Governor Signs NCHBA’s Building Code Regulatory Reform Bill Into Law
Last Friday (7/26/19), the Governor signed into law (S.L. 2019-174) the last of NCHBA’s top legislative priorities. HB 675 (2019 Building Code Regulatory Reform), sponsored by Representatives Mark Brody (R-Union), Dennis Riddell (R-Alamance), Jon Hardister (R-Guilford), and Billy Richardson (D-Cumberland). This is the fifth successful bill over the past several sessions of major reforms to building code and inspection system. Key provisions in this year’s act include:
- Requires the North Carolina Building Code Council to create an inspection form to be used by engineers and architects and clarifies that they can inspect foundations and underslabs.
- Adds a new level of inspector, residential changeout inspector, to assist with minor inspections.
- Prohibits local governments from requiring developers/builders to bury existing power lines or bury relocated power lines that are located outside the subdivision. It also prohibits local governments from setting minimum square footage requirements for residential structures. This section becomes law effective immediately.
- Requires the North Carolina Building Code Council to conduct a cost/benefit analysis for all proposed changes to the North Carolina Energy Conservation Code since January 1, 2018. It also creates an exclusion from the NC Building Code for the inspection of temporary motion picture, television or theatre stage sets.
- Requires that a local government can issue a temporary certificate of occupancy if the requirements of the NC Building Code are met.
- Clarifies that it is illegal for someone to falsely claim to be a North Carolina licensed general contractor or suggests in connection with any business activities regulated by the NC General Contractors Licensing Board.
- Requires that a local government chooses to have plan review that the initial review for residential building plans must be performed within fifteen (15) business days after submission. It also clarifies that a local government cannot require residential building plans to be sealed by an engineer or architect unless required under the NC State Building Code.
- Requires the Plumbing Board to establish and issue a Residential Fire Sprinkler Design license for use by persons who hold the appropriate Residential Fire Sprinkler Contractor license to design and install the proper multipurpose fire sprinkler system required by the North Carolina Building Code.
- Extends the time period for reporting fifteen or more framing violations to the North Carolina Department of Insurance to October 1, 2021.
- Instructs the North Carolina Department of Insurance to create an interpretation on the requirements for residential plan review. Requires the North Carolina Building Code Council to study options to dispose of dirt, sand, gravel, rock, concrete or other nonhazardous material at the site of construction including porch fill to decrease the volume to solid waste disposal facilities.
- This act becomes law effective October 1, 2019 unless otherwise provided.
The Governor and legislative leaders made no public headway this week in the continued budget standoff. The fiscal year began on July 1. However, both the executive branch and legislative branch continue to have major differences on key spending priorities and Medicaid expansion. The House held sessions and committee meetings this week while the Senate took a brief break but will return to work on Monday.
With our pro-active legislative agenda already accomplished, your legislative team nevertheless remains on duty to ensure that nothing harmful arises before this year’s session ends. As well, the continuation of the session because of the budget impasse has allowed some legislation which we have been tracking to be considered that otherwise might not have been reached. We will keep an eye on those too.