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Title 6 - Local Government - Provisions Applicable to Special Purpose Districts and Other Political Subdivisions
Public policy for building codes.
The public policy of South Carolina is to maintain reasonable standards of construction in buildings and other structures in the State consistent with the public health, safety, and welfare of its citizens. To secure these purposes, a person performing building codes enforcement must be certified by the South Carolina Building Codes Council, and this act is necessary to provide for certification.
To clarify the intent of the General Assembly and address questions which might arise or have arisen with respect to provisions of the nationally known codes which have been or are in place, only those portions or provisions of the nationally known building and safety codes which relate to building standards and safety are binding upon any state or local governmental entity or agency which adopts the building and safety codes authorized or required by Chapter 9 of Title 6 of the South Carolina Code of Laws.
Adoption of building codes by municipalities and counties; applicability to electric cooperatives, Public Service Authority and certain public utility corporations; conflicts with federal manufactured housing construction and installation regulations.
All municipalities, as defined by Section 5-1-20, and counties in this State shall adopt building, energy, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, gas, and fire codes, referred to as building codes in this chapter, relating to the construction, livability, sanitation, erection, energy efficiency, installation of equipment, alteration, repair, occupancy, or removal of structures located within their jurisdictions and promulgate regulations to implement their enforcement. The municipality or county may adopt only the national, regional, or model codes provided in Section 6-9-50.
With the exception of structures used primarily for offices, storage, warehouses, shop areas, or residential housing, nothing in the building codes or regulations applies to electric cooperatives, the Public Service Authority, or to a public utility corporation subject to regulation by the authorities of the South Carolina Public Service Commission or the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Board.
To the extent that federal regulations preempt state and local laws, nothing in this chapter shall conflict with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development regulations regarding manufactured housing construction and installation.
Agreements with other governmental entities for provision of services required by this chapter; affidavit for exemption.
Municipalities and counties may establish agreements with other governmental entities of the State to issue permits and enforce building codes in order to provide the services required by this chapter. The South Carolina Building Codes Council may assist in arranging for municipalities, counties, or consultants to provide the services required by this chapter to other municipalities or counties if a written request from the governing body of the municipality or county is submitted to the council. If a municipality or county determines that it is unable to arrange for services for any annual period at costs totally within the schedule of fees recommended in the appendixes to the building codes referred to in Section 6-9-50, the municipality or county shall submit an affidavit to the council to be exempt from the requirements of this chapter. If such an affidavit is submitted, the municipality or county is exempt from the requirements of this chapter, which exemption is effective until such time as it becomes financially feasible for a county or municipality to provide the services, or five years, whichever is less. A county or municipality may renew its affidavit at the end of five years and at each five-year interval thereafter if it makes another determination that it cannot arrange for services at costs totally within the schedule of fees recommended in the building codes referred to in Section 6-9-50.
Appointment of building official or contractual arrangement for such services; building inspection program.
Each county shall appoint a building official or contract with other political subdivisions as authorized in Section 6-9-20 so that the unincorporated area of the county is under the jurisdiction of a building official. Each municipality shall appoint a building official or contract for a building official within the municipal limits. Based on the needs established by each municipality or county, the building official or appointing authority may appoint and employ other personnel and assistants necessary to perform the required inspections and duties and may prescribe fees for construction permits and inspections. The appointment of a building official and the establishment of a building inspection program for all municipalities and counties must be accomplished according to the following dates and populations based on the population figures of the latest official United States Census:
(1) municipalities and counties with a population above 70,000: one year after the effective date of this provision;
(2) municipalities and counties with a population of 35,000 to 70,000: two years after the effective date of this provision;
(3) municipalities and counties with a population under 35,000: three years after the effective date of this provision.
Time frame for adoption of certain building codes and standards; procedures.
The building codes and standards referenced in Section 6-9-50 must be adopted within six months after the establishment of a building inspection department. State agency adoption of a building code or regulation permitted by this chapter must be accomplished in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act.
Mandatory adoption of certain nationally recognized codes and standards; adoption by reference; residential buildings.
(A) Municipalities and counties shall adopt by reference only the latest editions of the following nationally recognized codes and the standards referenced in those codes for regulation of construction within their respective jurisdictions: building, residential, gas, plumbing, mechanical, fire, and energy codes as promulgated, published, or made available by the Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc., and the National Electrical Code, as published by the National Fire Protection Association. The appendices of the codes provided in this section may be adopted as needed by a municipality or county, but the specific appendix or appendices must be referenced by name or letter designation in the adoption ordinance. However, the provisions of the codes referenced in this section which concern the qualification, removal, dismissal, duties, responsibilities of, and administrative procedures for all building officials, deputy building officials, chief inspectors, other inspectors, and assistants do not apply unless they have been adopted by the municipal or county governing body.
