Architectural accessibility — See Ch. 45.
Housing standards — See Ch. 71.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 99.
Water and sewers — See Ch. 110.
Zoning — See Ch. 115.
ARTICLE IStandards and Regulations (§ 52-1 — § 52-33)
ARTICLE IIAdditional IRC Provisions (§ 52-34)
§ 52-22 Time limit for action on application; effect of permit issuance; time for commencement of work; review fee.
§ 52-1Adoption of standards; exemptions.
§ 52-3Code to be remedial.
§ 52-4Scope and effect.
§ 52-5Effect on existing buildings.
§ 52-6Effect on historic structures.
§ 52-7Enforcement officials.
§ 52-8Restrictions on employees.
§ 52-10Right of entry.
§ 52-11Stop-work orders.
§ 52-12Revocation of permits.
§ 52-13Alternate materials and methods.
§ 52-16Permit required.
§ 52-17Permit application.
§ 52-18Drawings and specifications.
§ 52-19Time limitations on permits.
§ 52-20Examination of permits and drawings.
§ 52-21Action on permit application.
§ 52-22Time limit for action on application; effect of permit issuance; time
for commencement of work; review fee.
§ 52-23Endorsement of plans; drawings to be kept at site.
§ 52-24Review and inspection fees.
§ 52-25Failure to obtain a permit.
§ 52-26Records of fees collected.
§ 52-27Building permit fees.
§ 52-29Certificates of occupancy.
§ 52-30Board of Adjustments and Appeals.
§ 52-32Variances and modifications.
§ 52-33Decisions of Board of Adjustments and Appeals.
The International Building Code (hereinafter "IBC"), Chapters 1 through 26 and Chapter 35, 2003 Edition and future editions, as promulgated, after 60 days subsequent to the nonchallenged publication of the edition, is hereby adopted as the building standard for construction in Sussex County as it relates to the following structures: multifamily residential dwellings, assembly occupancy, business occupancy, educational occupancy, hazardous occupancy, factory industrial occupancy, institutional occupancy, mercantile occupancy and storage occupancy.
"Farm buildings," defined as any nonresidential structures, that are located on a farm and are used in the farming operation (barns, sheds, poultry houses, swine houses, etc.), are exempt from the provisions of the IBC as regards construction, alteration or repair. Any reference to "farm buildings" in any chapter, section, paragraph, appendix or table in the IBC shall not be applicable.
Land used for agricultural purposes shall be exempt from the provisions of the IBC as regards construction, alteration or repair. Land shall be deemed to be in agricultural use when devoted to the production for sale of plants and animals useful to man, including but not limited to forages and sod crops; grains and feed crops; dairy animals and dairy products; poultry and poultry products; livestock, including beef cattle, sheep, swine, horses, ponies, mules or goats, including the breeding and grazing of any or all of such animals; bees and apiary products; fur animals; trees and forest products; or, when devoted to and meeting the requirements and qualifications for payments or other compensation pursuant to a soil-conservation program under an agreement with an agency of the federal government (9 Del. C. 1953 § 8330B; 56 Del. laws, C. 373, Section 1).
The obtaining of building permits for assessment purposes continues to remain in effect.
Where the provisions of the IBC and the provisions of the Sussex County Code conflict, the provisions contained in the Sussex County Code shall control.
The provisions and regulations of the International Residential Code, Chapters 1 through 10, 2003 Edition and future editions, (hereinafter "IRC"), as promulgated after 60 days subsequent to the nonchallenged publication of the edition, as they relate to one- and two-family dwellings, are hereby adopted as the building standards for construction in Sussex County.
Carports. Carports are excluded from inspections.
Landings. A landing is not required on the exterior of a sliding door.
Tread depth. Minimum tread depth shall be nine inches, including winders.
Foundation anchorage. No anchor bolts will be required at the end of each plate section, excluding corners.
Where the provisions of the IRC and the provisions of the Sussex County Code conflict, the provisions contained in the Sussex County Code shall control.
The provisions embraced within this chapter, its sections and subsections shall constitute and be known and may be cited as the "Building Code," hereinafter referred to as "this code."
This code is hereby declared to be remedial and shall be construed to secure the beneficial interest and purposes thereof, which are public safety, health and general welfare, through structural strength, stability, sanitation, adequate light and ventilation and safety to life and property from fire and other hazards incident to the construction, alteration, enlargement, repair, removal, demolition and occupancy of buildings, structures or premises.
The provisions of this code shall apply to the construction, alteration, repair, equipment, occupancy, location, removal and demolition of every building or structure or any appurtenances connected or attached to such buildings or structures not specifically exempt from the provisions of this chapter.
