Article 9C.

North Carolina Code Officials Qualification Board.

143-151.8.  Definitions.

(a)        As used in this Article, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1)        "Board" means the North Carolina Code Officials Qualification Board.

(2)        "Code" means the North Carolina State Building Code and related local building rules approved by the Building Code Council enacted, adopted or approved under G.S. 143-138, any resolution adopted by a federally recognized Indian Tribe under G.S. 153A-350.1 in which the Tribe adopts the North Carolina State Building Code and related local building rules, and the standards adopted by the Commissioner of Insurance under G.S. 143-143.15(a).

(3)        "Code enforcement" means the examination and approval of plans and specifications, or the inspection of the manner of construction, workmanship, and materials for construction of buildings and structures and components thereof, or the enforcement of fire code regulations as an employee of the State or local government or as an employee of a federally recognized Indian Tribe employed to perform inspections on tribal lands under G.S. 153A-350.1, as an individual contracting with the State or a local government or a federally recognized Indian Tribe who performs inspections on tribal lands under G.S. 153A-350.1 to conduct inspections, or as an individual who is employed by a company contracting with a county or a city to conduct inspections, except an employee of the State Department of Labor engaged in the administration and enforcement of those sections of the Code which pertain to boilers and elevators, to assure compliance with the State Building Code and related local building rules.

(4)        "Local inspection department" means the agency or agencies of local government, or any government agency of a federally recognized Indian Tribe under G.S. 153A-350.1, with authority to make inspections of buildings and to enforce the Code and other laws, ordinances, and rules enacted by the State and the local government or a federally recognized Indian Tribe under G.S. 153A-350.1, which establish standards and requirements applicable to the construction, alteration, repair, or demolition of buildings, and conditions that may create hazards of fire, explosion, or related hazards.

(5)        "Qualified Code-enforcement official" means a person qualified under this Article to engage in the practice of Code enforcement.

(b)        For purposes of this Article, the population of a city or county shall be determined according to the most current federal census, unless otherwise specified. (1977, c. 531, s. 1; 1987, c. 827, ss. 224, 225; 1989, c. 681, s. 15; 1993, c. 232, s. 4.1; 1999-78, s. 2; 1999-372, s. 5; 2001-421, s. 2.4.)

 

143-151.9.  North Carolina Code Officials Qualification Board established; members; terms; vacancies.

(a)        There is hereby established the North Carolina Code Officials Qualification Board in the Department of Insurance. The Board shall be composed of 20 members appointed as follows:

(1)        One member who is a city or county manager;

(2)        Two members, one of whom is an elected official representing a city over 5,000 population and one of whom is an elected official representing a city under 5,000 population;

(3)        Two members, one of whom is an elected official representing a county over 40,000 population and one of whom is an elected official representing a county under 40,000 population;

(4)        Two members serving as building officials with the responsibility for administering building, plumbing, electrical and heating codes, one of whom serves a county and one of whom serves a city;

(5)        One member who is a registered architect;

(6)        One member who is a registered engineer;

(7)        Two members who are licensed general contractors, at least one of whom specializes in residential construction;

(8)        One member who is a licensed electrical contractor;

(9)        One member who is a licensed plumbing or heating contractor;

(10)      One member selected from the faculty of the North Carolina State University School of Engineering and one member selected from the faculty of the School of Engineering of the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University;

(11)      One member selected from the faculty of the School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill;

(12)      One member selected from the Community Colleges System Office;

(13)      One member selected from the Division of Engineering and Building Codes in the Department of Insurance; and,

(14)      One member who is a local government fire prevention inspector and one member who is a citizen of the State.

The various categories shall be appointed as follows: (1), (2), (3), and (14) by the Governor; (4), (5), and (6) by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the President Pro Tempore in accordance with G.S. 120-121; (7), (8), and (9) by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives in accordance with G.S. 120-121; (10) by the deans of the respective schools of engineering of the named universities; (11) by the Dean of the School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; (12) by the President of the Community  Colleges System; and (13) by the Commissioner of Insurance.

