TITLE XII
PUBLIC SAFETY AND WELFARE

CHAPTER 155-A
NEW HAMPSHIRE BUILDING CODE

Section 155-A:2

    155-A:2 State Building Code. –
I. All buildings, building components, and structures constructed in New Hampshire shall comply with the state building code and state fire code. The construction, design, structure, maintenance, and use of all buildings or structures to be erected and the alteration, renovation, rehabilitation, repair, removal, or demolition of all buildings and structures previously erected shall be governed by the provisions of the state building code.
II. To the extent that there is any conflict between the state building code and the state fire code, the code creating the greater degree of life safety shall take precedence, subject to the review provisions contained in RSA 155-A:10. If the municipal building and fire code officials cannot agree which code creates the greater degree of life safety, the property owner may notify the 2 officials in writing that if agreement is not reached within 2 business days of delivery of said notification, that the decision shall be made by the property owner to comply with either the applicable building code or fire code. Such decision by the property owner after proper notification shall not be grounds for the denial of a certificate of occupancy.
III. To the extent that it does not conflict with any other provision of law, and except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, the issuance of permits and the collection of fees pursuant to the state building code is expressly reserved for counties, towns, cities, and village districts where such activities have been authorized in accordance with RSA 674:51 and RSA 47:22. Pursuant to the state fire marshal's authority to enforce the state building code under RSA 155-A:7, I, the fire marshal may establish for municipalities that do not have a building inspector or other enforcement mechanism authorized in RSA 155-A:4, with approval of the commissioner of safety and by rules adopted under RSA 541-A, fees to defray the cost of issuing building permits in accordance with the state building code. Such fees shall be deposited in the fire standards and training and emergency medical services fund established in RSA 21-P:12-d.
IV. Except for buildings owned by the state, the community college system of New Hampshire, or the university system, the issuance of permits and certificates of occupancy pursuant to the state building code is expressly reserved for counties, towns, cities, and village districts. The state fire marshal shall issue permits, conduct inspections, and issue certificates of occupancy for buildings owned by the state, the community college system of New Hampshire, and the university system. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the state fire marshal from contracting with or authorizing a local enforcement agency or other qualified third party for these services, provided the fees for such services are paid for by the applicant. Any municipality that has adopted an enforcement mechanism under RSA 674:51 alternatively may request the services of the state fire marshal under the state building permit system, including issuance of permits, conducting inspections, and issuance of certificates of occupancy, for buildings or projects owned by the counties, town, cities, or village districts, if a project requires specialized knowledge of the fire marshal or due to staffing limitations of the municipality. Nothing in this section shall require the state fire marshal to accept a project under the state building permit system when requested by a municipality.
V. Counties, towns, cities, and village districts may adopt by ordinance pursuant to RSA 674:51 or RSA 47:22 any additional regulations provided that such regulations are not less stringent than the requirements of the state building code and the state fire code.
V-a. Any event tent erected on public or private property shall comply with the applicable provisions of the state building code and state fire code. Notwithstanding paragraph V, counties, towns, cities, and village districts shall not adopt any rule, regulation, or ordinance regarding event tents erected on public or private property in addition to those established in the state building code and state fire code. A building permit shall not be required for a tent of any size erected as an accessory structure on property that is an owner-occupied, one or 2-family dwelling.
V-b. Notwithstanding paragraph V, no county, city, town, village district, local land use board, or other subdivision of this state shall adopt any ordinance, regulation, code, or administrative practice that prohibits or restricts a person or entity from installing a safe and commercially available heating or other energy system of their choice or to engage the services of an energy provider of their choice to install, connect, or resupply such energy system. In this paragraph, "energy provider" means a qualified and licensed distributor of oil, propane, natural gas, or other company or entity that supplies energy or related services to the public.
VI. For any municipality which has not adopted an enforcement mechanism under RSA 674:51, the contractor of the building, building component, or structure shall notify the state fire marshal concerning the type of construction before construction begins excluding one- and 2-family dwellings. Any municipality that has adopted an enforcement mechanism under RSA 674:51 may contract with a local enforcement agency or a qualified third party for these services as an alternative to establishing the position of building inspector under RSA 674:51, III(c), and such agency or third party shall have the same authority as a building inspector as provided in that section.
VII. The contractor of a building, building component, or structure shall be responsible for meeting the minimum requirements of the state building code and state fire code. No municipality shall be held liable for any failure on the part of a contractor to comply with the provisions of the state building code.
VIII. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as amending, repealing, or superseding any local law, ordinance, code, or regulation, except local code requirements that are less stringent than the state building code or state fire code, and all buildings, building components, and structures shall comply with all applicable state or local building and fire code requirements, land use restrictions including but not limited to subdivision regulations, use and location restrictions, density and dimensional limitations, or historic district laws or ordinances.
IX. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to permit or encourage the state to initiate or assume an independent role in the administration and enforcement of the New Hampshire building code for a building or structure that is not owned by the state unless otherwise authorized by law.
X. No state agency, authority, board, or commission shall vary, modify, or waive the requirements of the state building code or state fire code, unless approved by the state building code review board pursuant to RSA 155-A relative to the state building code or the state fire marshal pursuant to RSA 153:8-a, I(c) for the state fire code. Nothing in this chapter shall affect the statutory authority of the commissioner of labor, the state board for the licensing and regulation of plumbers, or the state electricians' board to administer their respective programs, provided that any changes to codes proposed under the rulemaking authority of these agencies shall not be enforced until approved by the state building code review board.
XI. Notwithstanding the inclusion of the National Electrical Code 2017 in the state building code under RSA 155-A:1, IV, the amended provisions of section 210.12 of the National Electrical Code, which modify the National Electrical Code 2014 version to add arc-fault circuit interrupter requirements for dormitory unit devices and bathrooms, guest rooms and guest suites, and branch circuit extensions or modifications for dormitory units shall not be enforced under the state building code or this chapter.

Source. 2002, 8:3. 2003, 245:2. 2009, 175:1. 2010, 326:2. 2012, 242:11, eff. June 18, 2012. 2017, 201:6, eff. Sept. 3, 2017. 2018, 39:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2019. 2020, 37:85, eff. July 29, 2020. 2021, 224:2, Pt. II, Sec. 1, eff. Oct. 23, 2021.