State building code awaits Lynch’s signature

A new statewide residential building code, stricter regulation of junkyards and licensing of gas fitters were among the bills affecting businesses passed by last week by lawmakers.

The statewide building code, back by the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of New Hampshire was considered a shoe-in. The House Executive Departments & Administration Committee unanimously recommended passage, and it was put on the House consent calendar but at the last minute was submitted to a roll call vote.

The home builders backed the code essentially because they have been frustrated by having to follow different codes depending in different communities.

“This complexity translates into confusion for builders who have to adhere to different, sometimes out of date requirements,” the Home Builders Association said.

But Rep. Neal Kurk, R-Weare, questioned whether the law would “prevent me from being able to construct my home in my own way, or the way my local town decided upon.”

In the end, uniform standards trumped local control, and the bill passed on a 220-112 vote. It now on its way to Governor Lynch for his signature.

Also on its way to the governor from the Senate side:

• House Bill 1711 – known as Amelia’s law after a person who died in a gas explosion – licenses gasfitters, similar to the way the state licenses electrician and plumbers. Supporters said that it would prevent unqualified people from doing shoddy work that could result in other fatal accidents. The bill passed on a 23-1 vote with only Robert Boyce, R-Alton Bay, voting against it. In the past, he questioned whether licensing would have prevented the accident that killed Amelia.
• HB 1307, which would force junkyards — or automotive recycling yards, as they are now known – to include with their license applications a certification of compliance with best management practices established by the Department of Environmental Services. – BOB SANDERS

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