The provisions of this code shall not be held to deprive any federal or state agency, or any applicable governing body having jurisdiction, of any power or authority which it had on the effective date of this chapter or of any remedy then existing for the enforcement of its orders, nor shall it deprive any individual or corporation of its legal rights as provided by law.
If, within any twelve-month period, alterations or repairs in excess of 75% of the square footage, as calculated by the building perimeter, are made to an existing building, such building shall be made to conform to the requirements of this code for new buildings and also, for any building located in an established fire district, the applicable provisions of the IBC.
If an existing building is damaged by fire or otherwise in excess of 75% of the square footage, as calculated by the building perimeter, before such damage is repaired, it shall conform to the requirements of this code for new buildings.
If the nature of occupancy of an existing building is entirely changed, the building shall be made to conform to the requirements of this code for the new occupancy. If the occupancy of only a portion of an existing building is changed and that portion is separated from the remainder as stipulated in the IBC or IRC, as appropriate, then only such portion need be made to conform.
Repairs and alterations not covered by the preceding subsections of this section, such as restoring a building to its condition previous to damage or deterioration or altering it in conformity with the provisions of this code or in such manner as will not extend or increase an existing nonconformity or hazard, may be made with the same kind of materials as those of which the building was originally constructed.
The provisions of this code relating to the construction, alteration, repair, enlargement, restoration, relocation or moving of buildings or structures shall not be mandatory for existing buildings or structures identified and classified by the federal, state or local jurisdiction as historic buildings.
Enforcement of the code will be the responsibility of the Director of Assessment.
The Sussex County Council may appoint a Building Official, who shall serve at the direction of the County Administrator and the Director of Assessment. The Building 0fficial shall be appointed solely on the basis of his qualifications and past experience. His appointment shall continue during good behavior and satisfactory service.
The Sussex County Council may hire Deputy Building Officials as deemed necessary.
An officer or employee connected with Building Code enforcement, except one whose only connection is as a member of the Board established by this chapter, shall not be financially interested in the furnishing of labor, material or appliances for the construction, alteration or maintenance of a building or in the making of plans or of specifications therefor, unless he is the owner of such building. Such officer or employee shall not engage in any work which is inconsistent with his duties or with the interest of the Department.
The Building Official shall keep or cause to be kept a record of the business of the Department. The records of the Department shall be open to public inspection.
The Building Official or his designee shall enforce the provisions of this code, and he or his duly authorized representative may enter, during construction, alteration or repair, any building, structure or premises to perform any duty imposed upon him by this code.
Upon notice from the Building Official, work on any building or structure that is being done contrary to the provisions of this code or in a dangerous or unsafe manner shall be immediately stopped. Such notice shall be in writing and shall be given to the owner of the property or to his agent or to the person doing the work and shall state the conditions under which work may be resumed. Where an emergency exists, written notice shall not be required to be given by the Building Official. Stop-work orders shall be approved prior to issuance by the County Administrator in all cases.
The Building Official may revoke a permit or approval issued under the provisions of this chapter in case there has been any false statement or misrepresentation as to a material fact in the application or plans on which the permit or approval was based.
The provisions of this code are not intended to prevent the use of any material or method of construction not specifically prescribed by this code, provided that any such alternate has been approved and its use authorized by the Building Official. The Building Official shall approve any such alternate, provided that he finds that the proposed design is satisfactory and complies with the provisions of the IRC or IBC, as appropriate, and that the material, method or work offered is, for the purpose intended, at least the equivalent of that prescribed in the code in quality, strength, effectiveness, fire resistance, durability and safety.
Any officer or employee or member of the Board of Adjustments and Appeals charged with the enforcement of this code, acting for the applicable governing body in the discharge of his duties, shall not thereby render himself liable personally, and he is hereby relieved from all personal liability for any damage that may accrue to persons or property as a result of any act required or permitted in the discharge of his duties. Any suit brought against any officer or employee because of such act performed by him in the enforcement of any provisions of this code shall be defended by the County Department of Law until the final termination of the proceedings.
The Building 0fficial shall quarterly submit a report to the County Administrator covering the work of the Department during the preceding year. He shall incorporate in said report a summary of the decisions of the Board of Adjustment and Appeals during said year.
Any owner, authorized agent or contractor who desires to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish or change the occupancy of a building or structure or to erect or construct a sign of any description or to install or alter fire-extinguishing apparatus, elevators or engines or to install a steam boiler, furnace, heater, incinerator or other heat-producing apparatus or other appurtenances, the installation of which is regulated by this code, or to cause any such work to be done shall first make application to the Building Official and obtain the required permit therefor.
