LEARN ABOUT: Statewide enforcement of the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code beginning July 1, 2012
By: Rudman Winchell Attorney Mark D. Beaumont
Effective July 1, 2012, enforcement of the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code (“MUBEC”) will be mandatory in all municipalities in Maine that have more than 4,000 residents. See 10 M.R.S. § 9724. For those municipalities with fewer than 4,000 residents and no pre-existing building code, adoption and enforcement of the MUBEC is not mandatory – but be aware that those exempt municipalities may not adopt or enforce any building code other than the MUBEC or its subparts. 10 M.R.S. § 9724(1-A).
The Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code was initially adopted by the state legislature in 2007, and consists of four international codes established by the International Code Council , and other American standards . See 10 M.R.S. § 9721; see also 16-642 C.M.R. chs. 1-6 (2010). The intent behind the MUBEC was to reduce or eliminate the idiosyncratic differences in building code ordinances that had grown in separate towns and cities, and to hold architects, engineers, contractors, builders and developers to the same standards statewide.
The MUBEC made its first significant impact on Maine’s construction industry on December 1, 2010, when it officially replaced the Maine Model Energy Code and superseded any pre-existing building code ordinance that was inconsistent with the MUBEC. 10 M.R.S. § 9724(2). So if you are a resident of, or work in the construction industry in, a city or town that already had a building code as of August 2008, this July 1, 2012 effective date holds little meaning because those municipalities have been required to adhere to the MUBEC standards since December 2010.
But for those towns and cities with more than 4,000 residents who have yet to enact building code ordinances – or those municipalities who have enacted building codes since August 2008 – beginning July 1, 2012 they, and you, will no longer have a choice. Construction professionals must adhere to the standards of the MUBEC, and municipalities must enforce the MUBEC through their regular inspection procedures.
If you are a construction professional, municipal officer, or private resident with questions about the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code and how it may impact your business or personal life, or if you have any other construction-related legal issues, we welcome the opportunity to assist you.
10 M.R.S. §§ 9721-9725 (2011).
The 2009 International Residential Code; 2009 International Building Code; 2009 International Existing Building Code; and 2009 International Energy Conservation Code.
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards for Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality; Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Low-Rise Residential Building; Energy Standard for Buildings except Low-Rise Residential Buildings; and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)’s Standard Practice for Radon Control Options for the Design and Construction of New Low-Rise Residential Buildings. See 16-642 C.M.R. ch. 1, § 7.2 (2010).