(B) The governing body of a county may not enforce that portion of a nationally recognized fire prevention code it has adopted which may regulate outdoor burning for forestry, wildlife, and agricultural purposes as regulated by the South Carolina Forestry Commission.
(C) A residential building is considered in compliance with the Building Envelope Requirements of the Energy Code if:
(1) it is built in compliance with prescriptive standards issued by the South Carolina Residential Builders Commission, in consultation with the State Energy Office, based on computer models of the Energy Code including, but not limited to, options developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, or other nationally recognized laboratories which use the standards developed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, for South Carolina's climatic zones, or
(2) if double pane or single pane with storm windows are used for window glass and in the case of ceilings, exterior walls, floors with crawl space, and heating and air conditioning duct work, the determination of the minimum thermal resistance ratings (R-value) is:
(a) R-30 for ceilings, except for ceiling/roof combinations, which must be at least R-19;
(b) R-13 for exterior walls;
(c) R-19 for floors with crawl space;
(d) R-6, or the installed equivalent, for heating and air conditioning duct work not located in conditioned space.
Adoption and modification of certain nationally recognized codes and standards; adoption by reference; residential buildings.
(A) Municipalities and counties may adopt by reference only the latest editions of the following nationally recognized codes and the standards referenced in those codes for regulation of construction within their respective jurisdictions: property maintenance, existing building and swimming pool codes as promulgated, published, or made available by the Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc. The appendices of the codes provided in this section may be adopted as needed by a municipality or county, but the specific appendix or appendices must be referenced by name or letter designation in the adopting ordinance. However, the provisions of the codes referenced in this section which concern the qualification, removal, dismissal, duties, responsibilities of, and the administrative procedures for all building officials, deputy building officials, chief inspectors, other inspectors, and assistants do not apply unless they have been adopted by the municipal or county governing body. If a municipality or county contends that the codes authorized by this chapter do not meet its needs due to local physical or climatological conditions, the variations and modifications must be submitted for approval to the South Carolina Building Codes Council of sixteen members which is established in this section.
(B) Members of the council must be appointed by the Governor, for terms of four years each and until a successor is appointed and qualifies. The council shall consist of:
(1) an architect registered in South Carolina;
(2) a municipal administrator, manager, or elected official;
(3) a county administrator, manager, or elected official;
(4) a representative of the electrical industry who is either an engineer or master electrician registered in South Carolina;
(5) a general contractor licensed in South Carolina;
(6) a residential home builder licensed in South Carolina from a list of qualified candidates submitted to the Governor by the Home Builders Association of South Carolina;
(7) a disabled person;
(8) a representative of the mechanical and gas industries who is either an engineer registered in South Carolina or a master mechanic;
(9) a representative of the plumbing industry who is either an engineer registered in South Carolina or a master plumber;
(10) a representative designated by the State Engineer of the Budget and Control Board;
(11) a structural engineer registered in South Carolina;
(12) a representative of the general public who is not in the practice of home or safety inspection, construction, or building who does not have any financial interest in these professions, and who does not have any immediate family member in these professions;
(13) a representative designated by the State Fire Marshal;
(14) a representative of the modular building industry from a list of qualified candidates submitted to the Governor by the Manufactured Housing Institute of South Carolina;
(15) a representative designated by the Director of the State Energy Office of the Budget and Control Board; and
(16) a code enforcement officer registered in South Carolina.
A vacancy must be filled in the manner of the original appointment for the unexpired portion of the term. The primary function of the council is to decide to what extent a jurisdiction may vary from the series of codes listed in this chapter in the establishment of construction standards. The council shall monitor the adoption of building codes by municipalities and counties to ensure compliance with this chapter. Members of the council shall receive mileage, subsistence, and per diem as provided for other state boards, committees, or commissions for attendance at board meetings called by the chairman. The council shall elect from its members a chairman, vice chairman, and secretary. The council shall adopt regulations consistent with this chapter. The council shall meet at least two times a year and at other times upon the call of the chairman or a majority of the council. All members must be notified by the chairman in writing of the time and place of the meeting at least seven days in advance of the meeting. All meetings are open to the public. At least two-thirds vote of those members in attendance at the meeting constitutes an official decision of the council.
