Building Code Regulatory Reform Bill Clears First Hurdle in House
Legislators reconvened in Raleigh last week after taking the prior week off for the Easter holiday. The pace of the session continues to increase as we approach the crossover deadline on May 13th. Crossover is a legislatively-created procedure designed to reduce the number of bills that remain eligible for consideration for the rest of the long session and next year’s short session.
Any bill, except those with an appropriation or finance provision, must pass its body of origin and be read into the other body by that date. Of the nearly 1,000 bills introduced into this session, history suggests that many fewer than half will survive this deadline and remain eligible.
With the crossover deadline looming less than a month away, NCHBA’s legislative team continues to work with key legislators to move our legislative priorities. One of those top priorities received a favorable report in the House Land Use, Planning and Development Committee on Thursday. HB 489 (2021 Building Code and Development Regulatory Reform) sponsored by Representative Mark Brody (R-Union), Dennis Riddell (R-Alamance), Destin Hall (R-Caldwell) and Howard Hunter (D-Hertford):
- Would allow the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors (NCLBGC) to conduct a background check for new applicants
- Provides the NCLBGC greater flexibility and virtual options for Continuing Education
- Would allow the board to recover up to $5,000 for attorney’s fees for the cost of an investigation of an unlicensed contractor
- Would require the Building Code Council to review the economic impact of the proposed change to the code, submitted by the proponent of the code change. The intent of this provision is to ensure that special interests are not using the code to mandate their product.
- Would give the Building Code Council greater flexibility with local fire ordinances
- Would change how the sight triangle is calculated on DOT roads, by using the actual stopping point of vehicular traffic (edge of pavement) and not the end of the right of way
- Would create a uniform standard for locally delegated sedimentation control programs. The provision also provides the developer greater flexibility in choosing how to manage sedimentation on-site.
- This provision would increase the threshold on the requirement to install sprinklers in residences built in subdivisions with only a single-access road from 30 homes to 100 homes. The bill directs the State Building Council to adopt a rule that would amend D107 of the fire code to meet the greater threshold.
- Allows C900 piping for certain applicable projects
NCHBA’s staff worked diligently with interested parties to address concerns over portions of the bill. Currently the bill has been referred to the House Rules Committee before heading to the floor.
Representative Brody also presented HB 425 (Development Regulations/Multijurisdiction) in the House Land Use, Planning and Development Committee on Thursday. The bill would establish a default jurisdiction for a parcel of land that is within multiple jurisdictions. If there is no mutual agreement between the jurisdictions as to which jurisdiction’s rules would apply, the developer would have the choice as to what jurisdiction they would like to enter into agreement. The bill would also allow the developer to deal with more than one jurisdiction if they see fit. The bill received a favorable report and will also head to the House Rules Committee.
On Wednesday, the full House approved House Bill (141 Promote North Carolina Sawmills). The bill would allow ungraded lumber to be used in limited construction situations. The legislation includes an NCHBA provision that the lumber has to meet all relevant building code standards. This bill is very limited in scope in that the lumber can only be used in the construction of a personal home of the person purchasing the materials. The bill has been referred to the Senate Rules Committee.
Finally, HB 334 (Temporary Align PPP Treatment to Federal Treatment) sponsored by Representatives Ray Pickett (R-Watauga) and Jason Saine (R-Lincoln) cleared both the House Finance and Rules Committees last week. The bill, strongly supported by NCHBA and other business associations, would conform the state tax policy to mirror federal tax code to permit expense deductions for the 2020 tax year for businesses who applied for and received federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Many of our builders were among the thousands of North Carolina businesses who received PPP loans. This legislation passed its second reading in the House 111-2 and has been scheduled for 3rd reading on Tuesday.
If you have any questions about this report, please email Steven Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org.