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Building Code Council Legislation Introduced


A major piece of NCHBA's 2023 legislative agenda was introduced in the House and Senate this week. On Monday, HB 488 (Code Council Reorganization and Various Code Amendments) was filed in the House by Representative(s) Mark Brody (R-Union), Destin Hall (R-Caldwell), Tricia Cotham (D-Mecklenburg), and Dennis Riddell (R-Alamance). In addition, a Senate companion bill was filed. SB 378 is sponsored by Senator Jarvis (R-Davidson), Tim Moffitt (R-Henderson) and Jim Perry (R-Lenoir). This landmark legislation tackles several areas of concern for builders throughout North Carolina. This is the eighth building code regulatory relief bill filed in the last 11 years, the previous seven were all successful in passage. This year’s legislation contains the following 13 provisions

Section 1: Creates a Residential Building Code Council consisting of 13 members focused on residential construction. The appointments to the new residential code council will be made by the Governor (7), the Speaker of the House (3) and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate (3). The Governor designates the chair of the new council and provides appointments subject to legislative confirmation.

Section 2: Modifies Building Permit Exemption currently at $20,000 to $40,000 for any construction, installation, repair, replacement or alteration not involving load bearing structures to better address inflationary pressures on construction.   Examples include: windows, doors, exterior siding, decking rails, and roofing.

Section 3: Authorize alternate pavement design standards for private roads, specifies that private roadways shall be built to no greater than NCDOT roadway pavement design standards. This provision also offers a mechanism for alternate pavement designs for private roadways specified by a licensed professional engineer.

Section 4: Prohibits the building code council or residential code from adding an additional required inspection for exterior sheathing. The bill also prohibits local governments from adopting an ordinance requiring an additional inspection for exterior sheathing.

Section 5: Modify Appendix B Requirements that a local government cannot require the completion of an Appendix B submission for plan review.

Section 6: Amend Insulation Requirements for unvented attic and enclosed rafter assemblies and gives an option to add spray foam insulation to attic rafters in-lieu-of ceiling fiberglass insulation, and encloses all mechanical equipment within the thermal envelope of a home.

Section 7 & 8: Prohibits modifications to various chapters within the Residential Code. This section allows for amendments to areas of the Residential Code while preserving housing affordability through maintaining current standards in certain areas of the Residential Code (i.e. mechanical, fuel gas, and energy efficiency standards).

Section 9: Amends the residential code to include three and four-family dwellings. This section would direct the Council to adopt rules to allow triplexes and quadplexes to be constructed under the residential code. This provision provides for greater affordability by advancing middle housing options for NC citizens.

Section 10: Clarifies fee calculation for erosion and sedimentation control plan review. This provision clarifies that the applicant can choose to pay the required Erosion Control Plan Review Fee on a per-acre or a per-lot basis.

Section 11: Directs NC DEQ to seek approval from USEPA to streamline implementation of requirements of the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act and Federal requirements. This provision seeks to remedy the need for the regulated community to receive two permits for the same regulatory field by consolidating State-level Erosion Control permitting with Federally required NPDES Construction Stormwater permitting. This provision creates permit efficiency while protecting our commonly shared environment.

Section 12: Prohibits forced sewer connection in cases in which sewer provider does not have capacity to service a property. This provision seeks to provide greater options for areas of the state facing building moratoriums due to the lack of available wastewater capacity.

Section 13: Prohibit local governments from requiring payments to the local government from owners of privately-owed and maintained stormwater control systems for future maintenance or replacement costs of a system. This reform removes unnecessary harm to housing affordability while providing local governments with the necessary tools to prevent operation and maintenance of private stormwater infrastructure from falling on the backs of local government taxpayers.

The bill was immediately sent to the House Local Government Land-Use, Planning and Development committee where it received a hearing on Wednesday. Representative Brody presented the legislation, explaining the numerous provisions in the bill, including what each provisions accomplishes and why it is needed at this time. After discussion and questions to the bill sponsor, a motion was made for a favorable report and the legislation was then referred to the House Finance committee for a hearing.  

It is expected that the bill could be heard in the House Finance Committee as early as next week. NCHBA’s legislative team has started to reach out to members on the committee in an effort to secure passage. If the legislation is successful in the House Finance committee, it will have one additional stop in the House Rules Committee before moving to the House floor.

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