Senate committee discusses bill that would allow building code changes


The State Journal

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A bill that would allow municipalities and county commissions to adopt building codes, as long as they are no more stringent than the state building code, was discussed Feb. 14 in the West Virginia Senate Government Organization Committee, but the bill did not advance.

The measure, Senate Bill 165, also would allow flexibility beyond the state’s existing building codes, said Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, chairman of the Government Organization committee and the bill’s lead sponsor.Sen. Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, is a co-sponsor of the bill.

Sen. Douglas Facemire, D-Braxton, a commercial contractor, questioned the committee on who would bear responsibility in case of a fire or other emergency, giving an example of three contiguous counties possibly having three different codes.

The committee’s legal counsel told the group state building code has only been adopted in roughly nine to 11 counties. The new bill would only affect those counties.

Facemire pointed out state code still applies, even where there’s no inspecting authority.

Sen. Glenn Jeffries, D-Putnam, asked about possible fire marshal concerns, but Blair said in his conversation with the fire marshal’s office, “they don’t have a problem (with the bill).”

State fire codes must be adopted by counties in order for them to be enforced, counsel told the committee.

After discussion and questions from senators including Blair, Jeffries, Sen. Randy Smith, R-Tucker, and Sen. Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, Senate Bill 165 was laid over by unanimous committee vote.

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