MACo Supports More Training Time For County Building Code Enforcement Officials

MACo Legal & Policy Counsel, Leslie Knapp Jr. testified in support of HB 57 to the Senate Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee on March 22, 2016.

This bill would provide local governments with more time to review and train its building code enforcement personnel after the State has adopted and modified a new version of the state building code. The bill passed the House (133-6) on February 25, 2016.

The state building code is called the Maryland Building Performance Standards (MBPS). Under current law, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) must adopt the International Building Code (IBC), the International Residential Code, and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) as the MBPS. These codes are created by the International Code Council.

When a new version of these International Codes are published, DHCD has 12 months to review the new version, consider any modifications allowed under State law, and adopt that version along with any modifications. After adoption, a local government has 6 months to understand, implement, and begin enforcing the new version of the MBPS.

From the MACo testimony,

HB 57 would increase the time DHCD has to review, modify, and adopt a new version of the MBPS from 12 months to 18 months. The bill also increases the time a local government has to implement and begin enforcing new and modified versions of the MBPS from 6 months to 12 months.

Several recent versions of the IBC have included major changes to building code requirements and the inclusion of the IECC has further increased the breadth and complexity of Maryland’s building code. It takes time and effort for local building code personnel to review and understand these new changes as well as train inspectors to properly enforce them. HB 57 provides the needed time for proper training.

HB 57 does not expand the authority of DHCD or local governments to modify the MBPS. The bill merely provides more time for the State to review increasingly complex IBC and IECC changes before adopting and modifying them and for local governments to understand those modifications and train their code enforcement officials to properly enforce them.

For more on 2016 MACo legislation, visit the Legislative Database.