Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to immediately facilitate needed housing production for the citizens of the commonwealth, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. The first paragraph of section 18 of chapter 6A of the General Laws, as most recently amended by section 8 of chapter 702 of the acts of 1979, is hereby further amended by striking out, in lines 12 and 13, the words "and the security and privacy council" and inserting in place thereof the words:- the security and privacy council; and the state board of building regulations and standards.
SECTION 2. Sections sixteen to twenty-three, inclusive, of chapter twenty-three B of the General Laws are hereby repealed.
SECTION 3. The second paragraph of section 4A of chapter 22 of the General Laws, as amended by section 1 of chapter 541 of the acts of 1974, is hereby further amended by striking out the second sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:- The commissioner may review, on his own initiative or on the application of any inspector, any action or refusal or failure of action by any local inspector the result of which does not comply with the uniform implementation of the state building code; and may reverse, modify, or annul, in whole or in part, such action except with respect to the specialized codes as described in section ninety-six of chapter one hundred and forty-three; provided, however, that no order or action of the commissioner shall reverse, modify, annul, or contravene any order, action, determination, interpretation or any decision by the state board of building regulations and standards or the state building code appeals board.
SECTION 4. Section 1 of chapter 143 of the General Laws is hereby further amended by striking out the definition of "Commission".
SECTION 4A. Said section 1 of said chapter 143 is hereby further amended by inserting after the definition of "Alteration" the following definition:-
"Board", the state board of building regulations and standards established by section ninety-three.
SECTION 4B. Said section 1 of said chapter 143 is hereby further amended by striking out the definition of "State building code" and inserting in place thereof the following definition:-
"State building code", the state building code and amendments and rules and regulations thereto as promulgated by the state board of building regulations and standards under the provisions of section ninety-three, ninety-four and ninety-five.
SECTION 5. Section 2B of said chapter 143, as amended by section 14 of chapter 802 of the acts of 1972, is hereby further amended by striking out the second sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:- Said board and said superintendent shall enforce said regulations.
SECTION 6. Section 3 of said chapter 143, as most recently amended by section 15 of said chapter 802, is hereby further amended by striking out, in lines 21 and 27, the word "commission" and inserting in place thereof, in each instance, the word:- board.
SECTION 7. The second paragraph of section 3A of said chapter 143, as appearing in section 12 of chapter 541 of the acts of 1974, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 1, the word "commission" and inserting in place thereof the word:- board.
SECTION 8. The first sentence of section 3Q of said chapter 143 is hereby amended by striking out the words "state building code commission", inserted by section 20 of chapter 802 of the acts of 1972, and inserting in place thereof the word:- board.
SECTION 9. The first paragraph of section 3R of said chapter 143, as appearing in section 21 of said chapter 802, is hereby amended by striking out, in lines 6 and 7 and in lines 10 and 11, the words "state building code commission" and inserting in place thereof, in each instance, the words:- state board of building regulations and standards,- and by striking out, in line 11, the word "commission" and inserting in place thereof the word:- board.
SECTION 10. Chapter 143 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following eight sections:-
Section 93. There is hereby established within the executive office of public safety a board to be known as the state board of building regulations and standards, in this section and in sections ninety-four to one hundred, inclusive, called the board. The board shall adopt and administer a state building code. The board shall consist of eleven members, one of whom shall be the state fire marshall, or his designee, one of whom shall be the chief of inspections of the division of inspection of the department of public safety or his designee, both of whom shall serve ex-officio and shall be voting members of the board, and nine persons to be appointed by the governor, one of whom shall be a registered architect, one of whom shall be a registered professional engineer who is a mechanical engineer, one of whom shall be a registered professional engineer who is a structural engineer, one of whom shall be a representative of the building trades, one of whom shall be a general contractor of commercial or industrial buildings, one of whom shall be a building contractor of one or two-family homes, one of whom shall be a head of a local fire department, one of whom shall be an inspector of buildings in a town and one of whom shall be an inspector of buildings in a city. Organizations representing the appropriate constituencies shall submit names of persons for appointment as members to the board. Each member shall be appointed for a term of five years, except that in making his initial appointments, the governor shall appoint one member for one year and two members to serve for two, three, four and five years respectively, as he may designate. Any person appointed to fill a vacancy shall serve only for the unexpired term. Any member shall be eligible for reappointment. Any member of the board may be removed by the governor for cause, after being given a written statement of the charges and an opportunity to be heard thereon. No member shall act as a member of the board or vote in connection with any matter as to which his private right, distinct from public interest, is concerned.
