Code Interpretation and Code Technical Advisory Request

The purpose of the State Building Code is to provide reasonable uniform standards for construction and construction materials consistent with accepted standards of design, engineering, and fire prevention practices. ARM 24.301.202 requires the codes adopted by certified cities, counties and towns must be same edition with the same amendments as those adopted by the Department. Code adoption and amendments are found in Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM).

It is desirable that code issues be resolved by the building official or authority having jurisdiction. If you have discussed the code question with the building official and you do not agree, it is recommended that to put the question in writing and request a written response. If you still disagree with his/her interpretation, you have the option to appeal their decision at the local level. All certified cities, counties and towns are required to have an appeals process in place. Contact the local building official for details. You also have the option of applying for a code interpretation or code technical advisory.

24.301.212 CODE INTERPRETATIONS

(1) Code interpretations concerning any of the state building-related codes enforced by cities, counties or towns (building, plumbing, mechanical and electrical) may be requested by an affected party (building official, contractor, designer, owner, etc.), in writing, on forms provided by the department. The affected party must first show a need for a code Interpretation because of differing or inconsistent interpretations of the code provision at issue between city, county, or town building officials or between city, county, or town building officials and the department. The department will research and investigate the question and will prepare a preliminary written response, which includes the department's preliminary interpretation and justification of the question as soon as possible.

(2) The preliminary interpretation and justification of the question will be distributed to the requestor, the Building Codes Council and to all city, county, or town code enforcement programs, currently certified for enforcement of the applicable code concerning the question, for their review and comment. Comments and suggested amendments concerning the question must be returned to the department within 30 days of the date of the distribution of the preliminary interpretation and justification of the question.

(3) The department will consider all comments and suggested amendments received during the 30-day comment period and prepare a proposed interpretation and justification of the question to be distributed, along with a ballot, to all building officials of city, county, and town code enforcement programs, currently certified for enforcement of the applicable code concerning the questions. The ballot will be to "concur" or to "not concur" with the proposed interpretation and the ballot must be signed and dated by each voting building official and returned to the department within 15 days of the date of distribution of the proposed interpretation.

(4) The ballots will be counted by the department and the proposed code interpretation will become final and binding on all city, county, and town code enforcement programs and the department if a simple majority of voting building officials "concur". If the voting on the proposed code interpretation is tied, the department shall be entitled to break the tie vote. If a simple majority of voting building officials vote "do not concur", the proposed code interpretation will become a technical code advisory, as established in ARM 24.301.213 and is not binding on local code enforcement programs.

24.301.213 CODE TECHNICAL ADVISORIES (1) Code technical advisories are available for questions concerning any of the state building related codes (building, plumbing, mechanical, electrical, boiler and elevator) and may be requested by an affected party (building official, contractor, designer, owner, etc.), in writing, on forms provided by the department. The department may research and investigate the question and may prepare a preliminary written response, which includes the department's interpretation and justification as soon as possible. The affected party and the Building Codes Advisory Council will be provided with the preliminary written response and will be given five working days to submit comments. After review of any comments the department will prepare a final written response, under signature of the Building Codes Bureau chief. (2) Code technical advisories are not binding on city, county, or town code enforcement programs. (3) Code technical advisories will be dated, chronologically numbered, placed in the and distributed to the requestor, Building Codes Council and all certified city, county, and town building code enforcement programs. (History: 50-60-203, MCA; IMP, 50-60-203, MCA; NEW, 1999 MAR p. 1885, Eff.10/1/99; TRANS, from Commerce, 2001 MAR p. 2301; AMD, 2003 MAR p. 2299, Eff. 10/17/03.)