21 days for commercial and multifamily building plans that require a design professional seal under the North Carolina Building Code (was, under the Building Code Council rules). Expands upon the entities that the local government may use if it is unable to complete the initial plan review within 21 days to include a third-party architect or engineer (was, engineering firm only); makes conforming changes. Adds the specified provisions do not limit a local government and a building permit applicant from entering into a mutual agreement to complete an initial plan review in a timeframe that differs from the one specified. Amends the two conditions that apply when the local government does not issue a building permit decision within 21 days or when additional information or a plan resubmission is requested and the local government does not issue a building permit decision within 15 days of receiving the information or resubmitted plan, to now provide that: (1) the building permit applicant may use a third-party architect or engineer that has a valid certificate or the Department of Insurance and its marketplace pool of qualified Code-enforcement officials to review and approve the submitted plans, after such review and approval the local government must issue all necessary building permits within 72 hours; and (2) if the building permit applicant uses such a review process, then the local government must refund or waive all plan review fees and building permit fees for the project upon issuing the building permit. No longer requires a local government, when it requires specifications or manufacturer engineering information on an element, component, or fixture related to the submitted plan, to obtain that information from the manufacturer. Adds that upon issuance of a building permit using a third-party review, the local government, its inspection department, and the inspectors are discharged and released from any liabilities, duties, and responsibilities with respect to or in common law from any claim that arises out of or is attributed to a plan review performed by a third party or the Department of Insurance's pool of code-enforcement officials. Updates internal cross-references and makes conforming changes to GS 143-151.12. 

Amends GS 143-151.13 by making conforming changes, including allowing an architect with a valid certificate who is not employed by the State or a local government to use the certificate for performing initial plan reviews.

The above provisions are now effective October 1, 2021 (was, when the act becomes law).

Enacts new GS 143-138.2 requiring the Commissioner of Insurance, through the Division of Engineering, to promote consistent application of the NC Building Code through the general oversight of all inspection departments. Requires the Commissioner to: (1) establish a consistent Building Code permit application process for all local inspection departments; (2) develop a mechanism to determine the consistent application of the Building Code; (3) establish a new educational program and certification for permit technicians; (4) establish a Building Code Awareness educational program for the general public and county and city officials; (5) develop an insurance credit program for buildings and structures certified as built above the minimum Building Code requirements to increase insurability; and (6) develop annual mandatory two hour code education programs for plan reviewers. Enacts new GS 143-138.3 requiring local inspection departments to annually remit 2% of all Building Code permit fees to the Department of Insurance to support Building Code consistency and associated programs. Effective July 1, 2021.

Makes conforming changes to the act's titles.

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