Legislation was passed unanimously by the House last night that would ease the regulatory burden on summer camp operators when it comes to certain types of building structures. House Bill 706, sponsored by Representative McGrady, provides that in the case of open air camp cabins, the state’s Building Code Council must not enforce requirements more stringent than the following:
- The open air camp cabin must have at least two remote unimpeded exits, but lighted exit signs are not required;
- The open air camp cabin will not be required to have plumbing or electrical systems, but if the cabin has these systems, then the provisions of the Building Code otherwise applicable to those systems apply; and
- Smoke detectors and handheld fire extinguishers may be required as otherwise provided in the Building Code, but no requirement for a sprinkler system may be imposed.
“Open air camp cabins” are defined as single-story structures that (i) have three walls consisting of at least twenty percent (20%) screened openings no more than 44 inches above the floor; (ii) have no heating or cooling system; (iii) are occupied for no more than 150 days within any rolling 365-day time span; and (iv) accommodate 36 or fewer persons.
Typically, as businesses, summer camps fall under the same commercial building codes that have been developed for structures like multi-story office buildings and hotels. “Increasingly, summer camp operators are being forced to build camp cabins that are more like Holiday Inn rooms than camp cabins,” said Representative McGrady. “It’s the unintended consequences of the tightening of building codes.”
Representative McGrady served as the Executive Director of the North Carolina Youth Camp Association from 2009-2010. He is also Director Emeritus of Falling Creek Camp, which dedicated a new gym named in honor of the McGrady Family in July of 2014. Chuck and his wife Jean served as directors and owners of Falling Creek from 1989 to 2005.
Click here to learn more about Representative McGrady’s remarkable history of public service, including his extensive dedication to young people and the environment.