North Carolina Home Builders Association
NC BUILDING CODE UPDATE --  Sept. 2015
From the North Carolina Home Builders Association

Code Books

 

As a member benefit, the North Carolina Home Builders Association will periodically send this newsletter to members, informing them of important changes to the NC Building Codes. We hope you find this newsletter of benefit to you.
In this issue
Inspections

In 2013, one of NCHBA's legislative priorities was passage of HB 120 / S.L. 2013-118 Building Codes: Local Consistency/Exempt Cable, which was signed by Governor McCrory in June 2013.  This bill c larifies that only those inspections specifically set forth in the NC Building Code may be required by local inspections departments for structures constructed in compliance with the North Carolina Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings. The bill neither limits the type nor number of voluntary inspections that a local jurisdiction may provide or that a builder may request.
 
The inspections authorized in SECTION 107 INSPECTIONS in the 2012 NC Administrative Code and Policies are:
  1. Footing inspection;
  2. Under slab inspection, as appropriate;
  3. Foundation inspection, wood frame construction;
  4. Rough-in inspection;
  5. Building framing;
  6. Insulation inspection;
  7. Fire protection inspection; (NOT APPLICABLE)
  8. Final inspection.
There are also inspection requirements in the NC Building Code in:
 
2012 NC ELECTRICAL CODE - SECTION 104 ADMINISTARTION - directs the user to the North Carolina Administrative Code and Policies.
 
2012 NC FUEL GAS CODE Abridged for Residential Construction - SECTION 107 (IFGC) INSPECTIONS AND TESTING - directs the user to the North Carolina Administrative Code and Policies.

2012 NC Plumbing Code Abridged for Residential Construction - SECTION 312 TESTS AND INSPECTIONS
 
2012 NC MECHANICAL CODE Abridged for Residential Construction - SECTION 107 INSPECTIONS AND TESTING - directs the user to the North Carolina Administrative Code and Policies.

Since the July 1, 2013 effective date of this legislation, several inspections jurisdictions throughout the state have chosen to ignore the language in HB120 / S.L. 2013-118 that was enacted into G.S. § 150A-352 (b) and § 160A-412 (b) for various reasons, and continue to require additional residential building inspections.  

Earlier this year, the NC Building Code Council rendered an  Order and Final Agency Decision on an appeal made to the Council regarding an inspection department's policy that required additional inspections not authorized under the building code.
 
The Council ruled in favor of the appellant after determining that the jurisdiction adopted an inspections policy that required additional inspections for One-and-Two Family Dwellings in addition to the specific inspections required by the North Carolina Building Code without first obtaining approval from the North Carolina Building Code Council.
 
In addition to the specific inspections language in
is the document that needs to be provided to the jurisdictions that continue to require additional inspections (i.e. flashing inspections, house wrap inspections, open floor inspections, etc.)  that are being conducted in violation of the General Statutes and the Council's Order and Final Decision.
 
The Building Code Council has also amended the 2012 NC Administrative Code and Policies SECTION 107 INSPECTIONS (see pages 5 &6) which will become effective January 1, 2016.  The amendments adopted by the Council also include Commentary for most all subsections.

2015 Legislative Building Code Reform

This session, the Legislature passed 
HB 255 Building Code Regulatory Reform  that among other things, clarifies inspections language originally contained in HB120 / S.L. 2013-118. Governor McCrory signed this bill into law July 13, 2015 and it becomes effective October 1, 2015. 
 
This 10-part bill makes several important changes in the building code/inspection process in our state.  Several of the highlights include:
  • PART I: Clarifies past legislation, HB 120 Building Codes/Local Consistency from the 2013 session, which defined required residential inspections
  • PART II: Tasks the Building Code Council with studying procedures and policies for speeding approval of alternative materials, designs or methods.
  • PART III: Clarifies code official misconduct by providing specific examples of actions subject to discipline by the Code Officials Qualification Board (e.g., enforcement of a code requirement more stringent than or otherwise exceeds Code requirements; the habitual failure to provide requested inspections in a timely manner).
  • PART IV: Raises the financial threshold from $5,000 to $15,000 triggering when a building permit is required while retaining the current exceptions to the monetary limit (e.g., addition, repair, replacement of load bearing structures; the addition replacement, or change in design of plumbing, HVAC, electrical wiring, etc.).
  • PART V: Creates a 7-member residential code committee within our 17-member state Building Code Council, which would have to approve any proposed change in the One- and Two-Family Code before it could be further considered by the full council. 
  • PART VI: Requires that all appeal decisions, interpretations and variations of the Code issued by the Building Code Council  and all commentaries and written interpretations made by the DOI staff be posted on the DOI/ Council's website within ten (10) business days.
  • PART VII: Clarifies that inspection fees must be spent only for activities of the inspections department and not for other purposes.
  • PART VIII: Requires that inspections be made in a timely manner" by requiring a code official to complete all parts of a builder-requested inspection, instead of the practice in some jurisdictions where inspectors end their inspection when a predetermined number of item(s)single item "fail." This should substantially reduce "re-inspections" and be more efficient for the builder and the inspector.
  • PART IX: Provides that components or elements of in the construction of a building prepared under seal by an architect or engineer can be accepted without the need for further inspection by the county or city if the design professional performs a field inspection and certifies that the component or element meets the Code.
  • PART X: Exempts certain commercial building projects located within covered mall buildings from the requirement for a professional architectural seal.
We want to thank our principal sponsors Rep. Mark Brody (R-Union), Rep. Dennis Riddell (R-Alamance), Rep. Tricia Cotham (D-Mecklenburg), and Rep. Sam Watford (R-Davidson) for their leadership in the House, and Sen. Andrew Brock (R-Davie), Sen. Tom McInnis (R-Richmond) and Sen. Ben Clark (D-Cumberland) for their leadership in the Senate in ensuring the passage of this important bill. This act becomes effective on October 1, 2015.
 
REMINDER: 
Building Code Courses Available at the 
21st Century Building Expo & Conference

I will be teaching my  Building Code Update course on Thursday, September 17, from 2:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. 

In addition, Steve Knight will be teaching his popular courses: Advanced Design of Roofs & Ceilings on September 16 from 8 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. and Advanced Design of Floors on September 16 from 2:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Click the graphic below to start your registration. You should select "Continuing Education" badge to register for any of the above mentioned courses, as they are all part of the NC Builder Institute curriculum. 



 

Contact Information
Robert Privott

NCHBA Director of Codes and Construction

rprivott@nchba.org or 1-800-662-7129