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NC building codes would last longer in House bill

Posted March 11, 2013

— 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.

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  • miseem Mar 12, 2013

    How about a compromise. Change NC standards as national standardschenge. Local governments wanting to make additional standards must demonstrate a special need for their area. Don't give away regular statewide updates on building codes based on national building standard changes. Don't put updates on a 6 to 9 year cycle. Of course, compromise is a bad word on Jones Street now.

  • nerdlywehunt Mar 12, 2013

    Standards, what standards....I have built two homes in the last 10 years and the delivered product is awful!!!!! Warped floors and walls.......cracking foundation, wiring problems........no protection from the courts........

  • JonahB Mar 12, 2013

    I've been a state licensed builder for over 17 years and worked in at least 6 different counties. Let me tell you that I am completely appalled at our current system concerning building codes and inspections. You don't know how many times I have been told by an inspector, "You're in _____ county now and we don't do it like that". We are supposed to goverened by a state/national code and some geographical covenants as well but this is simply ridiculous! Lots of times building inspectors truly don't inspect like they should, I mean you can't do a framing inspection in 5 minutes. I also think the energy codes have gotten way out of hand particularly dealing with installing tyvek/plywood in attic spaces where heated walls dead end. Honestly it doesn't help that much and it is almost impossible to install as instructed no to mention it costs about on average an extra 1000$ in materials and labor, RIDICULOUS! Cities and counties should only be able to enforce state/national codes!

  • Nancy Mar 12, 2013

    The standards now are out of control. My husband is going through the permitting process to build an outbuilding. Over $300 in fees and the standards are higher than our all brick home as far as the type of header required on a building that doesn't even compare to the support built into our home, back in 1989.

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Mar 12, 2013

    What a laugh. What we will see will be an increase in shoddy construction and no cost saving to homebuyers. The lunatics are running the asylum!!

  • Boylan Mar 12, 2013

    Homes being built today are VERY safe and VERY efficient. Less frequent code changes are justfied.

  • cleibitz Mar 12, 2013

    Will this apply to the commercial codes as well?