What are construction codes and why do we have them
What are construction codes and local codes for Macon County?
Building codes were first seen in the United States in the early 1700's AD. A building code is a set of rules that specify the minimum acceptable level of safety for constructed objects that can range from a commercial stores to a barn.
The International Building Code (IBC) is a model building code developed by the International Code Council (ICC) that the State of Georgia uses and requires all the construction in the State to be built by it guidelines. These codes provides minimum standards to insure the public safety, health and welfare insofar as they are affected by buildings and the construction of structures.
Georgia's Uniform Codes identifies the 10 state minimum standard codes. Each of these separate codes dealing with specific areas but consist of a base code called The International Building Code In Georgia, eight of these codes are mandatory (are applicable to all construction whether or not they are locally enforced) and two are permissive ( this means that can be adopted by the local government)
These codes are as follows and the one extra code that was adopted by Macon County:
- Georgia State Minimum Standard Building Code (International Building Code with Georgia State Amendments)
- Georgia State Minimum Standard One and Two Family Dwelling Code (International Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings with Georgia State Amendments)
- Georgia State Minimum Standard Fire Code (International Fire Code with Georgia State Amendments)
- Georgia State Minimum Standard Plumbing Code (International Plumbing Code with Georgia State Amendments)
- Georgia State Minimum Standard Mechanical Code (International Mechanical Code with Georgia State Amendments)
- Georgia State Minimum Standard Gas Code (International Fuel Gas Code with Georgia State Amendments)
- Georgia State Minimum Standard Electrical Code (National Electrical Code)
- Georgia State Minimum Standard Energy Code (International Energy Conservation Code with Georgia State Supplements and Amendments)
- International Property Maintenance Code ( Permissive Code that is adopted by Macon County unincorporated)
- International Private Sewage Disposal Code, 2006 Edition, as amended. Code ( Permissive Code that is adopted by Macon County unincorporated)
To properly administer and enforce the state minimum standard codes, local governments must adopt reasonable administrative provisions to enforce and monitor (inspect) the building and construction going on in its area. This was set forth in O.C.G.A. Section 8-2-26(a)(1). These powers include:
- Inspecting buildings and other structures to ensure compliance with the code;
- Employing inspectors and other personnel necessary for the proper enforcement of codes;
- Requiring permits and to establishment charges for said permits; and
- Contracting with other local governments for code enforcement.
Georgia also passed a law that Contractors must to be licensed. This has been in effect for many years to provide minimum standards to ensure the public safety, health and welfare insofar as they are affected by buildings and the construction of structures.
What type of work is required to have a State Licensing Board for Residential and General Contractors? Here is an example for the State of Georgia Web Site.
- Residential-Basic Contractor (contractor work relative to detached one-family and two-family residences and one-family townhouses not over three stories in height)
- Residential-Light Commercial Contractor (same as residential-basic, and additionally, such contractor work or activity related to multifamily and multiuse light commercial buildings and structures)
- General Contractor (contractor services unlimited as to type of work contracted for, undertaken to perform, bid or proposed upon or otherwise offered to perform, and performed as a contractor, except any work which falls under the licensing requirements of Chapter 14 of this title, which may not be performed by the general contractor unless he or she possess licensure to do such)
- General Contractor Limited Tier (contractor services unlimited as to type of work contracted for, undertaken to perform, bid or proposed upon or otherwise offered to perform, and performed as a contractor, except any work which falls under the licensing requirements of Chapter 14 of this title, which may not be performed by the general contractor unless he or she possess licensure to do such). This license is limited to contract amounts of $500,000 or less.
Some work does not need to have a licensed contractor. Specialty trades, repair work and work costing less than $2,500 does not require the services of a state licensed contractor, but requires a Local Building permit. There is also work that a home owner can do on his own property that he does not have to be licensed, but again a permit is needed.
Macon County requires that an individual and /or contractor must apply for a permit before the construction, erection, installation, alteration, demolition, repair, relocation, replacement, addition to, use or maintenance of buildings or structures, plumbing, mechanical, gas, low voltage, electrical systems, installing Manufactured home and storage buildings.
In unincorporated Macon County, building permits are required before the work has started and an inspection if required when the work is finished.
A demolition site plan shall be submitted as part of the permit application package when demolition of any structure in the rural area of the count. The demolition site plan shall depict the trees, structures and impervious surfaces to be removed; location and size of all trees greater than six inches and best managements practices for erosion control.
If a contractor starts work before a permit is issued the Contractor can be fined at 200 percent the original permit cost. Please understand that the responsibility to get a permit is in the handed of the individual who is doing the work not just the homeowner. Any and all requirements can be located in the Macon County Building and Building Regulation.
Some situations allow an unlicensed contractor to buy a permit. If a contractor is not licensed and has pulled a permit a written form with the following information is required before the working of perform or undertaking:
The person performing the repair work discloses in writing to the owner that s such person/entity is not licensed as a residential or general contractor
- The work does not entail the delegation or assignment to or engagement of any person or entity, other than employees, to supervise, manage or oversee the performance of any portion of the work undertaken;
- The work does not affect the life safety requirements or structural integrity of the real property. Such repairs shall not include the removal or addition of any load bearing wall or the removal or cutting of any structural beam or load bearing support; and
The person performing repair must obtain permits and inspections as required by the local authority.
The building permit or copy, inspections card and construction plans must be kept the construction site until completion of the work. In some areas there is even a certain way a permit must be displayed like being posted within 36 to 48 inches above grade facing the street or in a window of the structure under construction in a manner where it is visible from the street. Even if it is able to be posted outside this permit needs to be in a weatherproof cover. This help in letter the owner and even individuals who pass by to know work is being done.
Macon County municipalities have their own Construction Codes. For more information contact City Hall in the community in which the permit is being sought.