We're working to make the state safer with legislative Bills 845 and 846
This week we had some good news – two of our DAS agency bills advanced out of the Public Safety and Security Committee! We wanted to take this opportunity to share a little bit about the good work of our agency, and how these bills will enhance it.
As an administrative agency, DAS is involved with more than just human resources and information technology -- we’re also home to the Office of the State Fire Marshal and the Office of the State Building Inspector which do a lot do to keep the public safe by making sure our buildings are inspected and up to code, and that inspections are being done in a timely manner.
This is why we drafted and advocated for two important bills that advanced this week. The first, Senate Bill 845, An Act Concerning The State Fire Prevention and Fire Safety Codes, Membership of the Code Training and Education Board of Control, Appointment of a Temporary Fire Marshal and Reports Filed After a Fire, Explosion or Other Fire Emergency, does the following:
This bill makes technical changes to both the Fire Prevention Code and the Fire Safety Code and updates outdated language that could create vagueness and confusion as to the roles of both the two codes, as well as the enforcement authority of the State Fire Marshal.
Under current law, if someone wants to appeal the decision of a local fire marshal under the Fire Safety Code, that appeal would be heard by an administrative body. This bill creates a parallel procedure for administrative review of a decision of a local fire marshal pursuant to the Fire Prevention Code to the Fire Prevention Code Committee, providing an extra layer of review before such decision goes before the Superior Court.
This bill also clarifies existing smoke and warning equipment requirements, specifically allowing Connecticut homeowners to take advantage of technological advances such as wireless smoke alarms (instead of hard-wired ones).
This bill streamlines the administrative work of the State Fire Marshal by eliminating duplicative reporting requirements, among other things.
The second bill, Senate Bill 846, An Act Concerning the Certification of Independent Inspectors and Inspection Firms to Perform State Building Code Inspections, establishes a program to certify independent inspectors and inspection firms to perform inspections under the State Building Code.
DAS has learned that most municipalities have not been able to staff their building inspection department adequately to meet the demand for construction inspections. This limited staffing causes delays in scheduling inspections, thereby creating delays in productivity for contractors. This bill would create a new pool of licensed and certified inspectors, allowing contractors to work more efficiently with increased scheduling certainty, providing cost savings and encouraging development. Under this bill:
The State Building Inspector and the Codes and Standards Committee – in consultation with organized labor and impacted industry, and with the approval of DAS – will establish a program to certify licensed inspection firms and inspectors to conduct plan review and inspection services for construction and renovation of buildings;
Third-party inspection firms would work under delegated authority from local building officials;
DAS would establish and maintain administrative guidelines and procedures for inspections and reviews; and
Ensure the work of inspection firms is audited and that the reviews and inspections meet rigorous standards.
The bottom line is this – DAS is working hard in the community, as well as at the Capitol, to keep the public safe and to make sure government is running efficiently.
We will keep you posted on other legislative updates as the legislative session progresses!