A majority of the members of the board shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of conducting business, but a lesser number may adjourn from time to time.
The board shall annually elect a chairman and a vice chairman from its members; provided, however, that no member shall serve as chairman or vice chairman for more than two consecutive years.
Each member of the board who is not otherwise an employee of the commonwealth shall receive from the commonwealth fifty dollars for each day or portion thereof spent in the performance of his official duties; provided, however, that the total sum paid to any member in any fiscal year shall not exceed three thousand dollars. Each member shall be paid necessary traveling and other expenses incurred in the performance of his duties.
The chief of inspections shall be responsible for the proper administration of the activities of the board and the supervision of the staff thereof. The department may employ such other professional, technical and clerical staff as is deemed necessary to assist the board.
Section 94. The board shall have the following powers and duties:
(a) To formulate, propose, adopt and amend rules and regulations relating to (i) the construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, demolition, removal, inspection, issuance and revocation of permits or licenses, installation of equipment, classification and definition of any building or structure and use or occupancy of all buildings and structures and parts thereof or classes of buildings and structures and parts thereof, except bridges and appurtenant supporting structures which have been or are to be constructed by or are under the custody and control of the department of public works, the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the metropolitan district commission or the Massachusetts Port Authority or for which said agencies have maintenance responsibility; (ii) the rehabilitation and maintenance of existing buildings; (iii) the standards or requirements for materials to be used in connection therewith, including but not limited to provisions for safety, ingress and egress, energy conservation, and sanitary conditions; (iv) the establishment of reasonable fees for inspections, which fees shall be collected and retained by the city or town conducting such inspections.
Such rules and regulations, together with any penalties for the violation thereof, as hereinafter provided, shall comprise and be collectively known as the state building code.
Whoever violates any provision of the state building code, except any specialized code as described in section ninety-six, shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, for each such violation. Each day during which a violation exists shall constitute a separate offense.
(b) To subpoena witnesses, take testimony, compel production of books and records and to hold public hearings. The board may designate one or more of its members to hold special public hearings and report on such hearings to the board.
(c) To make a continuing study of the operation of the state building code, and other laws relating to the construction of buildings to ascertain their effect upon the cost of building construction and the effectiveness of their provisions for health, safety, energy conservation and security.
(d) To recommend or require tests and approvals and specify criteria and conditions, of materials, devices, and methods of construction, either upon the initiative of the board or at the request of any interested person including, but not limited to, a manufacturer, builder, architect, engineer, inspector of buildings or building commissioner or local or state inspector, in order to ascertain the acceptability of said materials, devices and methods under the requirements of the state building code. The board shall issue certification of such acceptability, which certification shall be binding on all cities and towns.
(e) To review, on its own initiative or on the application of any inspector of buildings or building commissioner or of any local or state inspector, any interpretation under the state building code, and to reverse, modify or annul, in whole or in part, such interpretations except with respect to the specialized codes as defined in section ninety-six.
(f) To establish an advisory board to be known as the technical code council, to assist in and make recommendations relative to formulation, promulgation and administration of the state building code. Said council shall be convened regularly by the chief of inspections and shall establish its own rules for the conduct of its business. Said council shall include a representative from each state department, commission, agency, board, or division concerned with the state building code, including specialized codes referred to in section ninety-six, and such other members as may be determined by the board.
(g) To formulate administrative procedures and promulgate rules and regulations necessary to administer and enforce the state building code.
(h) To revise and amend the state building code exclusive of the specialized codes referred to in section ninety-six, at least once every five years, and to send a copy of such revisions or amendments to each inspector of buildings or building commissioner in every city or town and to each state inspector.
(i) To issue licenses to individuals engaged as construction supervisors. Fees for such licenses shall be collected and retained by the commonwealth.
(j) To designate and retain, where advisable, certain qualified third party agents to perform screening, testing, or technical services to the board to carry out its mandates.