(b)        The members shall be appointed for staggered terms and the initial appointments shall be made prior to September 1, 1977, and the appointees shall hold office until July 1 of the year in which their respective terms expire and until their successors are appointed and qualified as provided hereafter:

For the terms of one year: the members from subdivisions (1), (6) and (10) of subsection (a), and one member from subdivision (3).

For the terms of two years: the member from subdivision (11) of subsection (a), one member from subdivision (2), one member from subdivision (4), one member from subdivision (7), and one member from subdivision (14).

For the terms of three years: the members from subdivisions (8) and (12) of subsection (a), one member from subdivision (2), one member from subdivision (4), and one member from subdivision (14).

For the terms of four years: the members from subdivision (5), (9) and (13) of subsection (a), one member from subdivision (3), and one member from subdivision (7).

Thereafter, as the term of each member expires, his successor shall be appointed for a term of four years. Notwithstanding the appointments for a term of years, each member shall serve at the will of the Governor.

Members of the Board who are public officers shall serve ex officio and shall perform their duties on the Board in addition to the duties of their office.

(c)        Vacancies in the Board occurring for any reason shall be filled for the unexpired term by the person making the appointment. (1977, c. 531, s. 1; 1987, c. 564, s. 28; 1989, c. 681, s. 16; 1995, c. 490, s. 12(a); 1999-84, s. 22; 2006-264, s. 29(m).)

 

143-151.10.  Compensation.

Members of the Board who are State officers or employees shall receive no salary for serving on the Board, but shall be reimbursed for their expenses in accordance with G.S. 138-6. Members of the Board who are full-time salaried public officers or employees other than State officers or employees shall receive no salary for serving on the Board, but shall be reimbursed for subsistence and travel expenses in accordance with G.S. 138-5(a)(2) and (3). All other members of the Board shall receive compensation and reimbursement for expenses in accordance with G.S. 138-5(a). (1977, c. 531, s. 1.)

 

143-151.11.  Chairman; vice-chairman; other officers; meetings; reports.

(a)        The members of the Board shall select one of their members as chairman upon its creation, and shall select the chairman each July 1 thereafter.

(b)        The Board shall select a vice-chairman and such other officers  and committee chairmen from among its members, as it deems desirable, at the first regular meeting of the Board after its creation and at the first regular meeting after July 1 of each year thereafter. Provided, nothing in this subsection shall prevent the creation or abolition of committees or offices of the Board, other than the office of vice-chairman, as the need may arise at any time during the year.

(c)        The Board shall hold at least four regular meetings per year upon the call of the chairman. Special meetings shall be held upon the call of the chairman or the vice-chairman, or upon the written request of four members of the Board.

(d)       The activities and recommendations of the Board with respect to standards for Code officials training and certification shall be set forth in regular and special reports made by the Board. Additionally, the Board shall present special reports and recommendations to the Governor or the General Assembly, or both, as the need may arise or as the Governor or the General Assembly may request. (1977, c. 531, s. 1.)

 

143-151.12.  Powers.

In addition to powers conferred upon the Board elsewhere in this Article, the Board shall have the power to:

(1)        Adopt rules necessary to administer this Article;

(1a)      Require State agencies, local inspection departments, and local governing bodies to submit reports and information about the employment, education, and training of Code-enforcement officials;

(2)        Establish minimum standards for employment as a Code-enforcement official: (i) in probationary or temporary status, and (ii) in permanent positions;

(3)        Certify persons as being qualified under the provisions of this Article to be Code-enforcement officials, including persons employed by a federally recognized Indian Tribe to perform inspections on tribal lands under G.S. 153A-350.1;

(4)        Consult and cooperate with counties, municipalities, agencies of this State, other governmental agencies, and with universities, colleges, junior colleges, community colleges and other institutions concerning the development of Code-enforcement training schools and programs or courses of instruction;

(5)        Establish minimum standards and levels of education or equivalent experience for all Code-enforcement instructors, teachers or professors;

(6)        Conduct and encourage research by public and private agencies which shall be designed to improve education and training in the administration of Code enforcement;

(7)        Adopt and amend bylaws, consistent with law, for its internal management and control; appoint such advisory committees as it may deem necessary; and enter into contracts and do such other things as may be necessary and incidental to the exercise of its authority pursuant to this Article; and,

(8)        Make recommendations concerning any matters within its purview pursuant to this Article. (1977, c. 531, s. 1; 1987, c. 564, s. 15; c. 827, s. 226; 1999-78, s. 3.)

