Last Friday the Maine State Legislature enacted LD 2257, the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code. The new building codes will be applied to new construction and significant renovation projects.
Existing structures are not affected. And the law provides special flexibility for rehabilitating historic homes and downtown districts to preserve their historic character.
To help municipalities comply with the uniform rules, all code enforcement personnel at the local level will be provided free training by the state. Maine’s 367 municipalities with fewer than 2,000 residents are exempted from any enforcement activity. Larger communities who may not have a code enforcement official may join with other communities, contract out the inspections or allow third-party licensed inspections to be obtained by the builders or owners.
Maine now joins 40 other states that have adopted uniform building and energy codes. Maine was the only Northeastern state, and one of only 10 nationally, that did not have a statewide energy-efficiency standard for new homes. According to the Maine Public Utilities Commission, out of the thousands of homes built each year in Maine, only about 15 percent of them since 2005 would meet even the most basic energy-efficiency standards.