County Commission Working Toward Establishing Building Code Regulations

October 22, 2007
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Commission has begun the process of formulating regulations for non-agricultural residential and commercial construction under the International Building Code.

The commission adopted three resolutions Monday night, as recommended by the county's building and safety committee, establishing general guidelines for construction, but specific regulations have not yet been established.

The first resolution adopted provides for "governing the condition and maintenance of all commercial property, buildings, and structures by providing standards for supplied utilities and facilities, and other physical things and conditions essential to ensure that structures are safe, sanitary, and fit for occupation and use".

The second resolution speaks to the "the regulation and governing of construction, alteration, movement, enlargement, replacement, repair, equipment, location removal, and demolition of one and two family dwellings, multiple single family dwellings, and town houses not more than three stories in height with separate means of egress."

The third resolution addresses the regulation and governing of the design, construction, quality of materials, erection, installation, alteration, repair, location, re-location, replacement, addition to, use and maintenance of plumbing systems.

Each resolution provides for the issuance of permits and collection of fees.

County Mayor Mike Foster says building code regulations are complex but the desire of the commission is to establish rules, under the International Building Codes, that are as "simple as we can make them, that are also legal and binding, to where we can get the desired effect of having construction that is safe, sanitary, and fit for occupation."

According to Foster, "We are experiencing several builders coming in here that are not used to building on these steep lots. Since I've been in office, several houses have either been built on the wrong lots or partially on the wrong lots. There's got to be some safety devices in place to take care of the innocent home owners."

"On these really steep lots, we need to be sure that the developers are building on a solid foundation so the houses don't slide off the hill'. We need to know where the lot lines are before they build a house and that they comply with codes. It's a safety thing for the homeowner."

Foster says the committee will meet again, probably on Thursday, November 1st to continue work on developing proposed regulations and local builders will be invited to attend future meetings to provide some input. He says it may take a couple of months before the committee's work is finished.

The committee's final recommendations will then be presented to the county commission for approval.

Once the regulations are in place, the county will have to hire someone to do the inspections. Building permits would be issued through the Assessor of Property's Office

Foster says "We can't be the guardians of the world, but I think a little bit of oversight is probably due."

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