 

143-151.13.  Required standards and certificates for Code-enforcement officials.

(a)        No person shall engage in Code enforcement under this Article unless that person possesses one of the following types of certificates, currently valid, issued by the Board attesting to that person's qualifications to engage in Code enforcement: (i) a standard certificate; (ii) a limited certificate provided for in subsection (c) of this section; or (iii) a probationary certificate provided for in subsection (d) of this section. To obtain a standard certificate, a person must pass an examination, as prescribed by the Board or by a contracting party under G.S. 143-151.16(d), that is based on the North Carolina State Building Code and administrative procedures required for Code enforcement. The Board may issue a standard certificate of qualification to each person who successfully completes the examination. The certificate authorizes that person to engage in Code enforcement and to practice as a qualified Code-enforcement official in North Carolina. The certificate of qualification shall bear the signatures of the chairman and secretary of the Board.

(b)        The Board shall issue one or more standard certificates to each Code-enforcement official demonstrating the qualifications set forth in subsection (b1) of this section. Standard certificates are available for each of the following types of qualified Code-enforcement officials:

(1)        Building inspector.

(2)        Electrical inspector.

(3)        Mechanical inspector.

(4)        Plumbing inspector.

(5)        Fire inspector.

(b1)      The holder of a standard certificate may practice Code enforcement only within the inspection area and level described upon the certificate issued by the Board. A Code-enforcement official may qualify and hold one or more certificates. These certificates may be for different levels in different types of positions as defined in this section and in rules adopted by the Board.

(b2)      A Code-enforcement official holding a certificate indicating a specified level of proficiency in a particular type of position may hold a position calling for that type of qualification anywhere in the State. With respect to all types of Code-enforcement officials, those with Level I, Level II, or Level III certificates shall be qualified to inspect and approve only those types and sizes of buildings as specified in rules adopted by the Board.

(c)        A Code-enforcement official holding office as of the date specified in this subsection for the county or municipality by which he is employed, shall not be required to possess a standard certificate as a condition of tenure or continued employment but shall be required to complete such in-service training as may be prescribed by the Board. At the earliest practicable date, such official shall receive from the Board a limited certificate qualifying him to engage in Code enforcement at the level, in the particular type of position, and within the governmental jurisdiction in which he is employed. The limited certificate shall be valid only as an authorization for the official to continue in the position he held on the applicable date and shall become invalid if he does not complete in-service training within two years following the applicable date in the schedule below, according to the governmental jurisdiction's population as published in the 1970 U.S. Census:

Counties and Municipalities over 75,000 population - July 1, 1979

Counties and Municipalities between 50,001 and 75,000 - July 1, 1981

Counties and Municipalities between 25,001 and 50,000 - July 1, 1983

Counties and Municipalities 25,000 and under - July 1, 1985

All fire prevention inspectors holding office - July 1, 1989. Fire prevention inspectors have until July 1, 1993, to complete in-service training.

An official holding a limited certificate can be promoted to a position requiring a higher level certificate only upon issuance by the Board of a standard certificate or probationary certificate appropriate for such new position.

(d)       The Board may provide for the issuance of probationary or temporary certificates valid for such period (not less than one year nor more than three years) as specified by the Board's rules, or until June 30, 1983, whichever is later, to any Code-enforcement official newly employed or newly promoted who lacks the qualifications prescribed by the Board as prerequisite to applying for a standard certificate under subsection (a). No official may have a probationary or temporary certificate extended beyond the specified period by renewal or otherwise. The Board may provide for appropriate levels of probationary or temporary certificates and may issue these certificates with such special conditions or requirements relating to the place of employment of the person holding the certificate, his supervision on a consulting or advisory basis, or other matters as the Board may deem necessary to protect the public safety and health.

(e)        The Board shall, without requiring an examination, issue a standard certificate to any person who is currently certified as a county electrical inspector pursuant to G.S. 153A-351. The certificate issued by the Board shall authorize the person to serve at the electrical inspector level approved by the Commissioner of Insurance in G.S. 153A-351.

