Michigan’s 17-member State Construction Code Commission would be better served with additional fire protection expertise according to Midland Fire Chief Chris Coughlin, so state Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Midland, has introduced legislation based on the chief’s proposal.
House Bill 5102, cosponsored by Democrats Tom Cochran, Henry Yanez, Bill LaVoy, and House Minority Leader Tim Greimel, as well as by Republicans Laura Cox and Peter Lucido, adds two fire service representatives with extensive background in fire inspection and prevention to the commission.
“Currently, only one member of the commission is a fire service representative, while there is a broad representation from the construction, building inspection, plumbing and electrical disciplines on the commission,” Rep. Glenn said. “This bill not only brings a balance by seating two state fire marshal-recommended representatives, it ensures a professional background in fire inspection or plan review is included when the commission examines construction and building codes.”
Rep. Glenn noted the necessity of the bill since there is no requirement that the current fire service commission member – the state fire marshal or designee – have a background for the development of building codes, since the fire service is made up of many disciplines, such as suppression, rescue, and hazmat handling.
If HB 5102 is enacted into law, the state fire marshal would recommend candidates to the governor from individuals submitted by statewide associations of fire chiefs, fire inspectors and firemen.
The legislation also addresses membership of potential advisory committees the commission may form to review proposed rules recommendations by calling for three similarly qualified fire service individuals to be appointed.
Chief Coughlin credited Rep. Glenn for bringing the commission membership issue to Lansing.
“I applaud Representative Glenn for introducing this common sense legislation to give fire prevention experts a voice in state construction codes,” Chief Coughlin said. “Construction codes are intimately entwined with fire codes, so it’s critical to have fire service professionals with an appropriate knowledge base on these boards. I look forward to this bipartisan legislation moving forward.”
The bill was referred to the House Committee on Regulatory Reform.