Trenton – In a move to enhance structural integrity, the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee today advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton and Senator Linda Greenstein to strengthen the State Uniform Construction Code Act (UCCA) and “The Planned Real Estate Development Full Disclosure Act” (PREDFDA).
“Two years ago, 98 lives were tragically lost in Florida due to the collapse of a multifamily housing structure, which resulted from unresolved, major structural issues,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “Strengthening construction codes and having structural experts conduct inspections will be vital to ensuring the safety of those living in condominium or cooperative buildings.”
The bill, S-2760, would supplement the UCCA to require that certain covered buildings and plans be inspected and reviewed by a structural inspector, during the buildings’ pre-construction, construction, and post-construction phases. The bill would also augment the PREDFDA to assure that associations created under the Act maintain adequate reserve funds to make required maintenance repairs to building components and common areas.
“What starts as a hairline crack, can, over time, become a serious structural issue if not addressed in a timely manner,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “This bill would strengthen State standards, requiring in-depth inspections of buildings before, during, and after construction. By taking action to make certain that State construction codes and processes are enforced and adhered to, we can prevent tragedies – like the one just two years ago in Florida – from affecting New Jersey residents.”
Under current law, the Department of Community Affairs conducts certain building inspections on a cyclical basis. However, these inspections only address maintenance issues and habitability concerns such as heating, infestation, and lead content. In addition, these cyclical inspections are not required to be conducted by an engineer or other expert.
This year, a condominium collapse in February in Ocean City claimed one life.
The bill passed committee by a vote of 8-4.