(f)        The Board shall issue a standard certificate to any person who is currently licensed to practice as a(n):

(1)        Architect, registered pursuant to Chapter 83A;

(2)        General contractor, licensed pursuant to Article 1 of Chapter 87;

(3)        Plumbing or heating contractor, licensed pursuant to Article 2 of Chapter 87;

(4)        Electrical contractor, licensed pursuant to Article 4 of Chapter 87; or,

(5)        Professional engineer, registered pursuant to Chapter 89C;

provided the person successfully completes a short course, as prescribed by the Board, relating to the State Building Code regulations and Code-enforcement administration. The standard certificate shall authorize the person to practice as a qualified Code-enforcement official in a particular type of position at the level determined by the Board, based on the type of license or registration held in any profession specified above.  (1977, c. 531, s. 1; 1979, cc. 521, 829; 1983, c. 90; 1987, c. 827, ss. 225, 227; 1989, c. 681, s. 17; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1021, s. 5; 1991, c. 133, s. 1; 2007-120, s. 1; 2008-124, s. 8.1.)

 

143-151.13A.  Professional development program for officials.

(a)        As used in this section, "official" means a qualified Code-enforcement official as that term is defined in G.S. 143-151.8.

(b)        The Board may establish professional development requirements for officials as a condition of the renewal or reactivation of their certificates. The purposes of these professional development requirements are to assist officials in maintaining professional competence in their enforcement of the Code and to assure the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of North Carolina. An official subject to this section shall present evidence to the Board at each certificate renewal after initial certification, that during the 12 months before the certificate expiration date, the official has completed the required number of credit hours in courses approved by the Board. Annual continuing education hour requirements shall be determined by the Board but shall not be more than six credit hours.

(c)        The Board may require an individual who earns a certificate under programs established in G.S. 143-151.13 to complete professional development courses, not to exceed six hours in each technical area of certification, within one year after that individual is first employed by a city or county inspection department.

(d)       As a condition of reactivating a standard or limited certificate, the Board may require the completion of professional development courses within one year after reemployment as an official as follows:

(1)        An individual who has been on inactive status for more than two years and who has not been continuously employed by a city or county inspection department during the period of inactive status shall complete professional development courses not to exceed 12 hours for each technical area in which the individual is certified.

(2)        An individual who has been on inactive status for more than two years and who has been continuously employed by a city or county inspection department during the period of inactive status shall complete professional development courses not to exceed six hours for each technical area in which the individual is certified.

(3)        An individual who has been on inactive status for two years or less shall complete professional development courses not to exceed four hours for each technical area in which the individual is certified.

(e)        The Board may, for good cause shown, grant extensions of time to officials to comply with these requirements. An official who, after obtaining an extension under this subsection, offers evidence satisfactory to the Board that the official has satisfactorily completed the required professional development courses, is in compliance with this section.

(f)        The Board may adopt rules to implement this section, including rules that govern:

(1)        The content and subject matter of professional development courses.

(2)        The criteria, standards, and procedures for the approval of courses, course sponsors, and course instructors.

(3)        The methods of instruction.

(4)        The computation of course credit.

(5)        The ability to carry-forward course credit from one year to another.

(6)        The waiver of or variance from the professional development required for hardship or other reasons.

(7)        The procedures for compliance and sanctions for noncompliance. (2005-102, s. 1.)

 

143-151.14.  Comity.

The Board may, without requiring an examination, grant a standard certificate as a qualified Code-enforcement official for a particular type of position and level to any person who, at the time of application, is certified as a qualified Code-enforcement official by a similar board of another state, district or territory where standards are acceptable to the Board and not lower than those required by this Article. A fee of not more than twenty dollars ($20.00), as determined by the Board, must be paid by the applicant to the Board for the issuance of a certificate under the provisions of this section. The provisions of G.S. 143-151.16(b) relating to renewal fees and late renewals shall apply to every person granted a standard certificate in accordance with this section. (1977, c. 531, s. 1; 2007-120, s. 2.)

 

143-151.15.  Return of certificate to Board; reissuance by Board.