Section 95. The powers and duties of the board set forth in section ninety-four shall be exercised to effect the following general objectives:
(a) Uniform standards and requirements for construction and construction materials, compatible with accepted standards of engineering and fire prevention practices, energy conservation and public safety.
In the formulation of such standards and requirements, performance for the use intended shall be the test of acceptability, in accordance with accredited testing standards.
(b) Adoption of modern technical methods, devices and improvements which may reduce the cost of construction and maintenance over the life of the building without affecting the health, safety and security of the occupants or users of buildings.
(c) Elimination of restrictive, obsolete, conflicting and unnecessary building regulations and requirements which may increase the cost of construction and maintenance over the life of the building or retard unnecessarily the use of new materials, or which may provide unwarranted preferential treatment of types of classes of materials, products or methods of construction without affecting the health, safety, and security of the occupants or users of buildings.
Section 96. The state building code shall incorporate any specialized construction codes, rules or regulations pertaining to building construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair or demolition promulgated by and under the authority of the various boards which have been authorized from time to time by the general court.
The specialized codes referred to in this section shall include, but not be limited to, the state plumbing code, electrical code, architectural barriers regulations, fire safety code, fire prevention regulations and elevator regulations.
Section 97. Except for the specialized codes, as defined in section ninety-six, which codes shall be amended only by the respective boards, commissions, departments or agencies authorized to do so by law, any person may propose amendments to the state building code. Public hearings shall be held in the city of Boston in May and November of each year, and at such other times and places as the board may determine, to consider petitions for such amendments. Petitions shall be submitted to the board no less than sixty days prior to the public hearing. The subject matter of a petition to be considered shall be indicated in all the required notices. The petitions shall be available for inspection at the office of the board and at the hearing. Any significant changes to the petition shall be the subject of a further public hearing before adoption. Adoption of an amendment to the state building code shall occur upon an affirmative vote by a majority of the members of the board at a regularly convened meeting within ninety days of the final public hearing on the given amendment.
The board shall send a copy of any amendments to the state building code which are adopted to each inspector of buildings or building commissioner, as defined by section one of chapter one hundred and forty-three, and to the secretary of the executive office of public safety within a reasonable time after filing said amendments with the state secretary.
Section 98. The board of selectmen in a town or the mayor in a city may recommend to the board the adoption of rules and regulations imposing more restrictive standards than those established by the state building code for construction, alteration, repair, demolition, and removal in such a city or town. If the board finds that more restrictive standards are reasonably necessary because of special conditions prevailing within such city or town and that such standards conform with accepted national and local engineering and fire prevention practices, with public safety and with the general purposes of a statewide building code, the board may, after notice to said board of selectmen or mayor, and after a public hearing, adopt rules and regulations, impose conditions in connection with the adoption thereof and terminate such rules and regulations at such time and in such manner as the board may deem necessary, desirable or proper.
Section 99. The board shall prepare and administer a continuing educational program of instruction designed to assist all local and state inspectors of buildings in executing their responsibilities under this chapter. Regular attendance at these meetings shall be required of all state and local inspectors and such instruction shall be given at such times and places as will insure its availability to state and local inspectors. No state or local inspector who attends such course of instruction shall lose any rights relative to compensation or vacation time.
Section 100. There shall be in the executive office of public safety a building code appeals board, hereinafter called the appeals board, to consist of the board established under the provisions of section ninety-three.
Whoever is aggrieved by an interpretation, order, requirement, direction or failure to act by any state or local agency or any person or state or local agency charged with the administration or enforcement of the state building code or any of its rules and regulations, except any specialized codes as described in section ninety-six, may within forty-five days after the service of notice thereof appeal from such interpretation, order, requirement, direction, or failure to act to the appeals board. Appeals hereunder shall be on forms provided by the appeals board and shall be accompanied by such fee as said appeals board may determine.
The state, city or town officer in charge of the records and all other papers and documents relative to an appeal shall forthwith, upon receipt of a request of the appeals board, transmit such papers and documents constituting such record to the appeals board.
An appeal shall stay all proceedings in furtherance of the action or failure to act appealed from unless the state or local agency or any person charged with the administration or enforcement of the state building code or any of its rules and regulations presents evidence that a stay would involve imminent peril of life or property.
