The fire that destroyed more than 200 apartment units in the Avalon at Edgewater in January has sparked some heated debate about safety and fire codes. Although the back and forth between jurisdiction and permission to change codes is slowing the process, New Jersey Construction Liability is increased as new regulations are put into place over the next few months.
Firefighters, residents, and lawmakers are all on board with improving fire safety after the recent blaze. While a revised code was implemented late last month, there are many components that were fought that are still missing from the updated code, according to North Jersey.
“While many people commented on changes they wish to see in the code relative to the construction of mid-rise buildings, we have no authority to exceed what the national code calls for,” said Charles Richman, DCA Commissioner. This issue is relative to the International Code Council’s guidelines that overshadow local authority on safety regulations. While their department had already initiated a review procedure prior to the Avalon fire, Richman declared he was under the impression that the state code could not “exceed” the International Code Council.
One of the main revisions that many are pushing for is a change in construction materials. Light wood framing, such as the kind that was used in Avalon’s construction, burn quickly and are more prone to collapse. While these might be less expensive than other options, these materials pose serious safety concerns.
Richman is requesting feedback from the public and industry experts for future code revisions. However, these changes would not be implemented until 2018. During the interim, DCA and the International Code Council can hopefully come to a legislative agreement.
Richman stressed “The fire occurred after the beginning of the 2015 [code] adoption. We are constrained by the changes, but we did affirmatively ask people to make comment. The fact that we didn’t make changes doesn’t negate our reading or our understanding of what people wanted.”
While the governmental parties become involved and legislation on the codes is in limbo, construction companies should gear up to follow revised building regulations in the coming months. At Tri-State Insurance Agency, we strive to provide complete insurance packages in order to protect your construction operation. Our specialty coverage extends to your business, property, and employees, as well. For more information, contact our experts today at (888) 990-0526.