A certificate issued by the Board under this Article is valid as long as the person certified is employed by the State of North Carolina or any political subdivision thereof as a Code-enforcement official, or is employed by a federally recognized Indian Tribe to perform inspections on tribal lands under G.S. 153A-350.1 as a Code-enforcement official. When the person certified leaves that employment for any reason, he shall return the certificate to the Board. If the person subsequently obtains employment as a Code-enforcement official in any governmental jurisdiction described above, the Board may reissue the certificate to him. The provisions of G.S. 143-151.16(b) relating to renewal fees and late renewals shall apply, if appropriate. The provisions of G.S. 143-151.16(c) shall not apply. This section does not affect the Board's powers under G.S. 143-151.17. (1977, c. 531, s. 1; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 678, s. 35; 1999-78, s. 4.)

 

143-151.16.  Certification fees; renewal of certificates; examination fees.

(a)        The Board shall establish a schedule of fees to be paid by each applicant for certification as a qualified Code-enforcement official. Such fee shall not exceed twenty dollars ($20.00) for each applicant.

(b)        A certificate, other than a probationary certificate, as a qualified Code-enforcement official issued pursuant to the provisions of this Article must be renewed annually on or before the first day of July. Each application for renewal must be accompanied by a renewal fee to be determined by the Board, but not to exceed ten dollars ($10.00). The Board is authorized to charge an extra four dollar ($4.00) late renewal fee for renewals made after the first day of July each year.

(c)        Any person who fails to renew his certificate for a period of two consecutive years may be required by the Board to take and pass the same examination as unlicensed applicants before allowing such person to renew his certificate.

(d)       The Board may contract with persons for the development and administration of the examinations required by G.S. 143-151.13(a), for course development related to the examinations, for review of a particular applicant's examination, and for other related services. The person with whom the Board contracts may charge applicants a reasonable fee for the costs associated with the development and administration of the examinations, for course development related to the examinations, for review of the applicant's examinations, and for other related services. The fee shall be agreed to by the Board and the other contracting party. The amount of the fee under this subsection shall not exceed one hundred seventy-five dollars ($175.00). Contracts for the development and administration of the examinations, for course development related to the examinations, and for review of examinations shall not be subject to Article 3, 3C, or 8 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes or to Article 3D of Chapter 147 of the General Statutes. However, the Board shall: (i) submit all proposed contracts for supplies, materials, printing, equipment, and contractual services that exceed one million dollars ($1,000,000) authorized by this subsection to the Attorney General or the Attorney General's designee for review as provided in G.S. 114-8.3; and (ii) include in all proposed contracts to be awarded by the Board under this subsection a standard clause which provides that the State Auditor and internal auditors of the Board may audit the records of the contractor during and after the term of the contract to verify accounts and data affecting fees and performance. The Board shall not award a cost plus percentage of cost agreement or contract for any purpose.  (1977, c. 531, s. 1; 2005-289, s. 1; 2008-124, s. 8.2; 2009-451, s. 21.3; 2010-194, s. 25; 2011-326, s. 15(z).)

 

143-151.17.  Grounds for disciplinary actions; investigation; administrative procedures.

(a)        The Board shall have the power to suspend any or all certificates, revoke any or all certificates, demote any or all certificates to a lower level, or refuse to grant any certificate issued under the provisions of this Article to any person who:

(1)        Has been convicted of a felony against this State or the United States, or convicted of a felony in another state that would also be a felony if it had been committed in this State;

(2)        Has obtained certification through fraud, deceit, or perjury;

(3)        Has knowingly aided or abetted any person practicing contrary to the provisions of this Article or the State Building Code or any building codes adopted by a federally recognized Indian Tribe under G.S. 153A-350.1;

(4)        Has defrauded the public or attempted to do so;

(5)        Has affixed his signature to a report of inspection or other instrument of service if no inspection has been made by him or under his immediate and responsible direction; or,

(6)        Has been guilty of willful misconduct, gross negligence or gross incompetence.

(b)        The Board may investigate the actions of any qualified Code-enforcement official or applicant upon the verified complaint in writing of any person alleging a violation of subsection (a) of this section. The Board may suspend, revoke, or demote to a lower level any certificate of any qualified Code-enforcement official and refuse to grant a certificate to any applicant, whom it finds to have been guilty of one or more of the actions set out in subsection (a) as grounds for disciplinary action.

(c)        A denial, suspension, revocation, or demotion to a lower level of a certificate issued under this Article shall be made in accordance with Chapter 150B of the General Statutes.

(d)       The Board may deny an application for a certificate for any of the grounds that are described in subsection (a) of this section. Within 30 days after receipt of a notification that an application for a certificate has been denied, the applicant may make a written request for a review by a committee designated by the chairman of the Board to determine the reasonableness of the Board's action. The review shall be completed without undue delay, and the applicant shall be notified promptly in writing as to the outcome of the review. Within 30 days after service of the notification as to the outcome, the applicant may make a written request for a hearing under Article 3A of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes if the applicant disagrees with the outcome.

(e)        The provisions of this section shall apply to Code-enforcement officials and applicants who are employed or seek to be employed by a federally recognized Indian Tribe to perform inspections on tribal lands under G.S. 153A-350.1. (1977, c. 531, s. 1; 1987, c. 827, s. 228; 1993, c. 504, s. 36; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 678, s. 36; 1999-78, s. 5; 2007-120, s. 3.)

 

143-151.18.  Violations; penalty; injunction.

On and after July 1, 1979, it shall be unlawful for any person to represent himself as a qualified Code-enforcement official who does not hold a currently valid certificate of qualification issued by the Board. Further, it shall be unlawful for any person to practice Code enforcement except as allowed by any currently valid certificate issued to that person by the Board. Any person violating any of the provisions of this Article shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. The Board is authorized to apply to any judge of the superior court for an injunction in order to prevent any violation or threatened violation of the provisions of this Article. (1977, c. 531, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 1012; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2007-120, s. 4.)

 

143-151.19.  Administration.

(a)        The Division of Engineering and Building Codes in the Department of Insurance shall provide clerical and other staff services required by the Board, and shall administer and enforce all provisions of this Article and all rules promulgated pursuant to this Article, subject to the direction of the Board, except as delegated by this Article to local units of government, other State agencies, corporations, or individuals.

(b)        The Board shall make copies of this Article and the rules adopted under this Article available to the public at a price determined by the Board.

(c)        The Board shall keep current a record of the names and addresses of all qualified Code-enforcement officials and additional personal data as the Board deems necessary. The Board annually shall publish a list of all currently certified Code-enforcement officials.

(d)       Each certificate issued by the Board shall contain such identifying information as the Board requires.

(e)        The Board shall issue a duplicate certificate to practice as a  qualified Code-enforcement official in place of one which has been lost, destroyed, or mutilated upon proper application and payment of a fee to be determined by the Board. (1977, c. 531, s. 1; 1987, c. 827, ss. 224, 229.)

 

143-151.20.  Donations and appropriations.

(a)        In addition to appropriations made by the General Assembly, the Board may accept for any of its purposes and functions under this Article any and all donations, both real and personal, and grants of money from any governmental unit or public agency, or from any institution, person, firm or corporation, and may receive, utilize, disburse and transfer the same, subject to the approval of the Council of State. Any arrangements pursuant to this section shall  be detailed in the next regular report of the Board. Such report shall include the identity of the donor, the nature of the transaction, and the conditions, if any. Any moneys received by the Board pursuant to this section shall be deposited in the State treasury to the account of the Board.

(b)        The Board may provide grants as a reimbursement for actual expenses incurred by the State or political subdivision thereof for the provisions of training programs of officials from other jurisdictions within the State. The Board, by rules, shall provide for the administration of the grant program authorized herein. In promulgating such rules, the Board shall promote the most efficient and economical program of Code-enforcement training, including the maximum utilization of existing facilities and programs for the purpose of avoiding duplication. (1977, c. 531, s. 1; 1987, c. 827, s. 224.)

 

143-151.21.  Disposition of fees.

Fees collected by the Commissioner under this Article shall be credited to the Insurance Regulatory Fund created under G.S. 58-6-25. (1991, c. 689, s. 295; 2003-221, s. 10.)

 

143-151.22 through 143-151.25.  Reserved for future codification purposes.