A bipartisan new law will lower costs for home buyers by preventing pesky local governments from imposing additional regulations that are not currently authorized under the state’s building code, ensuring that the required types of inspections are uniform across the state. House Bill 120 also extends the life of home construction regulations from three years to six.
One of the biggest problems homebuilders face is the confusion and extra expense caused by local elected officials adding their own layers of inspections to the construction process; studies show that 25% of the cost of a new home is actually due to government regulations.
“The relatively high share of regulatory cost affecting a home during development is particularly significant in the current environment,” said Dr. Paul Emrath, Vice President for Survey and Housing Policy Research with the National Association of Homebuilders. “When there is a low level of developed land in the pipeline, as many builders have stopped acquiring single-family lots and developers have stopped developing them. Thus, in most cases the full range of regulatory costs — those that fall on development as well as construction — will need to be overcome if production and employment in the housing industry are to get back on track.” (To read Dr. Emrath’s insightful analysis, click here.)
Extending the cycle from three to six years will also save money for builders and other design professionals who are required to purchase the new codes and receive training on their implementation every time they change.
Any inspections beyond those explicitly set forth in the code must now be approved by the Building Code Council, a 17-member board charged with adopting and amending the State Building Codes. If a local government requests an additional type of inspection and it gets approved, the Council will make it apply statewide, assuring uniformity in the system. The new law also requires that any interpretations and appeal decisions made by the Building Code Council be published online.