Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina lawmakers tentatively agreed Monday night to leave residential building codes in place longer and block local governments from additional kinds of inspections without approval by state regulators.
A bill approved by an 88-29 vote in the state House would extend the cycle for revising new home building codes from the current three-year practice to a required six years. Cities and counties also couldn't initiate regular, routine inspections on their own beyond what the state code requires. The bill could have a final House vote Tuesday and also must pass the Senate before going to Gov. Pat McCrory.
The bill is backed by the North Carolina Home Builders Association, which says the longer cycle period would save money for builders and designers that must purchase new codes and be trained in them. It will also help a rebounding construction industry and prevent additional costs upon homes with more requirements, said Rep. Mike Hager, R-Rutherford, a bill sponsor.
Rep. Mark Brody, R-Union, a home building contractor, said different jurisdictions currently require different inspections. "It's about time that we got relief from that," he said during debate.
Local governments and some building-related groups opposed the changes, saying the three-year cycle encourages safety and energy efficiency and follows along with international code revisions. The bill also doesn't give a clear time frame for when the council must decide upon city or county requests for additional kinds of inspections, one opponent said.
"There's a whole lot of people who are against this bill, and I haven't heard that many people who are for the bill," said Rep. Paul Luebke, D-Durham.
It would require the next new building code cycle to take effect in 2019. About half the states currently revise their codes every three years or less, according to the state chapter of the Sierra Club.