New building codes approved

Published 11:35 am Wednesday, March 21, 2012

WINTON – For the time being, building contractors performing work in Hertford County will have to settle for an electronic version of new state codes.

At their meeting here Monday night, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners approved the new codes despite the fact that they are not yet available in print. That problem concerned the board.

“Is it fair to enact a new code that the citizens and contractors do not have access to,” asked Commissioner Johnnie Ray Farmer.

“I do have electronic copies of the new codes,” answered Paul Vaughan, Hertford County’s Code Enforcement Officer. “I can make the citizens and contractors aware of any major changes in the codes.”

“Again, that’s my problem….not having something in writing that we can give the citizens and the contractors,” Farmer stressed. “Should we delay implementing these new codes until we have something in hand?”

“Those who are licensed (to perform building construction) are obligated to keep up to date with any changes to the code,” Vaughan noted.

“If no one can give them a copy of those changes, then they’re obligated to what,” Farmer inquired.

“That’s a good question,” Vaughan stated. “I’m kind of caught in a bind over this as well.”

“This code is effective on March 1,” Hertford County Manager Loria Williams said. “However, the state is behind in actually getting the new codes in the hands of Code Enforcement Officers who are in charge of administering the codes. Paul, along with other Code Enforcement Officers, will be tasked with enforcing something that, as of the current time, is unseen. We’re trying to be obedient, but still the state hasn’t done on their end what is really needed other than release an electronic version of these new codes.”

Commissioner Ronald Gatling pointed out that the state codes supersede whatever local regulations are on the books.

“We don’t have any other choice but to adopt this,” Commissioner Howard Hunter III said upon making the motion to approve the new measures.

Farmer offered a second, contingent upon the county making every effort to provide written documentation to the new codes.

“I don’t want to see contractors coming back and saying they were not aware of the new codes,” Farmer stressed.

The motion was approved without objection.

Prior to the discussion, Vaughan informed the commissioners that the new state codes were mandated by the federal government due to the energy crisis.

“They (federal officials) want us to be 30 percent more energy efficient than in previous years,” Vaughan said.

As stated in the state’s General Statutes, the purpose of the North Carolina Building Code is the provide certain minimum standards, provisions and requirements for safe and stable design, methods of construction and uses of materials in buildings and/or structures that are erected, constructed, enlarged, altered, repaired, moved, converted to other uses or demolished and to regulate the equipment, maintenance, and use occupancy of all buildings and/or structures.


About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal