NC House Passes Building Permit Reform Legislation

Over objections raised by building inspectors and state fire officials, the North Carolina House yesterday passed by wide margins a bill to improve the permitting and inspection process for home builders, and improve consistency in how the building code is interpreted across the state.

HB 255, ‘Building Code Regulatory Reform’, was approved yesterday in a 105 – 5 vote, and now heads to the Senate.

Sponsored by Representatives Mark Brody (Monroe) and Tricia Cotham (Matthews), among others, the bill would make a number of reforms to the building permitting and inspection process across the state, including:

  • Clarifies the definition of official misconduct for code officials to include, among other things, the habitual failure to conduct timely inspections and the enforcement of requirements that exceed the state building code;
  • Requires that the NC Department of Insurance to post any formal interpretations within 3 business days;
  • Requires inspectors to conduct a full inspection and provide permittee with a complete list of items that fails to meet building code;
  • Revamps the membership of the NC Building Code Council, and creates separate committees to review residential and non-residential code issues;
  • Prohibits local governments from spending inspection fees outside the building inspection department;
  • Clarifies past legislation, HB 120, ‘Building Codes/Local Consistency’, from the 2013 session, which defined required residential inspections.

The bill is supported by the North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA). A companion bill, SB 324, awaits action in the Senate.

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