City taking steps to update building, property maintenance code books
August 07. 2014 9:44AM
Efforts are being made to bring Brandon up to code, in both new construction and property maintenance regulations.
And city building official/code enforcement officer Paul Clarke is tackling the project as promised.
When Clarke took over as Brandon’s building official/code enforcement officer last April, he pledged to do two things: update the department’s technology and the city building and property maintenance codes.
Clarke is making good on those promises now. Last week, he gave advance notice to the Brandon City Council that those updates are in progress.
Presently, the city operates under the 2009 International Code Council guidelines. Clarke is proposing to update Brandon to the 2012 codes.
“The City of Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County are on the 2012 codes,” Clarke said.
“We’ll use these codes through 2015 and then update when Minnehaha County does.”
Consistent regulations benefit developers, contractors and property owners, Clarke said.
“It’s important for us to consistent with the jurisdiction around us,” he said.
The ICC makes adjustments to the building codes every three years, Clarke said, noting the 2015 codes are now being rolled out. However, Clarke said very few jurisdictions adopt the newest versions immediately.
“We’ll stay with the 2012 codes for a couple of years before we upgrade to 2015,” he said. “If we delayed another year, we’d jump over 2012 and go to 2015, so we’ll get this one on board and settled in, and in the future, we’ll try to keep up with the state, the county and the City of Sioux Falls.”
The process to updating the ordinance includes two public hearings, a published legal notice and a 20-day wait period following the published notice. Clarke said the national 2012 building codes should be in place by early October. The ordinance’s first reading is tentatively planned for Aug. 18 and the second reading is planned for the City Council’s Sept. 2 session.
The International Residence Code and International Building Code both deal with new construction, Clarke said, such as decks, homes and commercial buildings.
Once those projects are complete, Clarke said, once the International Property Maintenance Codes are adopted by the city, those regulations “kicks in for the balance of that property’s (existence).
“This book allows building officials, architects and engineers to take an old building and bring it up to newer codes, but not necessarily all the way if it’s not cost effective or realistic,” Clarke said. “This code book will allow you to do alternative things to make the building safe.”
The property maintenance codes will also apply to all existing properties, he said.
The maintenance code deals with nuisances such as overgrown grass, failure to clear snow from sidewalks, junked and unlicensed cars or broken windows, for example.
Clark said the codes also adhere to interior conditions of property.
“What Melissa (LaBahn) and I are trying to do is take the existing ordinances that we have on deck and marry them up with this new international property maintenance codes so we don’t have duplication and conflict with the language,” Clarke said. “If we adopted that book as is, there could be some conflict with the existing codes. But this other book is going to be complete as we know it. It will deal with anything that somebody has a problem with, and we’ll go after it to bring the citizen and the property up to a reasonable property code.”