The chairman of the appeals board may designate any three members of the appeals board to hold any public hearing under this section, and to hear testimony and take evidence.
The appeals board in hearings conducted under this section shall not be bound by strict rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity.
Decisions on appeal shall be made by the three members of the appeals board conducting the public hearing. Every decision shall require the concurrence of at least two of the three members holding the public hearing and the appeals board shall state in writing its findings of fact, its conclusions, reasons for its decision and indicate the vote of each member of the appeals board upon the decision.
The chairman shall fix a convenient time and place for a public hearing before said three members. Said hearing shall be held not later than thirty days after the filing of such appeal unless such time is extended by agreement with the appellant. The chairman shall give at least ten days notice of the time and place of said hearing to all interested parties. Any such party may appear in person or by agent or attorney at such hearing. The appeals board shall issue a decision or order reversing, affirming or modifying in whole or in part such interpretation, order or requirement, or postponing the application thereof, within thirty days after such hearing, unless such time is extended by agreement with the appellant.
The appeals board may grant a variance from any provision of this code in any particular case, may determine the suitability of alternate materials and methods of construction, and may provide reasonable interpretations of the provisions of this code; provided, however, that appeals board decisions shall not conflict with the general objectives set forth in section ninety-five.
In exercising its powers under this section, the appeals board may impose limitations both as to time and use, and a continuation of any use permitted may be conditioned upon compliance with regulations made and amended from time to time thereafter. A copy of such order or decision of the appeals board shall be sent forthwith by certified mail to all interested parties.
A record of all appeals board decisions and of votes thereunder, properly indexed, shall be maintained in the office of the appeals board and shall be open to public inspection at all times during regular business hours.
The appeals board may establish a local board of appeals in a city or town or a regional board of appeal for more than two or more cities or towns consisting of not less than three nor more than five members. The appeals board may require as a condition precedent to appeal to the appeals board that said appeal be first heard by such local or regional board of appeals. Such local or regional board of appeals may establish rules for its own procedure and shall have the same powers and duties relative to appeals as the building code appeals board. A copy of any decision by a local board of appeal shall be transmitted to the board within ten days after the rendering of such decision.
SECTION 11. That the general court hereby appropriates the sum of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars from the General Fund for the administration of the state building code.
SECTION 12. That the general court hereby further appropriates the sum of one hundred thousand dollars for development of the examination for the construction supervisor licensing program.
SECTION 13. The state board of building regulations and standards established under the provisions of section eighteen of chapter six A of the General Laws, within one hundred and eighty days of receiving its initial appropriations, shall establish a special commission for the purpose of making an investigation and study of the building construction regulatory system in the commonwealth. Said commission shall consist of said state board of building regulations and standards one member of the senate and one member of the house of representatives. Said commission shall include the following:- an examination of the national model codes and standards for possible use and adoption, in whole or in part in the commonwealth; a study and review of the permits, rules and regulations of the several boards, agencies and authorities which govern and control building construction and development of a proposal to create an effective means of coordinating such permits, rules and regulations to avoid conflicting requirements and jurisdictions; a study and report on methods and organizational structures used in other states for effective building and construction code and permit administration; a study and proposal for an on-going program for training and certification of local building officials; and a study and proposal of methods and actions which will accomplish the foregoing in the best, most reasonable and economic way cognizant of the importance of construction activity and the public safety. Said commission shall report to the general court and to the governor the results of its investigation and study, and its recommendations, if any, together with drafts of legislation necessary to carry its recommendations into effect, by filing the same with the clerk of the house of representatives on or before the last Wednesday in December, nineteen hundred and eighty-five.
SECTION 14. Section two hundred and seventy-two of chapter three hundred and fifty-one of the acts of nineteen hundred and eighty-one is hereby repealed.
SECTION 15. Item 8000-0160 of section 2 of chapter 234 of the acts of 1984 is hereby amended by striking out, in lines 3 and 4, the words "sixteen through twenty-three of chapter twenty-three B" and inserting in place thereof the words:- ninety-three to one hundred, inclusive, of chapter one hundred and forty-three of the General Laws.