Senate Bill 305

Click here to view or download Senate Bill 305 As Passed

A memo from the late David Hendrick:

Georgia Senate Bill 305 regarding the safety and fire inspection process passed both the Senate and the House and was signed by Governor Deal. This legislation never received a negative vote throughout the committee process or through the votes before the full Georgia Senate and House of Representatives.

This legislation addresses unwarranted or unsubstantiated changes that are sometimes required by fire inspectors in the field after project plans have been submitted, approved and constructed per code requirements all the way to the final inspection process. When signed into law and becoming effectual on July 1, 2014, this amendment will require fire inspectors to provide written notification substantiating where a violation of the code has occurred before they can require changes in construction, or modifications in a previously approved design. Under the law, if a state or local code official or building inspector determines that the in-place construction or plans for any building required to meet the state minimum fire safety standards do not comply with applicable codes or standards, such inspector or official may deny a permit or request for a certificate of occupancy or certificate of completion, as appropriate, or may issue a stop-work order for the project or any portion thereof as provided by law or rule or regulation, after giving written notification and opportunity to remedy the violation. Most importantly, the “written notification” must be in writing citing the specific sections of the applicable codes or standards that have been violated and describing specifically where and how the design or construction is noncompliant with such codes or standards.

 

Hopefully, this legislation will reduce arbitrary and subjective determinations by inspectors and code officials that often have required significant last minute additional work and modifications, not to mention cost and delay, based upon unsubstantiated and, ultimately, even incorrect “judgment calls.” This would allow expeditious and focused challenge of any such notification believed to be based upon an incorrect application or interpretation of applicable codes. Moreover, it would allow for an opportunity to “remedy” and cited violation before more drastic measures could be taken.

The legislation evolved in close coordination of the State Fire Marshal Dwayne Garriss and Senator Tippins and its House sponsors, Representatives Bill Hitchens and Alan Powell.