Town of Petersburg’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen expect to adopt the 2018 International Building Code during their next regular session on Feb. 5.

During a called meeting Thursday, Charles Gatlin, Petersburg building inspector and former state electrical inspector, spoke to Petersburg officials about the building codes that are available and suggested that the 2018 International Building Code would probably be the best one to use since it will correlate with Lincoln County’s code.

The codes would mandate inspection of new home construction, additions, electrical, roofing, remodeling by a contractor or by a homeowner, as well as construction of fences and barriers around pools, foundation slabs, sidewalks and driveways. Officials plan to order a code book, and residents will be able to get a copy of a particular code if they ask for it.

Gatlin suggested notifying the public via their water bill or some other local means.

“If we adopt the 2018 International Building Code, they will supersede all other codes,” Gatlin said. “If we don’t do it, the county will step in and do it.”

While the codes affect construction, they will also have an impact on existing structures and property that need attention. To a degree, the codes will work hand-in-hand with building inspection. The objective is to have a common sense approach to enforcement, make the codes impartial and to build up residents’ pride in their property, Gatlin said. It will increase property values and make homes and other structures safer.

“Our job is to help, not hinder,” Gatlin said.

Addressing the board Gatlin advised, “We need to do whatever it takes to be the first ones to be the example,” referring to cleaning up property.

He suggested that once it’s adopted, it could be amended for Petersburg, in particular amending the code requiring residential sprinklers in homes, since Petersburg doesn’t have enough water to operate a static sprinkler system.

Gatlin stated that the goals should be to beautify the town without placing unrealistic expectations on older folks who can’t afford a lot of improvements. He noted that the town should not just inspect projects, but provide resources to inform residents of government housing grants that would help people financially with projects.

While the desire is to help people, the consequences for not complying will result in fines. The board plans to meet to take a closer look at structuring fines that could be imposed if a resident refuses to comply with a code. Gatlin suggested allowing a resident that is notified of a violation time to make a correction. If the violation isn’t corrected within the time period, then a fine would be imposed – “We have to put teeth in enforcement,” he said.

“I want to see our town succeed,” Gatlin added.

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