Jack Walker Published

Senate Bill Aims To Standardize State Building Codes

Senator Chandler Swope sits at his desk at the West Virginia Senate Government Organization Committee. He is seated behind a small black microphone and a placard with his name. Other members of the Senate, including one senator at his laptop, are blurred in the foreground.
At a meeting of the West Virginia Senate Government Organization Committee Thursday, Sen. Chandler Swope, R-Mercer, spoke in favor of a bill that would uphold state building codes.

Lawmakers took a step toward standardizing state building codes Thursday during a Senate Government Organization Committee meeting. 

Building codes are currently created by the West Virginia Fire Commission, then adopted on the county and municipal level.

But Senate Bill 629 would cut out the middleman, clarifying that building codes adopted on the state level necessarily apply to all counties and municipalities within the state.

Under the bill, county and municipal governments would still be responsible for providing building code enforcement services.

While the bill would not address building code enforcement, it clarifies that, unless exempt, all buildings in West Virginia must adhere to state codes, regardless of whether code violations are addressed on the local level.

Sen. Chandler Swope, R-Mercer, voiced his support for the bill, which he said would reaffirm the importance of adhering to state codes.

“Having been in the construction business, I have experience in this area,” Swope said. “I really believe you’re doing property owners a favor by encouraging them to follow building codes, because … not following proper codes leaves the property owner at a very high risk.”

Members of the committee voted unanimously in favor of the bill, sending it to the Senate floor with the recommendation that it pass.