A general permit shall carry with it the right to install, in any building or structure or part thereof, heating apparatus, elevators, sidewalk elevators, vaults, chutes, coal holes, lifts, cranes, derricks, steam-power boilers or steam, oil, gas or vapor engines, provided that the same are shown on the drawings and set forth in the specifications filed with the application for the permit.
When application for a permit pursuant to Subsection A of this section has been filed and pending issuance of such permit, the Building Official or his designee may, at his discretion, issue a special permit for the foundation of the building or structure. The holder of such special permit shall proceed at his own risk and without assurance that any further permit, including a permit for the superstructure, will be granted.
Each application for a permit with the required fee shall be filed with the Building Official or his designee on a form furnished for that purpose and shall contain a general description of the proposed work and its location. The application shall be signed by the owner or his authorized agent.
Each application for a permit shall indicate the proposed occupancy of all parts of the building and of that portion of the site or lot, if any, not covered by the building or structure and shall contain such other information as may be required by the county.
When required by the Building Official, two or more copies of specifications and of drawings drawn to scale with sufficient clarity and detail to indicate the nature and character of the work shall accompany every application. Such drawings and specifications shall contain information, in the form of notes or otherwise, as to the quality of materials where quality is essential to conformity with this code. Such information shall be specific, and this code shall not be cited as a whole or in part nor shall the term "legal" or its equivalent be used as a substitute for specific information.
The Building Official may require details, computation, stress diagrams and other data necessary to describe the construction and basis of calculations, and they shall bear the signature of the person responsible for the design.
All drawings, specifications and accompanying data shall bear the name and address of the designer. In the case of buildings or structures of Group E - Educational, Group I - Institutional, and Group A - Assembly Occupancy, as defined by and regulated by the IBC, and in the case of all buildings or structures of 5,000 square feet or more in area, such designer shall be an architect or engineer legally registered under the laws of any state in the United States regulating the practice of architecture and/or engineering and shall affix his official seal to said drawings, specifications and accompanying data.
Plans for all buildings shall indicate how required structural and fire-resistive integrity will be maintained where a penetration of a required fire-resistive wall, floor or partition will be made for electrical, mechanical, plumbing and communication conduits, pipes and systems and also indicate in sufficient detail how the fire integrity will be maintained where required fire-resistive floors intersect the exterior walls.
Nothing in this section is to be construed as a requirement that an architect or engineer is required to develop drawings and/or specifications of less than five thousand (5,000) square feet in area.
An application for a permit for any proposed work shall be deemed to have been abandoned 12 months after the date of filing. unless before then a permit shall have been issued, provided that, for cause. one or more extensions of time for periods of not exceeding 90 days each may be allowed by the Building Official.
The Building Official or his designee shall examine or cause to be examined each application for a permit and the drawings and computations filed therewith and shall ascertain by such examinations whether the construction indicated and described is in accordance with the requirements of this code and all other pertinent laws or ordinances.
A person, firm or corporation shall not erect, construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, improve, remove, convert or demolish any building or structure in the applicable jurisdiction or cause the same to be done without first obtaining a separate building permit for such building or structure from the Building Official or his designee.
If the Building Official or his designee is satisfied that the work described in an application for the permit and the drawings filed therewith conform to the requirements of this code and other pertinent laws and ordinances, he shall issue a permit therefor to the applicant.
If the application for a permit and drawings filed therewith describe work which does not conform to the requirements of this code or other pertinent laws and ordinances, the Building Official or his designee shall not issue a permit but shall return the drawings to the applicant with his refusal to issue such permit. Such refusal shall be in writing and shall contain the reasons therefor.
§ 52-22 Time limit for action on application; effect of permit issuance; time for commencement of work; review fee.
The Building Official shall act upon an application for a permit with plans as filed or as amended without unreasonable or unnecessary delay; but within 15 working days, said permit for a multifamily residential dwelling, assembly occupancy, business occupancy, educational occupancy, hazardous occupancy, factory industrial occupancy, institutional occupancy, mercantile occupancy or storage occupancy project shall be acted upon by the Building Official or his designee, or the applicant will be considered to have been granted a permit to proceed. An application for permit for a one- or two-family dwelling shall be acted on within five working days, or the applicant will be considered to have been granted a permit to proceed.
A permit issued shall be construed to be a license to proceed with the work and shall not be construed as authority to violate, cancel, alter or set aside any of the provisions of this code, nor shall such issuance of a permit prevent the Building Official or his designee from thereafter requiring a correction of errors in plans or in construction or of violations of this code.
