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Maine Building Code

Please note
Since the following article appeared in the June 2004 issue
of the OPLA-Notes Newsletter the Maine law has been amended.
Please see links for the updates in the tan box to the left.

Maine Adopts a Voluntary Statewide Building Code

Marking the end of a decades-long debate over adoption of a statewide building code, on March 30, 2004, P.L. 2003, chapter 580 was signed into law, paving the way for the Maine Model Building Code to begin taking effect in municipalities throughout the State as of July 30, 2004.

The new law creates the Maine Model Building Code ("MMBC"), which is composed of the International Residential Code and International Building Code, both of which are part of the International Codes Council ("ICC") family of codes. The law does not mandate that any municipality adopt the MMBC, but requires that, if a municipality does voluntarily choose to adopt a new residential or non-residential building code, it must adopt the MMBC. The law allows municipalities the flexibility of adopting only portions of the MMBC and of amending the MMBC locally if it wishes to do so.

Passage of the MMBC began with consideration of LD 1025 ("An Act to Ensure Uniform Code Compliance and Efficient Oversight of Construction in the State") by the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Business, Research and Economic Development in the Spring of 2003. That Committee learned during the course of its deliberations on the bill that a "working group" had been formed to consider the issue of development and adoption of a statewide building code. The effort was spearheaded by the Maine Building Officials and Inspectors Association, with the aid of a professional facilitator hired by the Maine State Planning Office. The "Building Code Working Group," as it came to be known, counted among its members representatives of over 50 organizations, ranging from the Associated Constructors of Maine and Maine Home Builders and Remodelers Association to the American Institute of Architects to the State Fire Marshal’s Office to the Maine Municipal Association.

After gaining assurances from members of the working group that a substantial effort was underway to forge a consensus on issues that had confounded and divided the building and contracting community and state officials for years, such as choice of a family of codes to adopt statewide, the Committee carried over two bills into the Second Regular Session of the 121 st Legislature: LD 1025, and LD 1551 ("An Act to License Home Building and Improvement Contractors").

The Building Code Working Group met throughout the summer of 2003 and into the fall, and on October 8th issued a report representing consensus on a choice of a residential and a commercial building code and recommended steps for implementation of those codes. The measure ultimately passed by the Legislature and signed into law closely tracks these recommendations. LD 1551, which would have created a system of licensing for contractors who perform home construction or home improvement services, was not enacted.

Adoption of the MMBC also paved the way for enactment of P.L. 2003, chapter 605 (LD 1663), which directs the State Planning Office to provide assistance to any municipality that adopts a rehabilitation building code that is consistent with the MMBC.


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