(C) The Building Codes Council is authorized to review, approve, and adopt any new additions or amendments of the codes referenced in this chapter for use, reject those codes in whole or in part, or approve continued use of sections of earlier versions of the codes which had been previously approved and adopted. Except as may be provided in this section, local jurisdictions may only adopt the version of the code approved by the Building Codes Council.
Regulation of construction or improvement of farm structure; authority to issue building permits.
(A) For purposes of this section, "farm structure" means a structure which is constructed on a farm, other than a residence or a structure attached to it, for use on the farm including, but not limited to, barns, sheds, and poultry houses, but not public livestock areas. For purposes of this section, "farm structure" does not include a structure originally qualifying as a "farm structure" but later converted to another use.
(B) The governing body of a county or municipality may not enforce that portion of a nationally recognized building code it has adopted which regulates the construction or improvement of a farm structure. The standards published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the National Flood Insurance Program shall apply.
(C) The provisions of this section do not apply unless before constructing a farm structure the person owning the property on which the structure is to be constructed files an affidavit with the county or municipal official responsible for enforcing the building code stating that the structure is being constructed as a farm structure. The affidavit must include a statement of purpose or intended use of the proposed structure or addition.
(D) This section does not affect the authority of the governing body of a county or municipality to issue building permits before the construction or improvement of a farm structure.
Penalties for violation of code or regulation; opportunity to remedy certain violations.
(A) A person found to be in violation of the building codes or regulations adopted pursuant to the provisions of this chapter must be fined, by civil fine, in an amount not more than two hundred dollars. Each day the violation continues is a separate offense. However, this provision does not prevent a county or municipality from exercising its authority to impose by ordinance criminal sanctions of a fine of not more than two hundred dollars or imprisonment for not more than thirty days in lieu of the civil penalties required by this provision.
(B) However, before being charged with a second violation, an individual must be given seven calendar days to remedy the violation if in the opinion of the inspector or official it does not place the public in imminent danger or create an emergency situation. Each day a violation continues is a separate offense if the inspector or official determines the situation places the public in imminent danger or creates an emergency situation. In a situation which does not place the public in imminent danger or create an emergency situation, if in the opinion of the inspector or official no substantial progress is made toward correcting the violation by the end of the seventh calendar day, each day the violation continues thereafter is considered a separate offense.
Mandamus and injunctive relief for violation of code or regulation.
For a violation of the building codes or regulations adopted pursuant to this chapter, the local building officials, municipal or county attorneys, or other appropriate authorities of a political subdivision, or an adjacent or neighboring property owner who would be damaged by the violation, in addition to other remedies, may apply for injunctive relief, mandamus, or other appropriate proceeding.
Imposition of fees upon vote; exceptions.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the governing body of a county or municipality may impose fees necessary to implement and continue the programs required by this chapter upon a vote of a simple majority of the governing body unless (1) a super majority vote is required by local ordinance, or (2) prior to December 1, 1998, the General Assembly specifically amends, repeals, or otherwise affects this law by direct reference to this section, or (3) after November 30, 1998, the General Assembly provides otherwise by law.
Provisions of chapter cumulative; county and municipality authority not limited.
The provisions of this chapter are cumulative to other local ordinances and do not limit the authority of counties or municipalities.
Ordinances or regulations requiring purchase or acquisition of permit or license; inapplicability to certain state and school district projects; jurisdiction of deputy state fire marshals and certified State Engineer's Office of the Budget and Control Board personnel.
(A) A county, municipal, or other local ordinance or regulation which requires the purchase or acquisition of a permit, license, or other device utilized to enforce any building standard does not apply to a:
(1) state department, institution, or agency permanent improvement project, construction project, renovation project, or property; or
(2) school district facility, permanent improvement project, construction project, renovation project, or property which is reviewed and approved by the State Department of Education; except that the State Department of Education or a local school district may direct that the local ordinance or regulation apply to a particular facility, project, or property.
(B) After successful completion of all requirements, the State Fire Marshal shall certify personnel of the State Engineer's Office of the Budget and Control Board designated by the State Engineer. The certified personnel and deputy state fire marshals, including resident state fire marshals, have exclusive jurisdiction over state buildings, including schools, in the exercise of the powers and jurisdictional authority of the State Fire Marshal under Sections 23-9-30, 23-9-40, and 23-9-50.
Effect on water, landscape irrigation and sewer systems.
Nothing in this chapter affects landscape irrigation systems, except those where chemical concentrates are directly injected, water systems, or sewer systems in this State.
Guidelines for building inspections.
Buildings must be inspected according to the codes in effect for the locality on the date of the issuance of the building permit.