Maine, New Hampshire pass model code legislation
Jurisdictions across the United States continue to ensure that homes, schools, offices and other buildings within their communities remain safe and sustainable by adopting and implementing coordinated building regulations — such as the International Codes — that allow for new products and innovative technologies to provide minimum safeguards for people at home, at school and in the workplace. Both Maine and New Hampshire recently pass legislation to support life safety through adoption of state building code and fire code amendments, embracing renewable energy, and establishing training and certification programs.
“We are excited to see this important legislation pass in Maine and New Hampshire,” said International Code Council Government Relations Senior Vice President Sara Yerkes. “These states are taking an important step to elevate building safety and make it a priority for people throughout the state. The Code Council stands ready ready to assist the building industry in Maine and New Hampshire to ensure a smooth transition to the updated codes.”
In Maine, Governor Janet Mills signed two bills into law that support life safety. Bill LD 855 — An Act to Strengthen the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code — moves the administration of the code from the Department of Economic and Community Development back to the Public Safety Office of the State Fire Marshal with funding and positions to support the administration of life safety codes. Sponsored by Representative Christopher Caiazzo and signed into law on July 3, 2019, also requires the establishment of a training and certification program.
Bill LD 1509 — An Act to Amend the Laws Governing the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code to Ensure It Is Consistent with Current Standards and Applies to Small Municipalities — adds a member to the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code board, modifies the appeal/conflict process, establishes a statewide code, requires the adoption/updates of codes to be not more than one cycle behind, and adopts the International Mechanical Code. Sponsored by Representative Deane Rykerson, the bill was signed on June 20, 2019.
In New Hampshire, Governor Chris Sununu signed a series of bills that also support life safety. Bill HB 562 — Relative to the State Building Code — updates the definition of the state building code to include the 2015 editions of the International Building Code, the International Existing Building Code, the International Plumbing Code, the International Mechanical Code, the International Energy Conservation Code, and the International Residential Code and adds the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code to the definition of the state building code. Sponsored by Representatives Rebecca McWilliams and Howard Moffett and signed into law on July 22, 2019, the bill also ratifies certain amendments to the state building code adopted by the state building code review board.
Bill HB 710 — Adoption of State Building Code and Fire Code Amendments — bill provides for the appointment of alternative members of the state building code review board, revises the procedure for an amendment to the state building code, requires the state building code review board to maintain a publicly accessible list of applicable building codes and amendments, and provides for an appeal to the state building code review board from decisions of a local building code board of appeals. Sponsored by Representative Carol McGuire and Senators Sharon Carson, Bob Giuda, and John Reagan, the bill was signed on July 12, 2019.
“Building codes impact the quality of construction and support the industry to achieve resiliency, safety, innovation and affordability in the built environment to help guard against natural disasters,” said International Code Council Chief Executive Officer Dominic Sims, CBO. “We thank the Governors, the Legislature and all who supported this public safety legislation in the states of Maine and New Hampshire. These bills validate the benefits of the International Codes and the advanced building science construction methods and practices on which they are produced.”
The International Codes are a family of modern, comprehensive and coordinated building codes developed by the International Code Council and used in all 50 states and in many other countries around the globe. They also serve as the basis for construction of federal properties around the world. First released in 2000, the family of International Codes continues to be the only coordinated and correlated set of construction codes to address building, fire, plumbing, mechanical, fuel gas, property maintenance, zoning and energy efficiency. They are updated regularly, address design and installation of innovative materials and encourage the use of new and smarter technological building advances, and provide flexibility for designers without compromising safety. Many helpful resources are available to assist code users in learning and applying the International Codes, including the Significant Changes series, Code and Commentary series, and Study Companions.