PA 16-45—sHB 5180

Planning and Development Committee

Appropriations Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING CONCRETE FOUNDATIONS

SUMMARY: This act makes various changes related to residential and commercial concrete foundations. It requires:

1. additional documentation to obtain a certificate of occupancy for a new structure for which a concrete foundation was installed;

2. municipalities, at an owner's request, to reassess residential properties with foundation problems;

3. the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) to investigate the cause or causes of concrete foundation failure; and

4. executive branch agencies to maintain records related to failing residential concrete foundations as confidential for at least seven years.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage and applicable to assessment dates beginning on or after that date, except the provision requiring a report to the legislature is effective July 1, 2016 and the provision about certificates of occupancy is effective October 1, 2016.

1 — CERTIFICATES OF OCCUPANCY

The act requires an individual seeking a certificate of occupancy for a new residential or commercial building for which a concrete foundation was installed on or after October 1, 2016 to provide the local building official with documentation showing the names of the concrete supplier and installer. The local building official must keep copies of the documentation in his or her records for at least 50 years. Existing law, unchanged by the act, also requires a certificate applicant to show that the new building conforms to the State Building Code (CGS 29-265).

2 — PROPERTY REASSESSMENT

The act requires municipal assessors or their staff or designees to inspect and reassess residential properties with foundations made from defective concrete at the property owner's request. Residential property owners seeking to have their property reassessed must submit to the assessor a copy of a written evaluation, prepared by a state-licensed professional engineer, indicating that the property's foundation was made with defective concrete. The property must be inspected and its assessment adjusted within 90 days after the report's submission or the next assessment year, whichever is earlier. The adjusted assessment must reflect the property's current value. Property owners can appeal these adjusted assessments under the same procedures that apply to other assessment appeals.

Under the act, the new assessment is valid for five assessment years, regardless of the year in which the municipality's next revaluation is scheduled. However, a property owner who repairs or replaces the foundation during the five-year period must notify the assessor in writing within 30 days of doing so. Within 90 days of receiving notification or before the next assessment year, whichever is earlier, the property must be inspected and reassessed accordingly.

Existing law, unchanged by the act, also requires interim reassessments for new construction and when property damage requires complete demolition or reconstruction (CGS 12-53a and -64a).

3 — REPORT ON CONCRETE FOUNDATION FAILURE

The act requires the DCP commissioner, after consulting with the attorney general, to report to the Planning and Development Committee on the potential cause or causes of failing concrete foundations. The commissioner must submit the report and post it on DCP's website by January 1, 2017.

4 & 5 — CONFIDENTIALITY OF RECORDS

The act requires executive branch agencies to keep documentation they receive or obtain related to owners' claims of faulty or failing residential concrete foundations confidential for at least seven years from the date of receipt. Agencies that had the documentation in their possession on May 25, 2016 (i. e. , the act's effective date) must keep it confidential for seven years from that date (i. e. , until May 25, 2023). Similarly, agency-prepared documents related to such documentation must be kept confidential for seven years from the date of receipt or May 25, 2016, whichever is later.

The act exempts these records from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

OLR Tracking: JSB; KS: PF; cmg