Location:
BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS; BUILDING CODE;
Scope:
Connecticut laws/regulations;

OLR Research Report


January 24, 2011

 

2011-R-0045

STATE CODES AND STANDARDS COMMITTEE

By: Veronica Rose, Chief Analyst

You asked for information on the state Codes and Standards Committee, especially its duties and membership.

SUMMARY

The state Codes and Standards Committee (1) works with the state building inspector and state fire marshal in adopting and administering the state building and state fire safety codes and (2) hears appeals of fire and building code officials' decisions and actions. The 18-member committee is appointed by the public safety commissioner and is within the Department of Public Safety (DPS). It consists of architects, engineers, builders, building officials, and public members, among others.

The committee meets monthly (except in July, when it does not meet) to hear appeals. It meets when necessary to deal with code business. It does not have its own staff but is assisted by a DPS secretary and attorney as their duties permit. Members are not compensated for their services.

DUTIES OF CODES AND STANDARDS COMMITTEE

Building Code

Code Adoption. The law requires the state building inspector and state Codes and Standards Committee jointly, with the DPS commissioner's approval, to adopt a state building code based on a national model building code to regulate the design, construction, and use of buildings or structures (CGS 29-252).

Licensure Requirements. The state building inspector and the committee, acting jointly, set licensure requirements for building officials (CGS 29-251b).

License Suspension and Revocation. The committee may suspend or revoke the license or certificate of building officials who fail to faithfully perform their duties (CGS 29-262).

Fire Safety Code

Code Adoption. The law requires the committee and state fire marshal to adopt and administer a fire safety code, based on a national model, to provide “for reasonable safety from fire, smoke, and panic therefrom” in regulated buildings (CGS 29-292).

Fire Marshal Qualifications. The committee and state fire marshal set minimum qualification standards for local fire marshals, deputy fire marshals, fire inspectors, and other classes of inspectors and investigators as they deem necessary (CGS 29-298).

Fire Prevention Code

By law, the state fire marshal must work with an advisory committee, established by law, to adopt and administer a state fire prevention code to “enhance the enforcement capabilities of local fire marshals [and to] prevent fire and other emergencies” (CGS 29-291a). But another statute gives the Codes and Standards Committee enforcement authority over this code and related laws (CGS 29-251). According to DPS, in practice, the Codes and Standards Committee does not have a role in administering or enforcing the fire prevention code.

Appeals

The committee must hear appeals of building and fire code decisions or actions taken by local building officials, fire marshals, town building appeal boards, the state building inspector, and the state fire marshal. It must also hear appeals of decisions taken by the state building inspector and Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities in regard to waivers from the state building code relating to handicapped building accessibility (CGS 29-269). People aggrieved by the committee's decisions may appeal to Superior Court.

According to DPS, 50 appeals were filed in 2010. The committee conducted hearings in 32 cases. Twelve cases were withdrawn without any hearings; five are still open; and one was closed for lack of jurisdiction.

COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

All of the committee's members, except the public members, must have at least 10 years practical experience in their profession or business (CGS 29-251). Table 1 shows the members and their qualifications.

Table 1: Codes and Standards Committee Membership

Members and Their Qualifications

Number

Architects (must be licensed to practice in Connecticut)

2

Professional engineers (All three must be licensed to practice in Connecticut. Two must practice structural, mechanical, or electrical engineering. The third must be a practicing fire protection or mechanical engineer with extensive experience in fire protection.)

3

Public health official

1

Builders or construction superintendents (One must have expertise in residential and the other in nonresidential construction.)

2

Building officials

2

Local fire marshals

2

Connecticut member of a national building trade labor organization

1

Expert in energy efficiency

1

Public members (One must have expertise related to handicapped building accessibility matters and be selected from a list of names submitted by the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities.)

4

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