Building Code Dispute Solution

Building code dispute? We have a solution

The energy efficiency requirements for one-and two-family dwellings and townhouses became effective on April 5, 2012. During the last year, home builders and building officials have struggled with compliance and enforcement, respectively. Whether it is the new energy efficiency requirements or other areas of the code that home builders and building officials may not see eye to eye on, you should know there is an avenue for settling your disagreements.

Code Interpretations by the Building Law Compliance Officer

Indiana Code 22-13-5 grants the Building Law Compliance Officer (formerly known as the Building Commissioner) in the Indiana Department of Homeland Security the authority to interpret a building law or a fire safety law. These interpretations may be issued upon the written request of an interested person, which refers to a person that has a dispute with a county or a municipality regarding the interpretation of a building law or a fire safety law. Further, the Building Law Compliance Officer may issue a written interpretation of a building law or fire safety law whether or not the county or municipality has taken any action to enforce the building law or fire safety law. This means a home builder does not have to wait to be red tagged before requesting a written interpretation. Finally, a written interpretation binds the interested person and the county or municipality with whom the interested person has the dispute until the written interpretation is overruled by the Indiana Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission. A written interpretation of a building law or fire safety law binds all counties and municipalities if the Building Law Compliance Officer publishes the written interpretation of the building law or fire safety law in the Indiana Register.

Requesting a Code Interpretation

To assure the Building Law Compliance Officer has the information necessary to issue a written interpretation, please include the following information in your written request: * Name and contact information of the builder (or remodeler, architect, engineer, etc.); * Name and contact information of the county or municipality in which the project is constructed; * Problem or concern and identify the specific section(s) of the Code for which the written interpretation is requested; and * All documents that are referenced should be included with the request, in addition to any other information that could assist the Building Law Compliance Officer in reaching a decision. Please submit your written request to Dean Illingworth, Building Law Compliance Officer, at 302 West Washington St Room E241, Indianapolis, IN 46204 or dillingworth@dhs.in.gov. Be sure to copy me on your submission at Carlie@Build Indiana.org. The Building Law Compliance Officer will research the applicable codes and send a written response to the requestor. While statute does not specify the turnaround time for receiving a response, Illingworth has expressed to IBA staff that he understands the need for prompt replies to requests for a written interpretation and that he will make every effort to render such within two weeks of receipt.

View Code Interpretations

Non-rule policy documents/interpretations of the Indiana Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission’s rules are posted online.

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