Building Code Regulatory Reform Legislation Taking Shape

Working this week with Representative Mark Brody (R-Union) and the General Assembly’s bill drafting division, your NCHBA legislative team is pleased to report that the 5th annual version of the “building code regulatory reform” legislation is taking shape. These efforts began in 2013 with HB 120 (Building Codes/Local Consistency) and continued thorough last year’s HB 948 (Building Code Regulatory Reform). 

Among many other significant improvements, these bills have ended unauthorized inspections, significantly decreased inspection times and provided desirable options and alternatives for builders. For example, as a direct result of last year’s bill, the Department of Insurance reports that local jurisdictions across the state are providing inspections within two business days of request and many are providing “next day” service. 

This session’s version will continue to address the concerns builders are facing across the state. Some provisions that are likely to be included are:

  • Expediting plan review in those jurisdictions which require it
  • Improve engineered option consistency
  • Decrease delays with certificates of occupancy

In the past, our Building Code Regulatory Reform legislation has garnered strong bi-partisan support and we expect this year will be no different.

Your legislative team also worked this week with potential sponsors, and legislative staff, getting several other bills on our pro-active agenda in final form. Expect those bills to be introduced over the next couple of weeks.

On Wednesday, one of Governor Cooper’s two nominees to fill seats on the NC Industrial Commission received unanimous support in the House and his nomination was sent to the Senate. James Gillen will fill one of the employer slots on the Commission. Mr. Gillen has been employed with the Industrial Commission for 24 years. He has served as a deputy commissioner since 2005 and previously held other positions with the agency. That agency handles all claims for workers compensation benefits in the state. The business community examined his record closely and found him to be well qualified. Mike Carpenter, along with representatives of the NC Retail Merchants Association and the NC Chamber, testified in support of Gillen’s nomination before the House Rules Committee on Tuesday.

The Governor has also recently recommended Representative Ken Goodman to fill another soon-to-be vacant position on the Commission. After having successfully opposed the confirmation of two previous nominations, NCHBA, along with the Retail Merchants and Chamber, recommended Representative Goodman to the Governor for nomination. We are pleased that he chose to do so. Rep. Goodman is currently serving his 5th term in the House and will fill another of the three “employer” slots on the Commission. 

Rep. Goodman is a long-time business owner from Richmond County and his professional experience makes him uniquely qualified to fill the position. His nomination will proceed in the next couple of weeks.

“While we will miss Rep. Goodman in the General Assembly, we have no doubt that he will do an outstanding job on the Commission,” said Mike Carpenter, NCHBA Executive Vice President & General Counsel.

House Bill 268 (Disapprove Certain Onsite Wastewater Rules) was introduced in the House on Tuesday. Representative Brody pursued this legislation after the newly-written onsite wastewater rules received 10 letters of objection from the general public. The objections to the rules were based on a lack of clarity and the potential harm these regulations would bring to the home building industry. NCHBA will work closely with Rep. Brody and representatives of the wastewater industry to see that this bill is passed. Thereafter, NCHBA staff will work with all stakeholders to ensure that new rules do not excessively burden the industry while protecting public health.

Our NCHBA Senior Officers and members of the NCHBA staff will be headed out across the state for the “Home Building First Tour” on March 18th through the 22nd. The 10 regional stops will allow members from across the state to receive a code and a legislative update on issues that directly impact the home building industry. Director of Codes and Construction Robert Privott and Director of Government Affairs Tim Minton will provide the latest on industry changes that could save you money! For a list of tour stops please click here!

Legislator Of The Week

Senator Tom McInnis (R-District 25)

NCHBA would like to recognize Senator Tom McInnis (R-Richmond) as our “NCHBA Legislator of the Week.” Senator McInnis represents Anson, Richmond, Scotland and Moore Counties in the North Carolina Senate and is also a member of the Moore County HBA. Senator McInnis is a tireless advocate for affordable housing and business and has been a primary sponsor of several NCHBA’s legislative priorities. Thank you, Tom, for your leadership and support!