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New bill could limit counties’ control over building codes

Updated: Feb. 1, 2020 at 4:41 AM EST
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LEE CO., Ga. (WALB) - Georgia Legislators proposed a bill that could limit local government’s control over their structures.

Lee County enforces the state minimum standard codes.

This bill could bring on a few changes to certain structures.

Joey Davenport, the chief building official and the first VP of Building Officials Association of Georgia, said this is why their presence at the capitol is necessary.

Joey Davenport is the First Vice President of the Building Officials Association of Georgia.
Joey Davenport is the First Vice President of the Building Officials Association of Georgia.(WALB)

From floods to fallen trees, Lee County has taken hits, but most buildings still stand tall.

“I would say Lee County homes faired very well in the recent storms that we’ve had,” said Davenport.

Davenport said they held up despite what they couldn’t control.

“The significant damage for the most part to homes was not structural flaws or lack of enforcement of the building code, it was related to things like trees falling on homes,” said Davenport.

Lee County meets the minimum code standards set by the state. the county also enforces a flood prevention ordinance.

Davenport said the county could adopt above-code programs called disaster-resistant from the state.

“These above-code programs are designed at creating a building that is better suited to withstanding the impacts of a disaster,” explained Davenport.

Some codes could change if lawmakers pass House Bill 302, which is being presented during this legislative session.

“If Lee County decided at some point that they would like to have some sort of regulation affecting one or two-family dwellings, this bill, if it were to become law, would preempt the county from being able to do that,” said Davenport.

Davenport wants a stronger presence in Atlanta.

“Maybe the legislators get more than one side of the story that they understand why code is a certain way or what the real intent of it is,” said Davenport.

Davenport said they try to make sure any construction meets the standards of the state minimum. That goes for the new hospital and the recent renovations the county made to the fire station.

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