Overview of the Code Development Unit


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Overview of the Code Development Unit
The statutory responsibility for developing and maintaining the Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code (Uniform Code) and the State Energy Conservation Construction Code (Energy Code) is vested in the State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council (Code Council).  If the Code Council decides to amend either code, it commences a process for rule making set forth in the State Administrative Procedure Act (SAPA).  The Code Development Unit serves as Secretariat to the Code Council, providing technical support and administering statutory functions.

Executive Law §379 authorizes the legislative body of a local government (city, town, village, and Nassau County) to enact or adopt local laws and ordinances that impose standards for construction that are “higher” or “more restrictive” than the corresponding standards imposed by the Uniform Code.  Energy Law §11-109 allows counties, cities, towns, villages, school districts or district corporations to promulgate local energy conservation construction codes that are more stringent than the State Energy Code.  The Code Council is empowered by Executive Law §379 and Energy Law §11-109 to approve these more restrictive standards and more stringent local energy conservation construction codes.  The Code Development Unit assists with reviewing the technical aspects of these local laws and ordinances and reporting on such findings to the Code Council.

Code Change Proposals
The Division of Building Standards and Codes welcomes comments and suggestions on how to improve the Uniform Code and Energy Code, including the Supplements and Reference Standards.  Individuals wishing to contribute to the maintenance and overall improvement of the codes do not need to wait until a formal rule making has been initiated by the Code Council.  Proposed code changes may be submitted by email to: Dos.sm.codes.codedevelopment@dos.ny.gov, or by clicking here.  Please include “Code Change:” in the subject line, followed by a short description of the change.  For example, a proposed change to the Uniform Code’s Ground Snow Load map should include the following in the subject line: Code Change: Ground Snow Load Map.  Those wishing to submit code change proposals by mail can submit them to Gerard Hathaway, R.A. at the address provided below.  All code change proposals should identify the code book and section, supplement, or NYCRR Part that is proposed to be modified, as applicable.

SAPA establishes the regulatory framework for modifying New York’s codes, rules, and regulations.  Please note that for all rule makings, the Division is required to address the following key elements required by SAPA:

  • the reason or need for the code change,
  • the benefits of the change,
  • any potential negative impacts of the code change,
  • technical justification to substantiate the change,
  • the alternatives to the code change that were considered and the reason for their rejection, and
  • the cost impact (either a cost savings or cost increase) of the code change.

If individuals have any documents or information regarding the abovementioned items, please feel free to submit the same with your code change proposal.  Individuals submitting code change proposals should be aware that certain code requirements are mandated by New York State Statute (for example, §378 Executive Law), by other regulations, or desirable because of public policy.  For these reasons, certain code requirements are limited in the extent by which they may be modified.

Public Comments Associated with a Formal Rule Making

Published weekly, the State Register plays a central role in New York's rule making process. It contains proposed amendments to State agency rules and provides the public an opportunity to comment on actions before an agency adopts a rule (Exec. Law, Art. 6-A).  Public comments in response to a specific rule making must be submitted as instructed in the State Register.  The Division strives to maintain an up-to-date Rule Making webpage, which typically contains proposed rule makings and information on how to formally submit public comments.

State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council

Code Council Technical Subcommittees

Municipalities Having More Restrictive Local Standards

For More Information, Contact:
        Gerard Hathaway, R.A.
        Assistant Director for Code Development
        New York State Department of State Division of Building Standards and Codes
        One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Avenue, Suite 1160, Albany, NY 12231
        Phone: (518) 486-6990
        Fax: (518) 486-4487