Every permit issued shall become invalid unless the work authorized by such permit is commenced within 12 months after its issuance or if the work authorized by such permit is suspended or abandoned for a period of 12 months after the time the work is commenced. One twelve-month extension will be allowed.
The review fee will be 25% of the initial fee.
When the Building Official issues a permit, he shall endorse, in writing or stamp, both sets of plans "Reviewed for Code Compliance." One set of drawings so reviewed shall be retained by the Building Official, and the other set shall be returned to the applicant. The reviewed drawings shall be kept at the site of the work and shall be open to inspection by the Building Official or his authorized representative.
A fee shall be charged for plan review and inspection for each single-family dwelling, according to the following schedule:
|Size or Type (square footage)||Fee|
|0 to 599||$120.00|
|600 to 2,349||$205.00|
|2,350 to 2,999||$230.00|
|3,000 to 3,499||$255.00|
|3,500 to 3,999||$280.00|
|4,000 to 4,499||$305.00|
|4,500 to 4,999||$330.00|
|5,000 to 5,999||$450.00|
|6,000 and above||$550.00|
|Modular with additions||$190.00|
Square footage is based on the area to be constructed and/or area to be renovated. The above fee schedule provides plan review and up to five on-site inspections. Any additional inspections required shall be charged $40 per visit.
A fee of .005 of the construction costs shall be charged for plan review and inspection of each assembly, occupancy, business occupancy, educational occupancy, hazardous occupancy, factory industrial occupancy, institutional occupancy, mercantile occupancy, storage occupancy and multifamily buildings; provided, however, that there shall be charged a minimum fee of $120.
The Building Official shall keep a permanent and accurate accounting of all permit fees and other moneys collected, the names of all persons upon whose account and same were paid and the date and amount thereof.
On all buildings, structures or alterations requiring a building permit, as set forth in §§ 52-16 through 52-20, or any other structure, building, edifice or part thereof a fee for each building permit shall be paid as required at the time of filing application, in accordance with the schedule as established by resolution of the Sussex County Council.52-24.
If, in the opinion of the Building Official or his designee, the valuation of a building, alteration or structure appears to be underestimated on the application, the permit shall be denied, unless the applicant can show detailed estimated cost to meet the approval of the Building Official or his designee. Permit valuations shall include the total cost, such as plumbing, electrical and mechanical equipment and other systems.
Before issuing a permit, the Building Official or his designee may examine or cause to be examined any building for which an application has been received for a permit to enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish or change the occupancy thereof. He shall inspect all buildings and structures, as listed in this chapter, from time to time, during and upon completion of the work for which a permit was issued. He shall make a record of every such examination and inspection and of all violations of this code.
When deemed necessary by the Building Official, he shall make inspection of materials or assemblies at the point of manufacture or fabrication. He shall make a record of every such examination and inspection of all violation(s) of this code.
The Building Official may make or cause to be made the inspections required by this section. He shall accept reports of inspectors of recognized inspection services. A certificate called for by any provision of these requirements shall not be based on such reports unless the same are in writing and signed by a responsible officer of such service.
The Building Official shall inspect or cause to be inspected, with a forty-eight-hour notice, at various intervals, all construction or work for which a permit is required, and a final inspection shall be made of every building or structure upon completion, prior to the issuance of the certificate of occupancy.
Work requiring a building permit shall not be commenced until the permit holder or his agent shall have posted the building permit card in a conspicuous place on the front of the premises. The permit shall be protected from the weather and located in such position as to permit the Building Official or his designee to conveniently make the required entries thereon. This permit card shall be maintained in such position by the permit holder until the certificate of occupancy has been issued by the Building Official or his designee.
The Building Official or his designee, upon a forty-eight-hour notification from the permit holder or his agent, shall make the following inspections of buildings and such other inspections as may be necessary and shall either approve that portion of the construction as completed or shall notify the permit holder or his agent wherein the same fails to comply with the law:
Foundation inspection: to be made after trenches are excavated and forms erected, with a forty-eight-hour notice.
Frame inspection: to be made after a roof, all framing, fire blocking and bracing is in place and all pipes, chimneys and vents are complete, with a forty-eight-hour notice.
Final inspection: to be made after the building is completed and ready for occupancy, with a forty-eight-hour notice.
No frame inspections on modular homes or sectional homes are required, provided that a certified inspection agency has performed an inspection pursuant to the IRC requirements specified in § 52-1C of this chapter or pursuant to a code which, in the written opinion of the Building Code Official, equals or exceeds the IRC. The Building Code Official is authorized to certify, in writing, and upon diligent investigation, approved inspection agencies. The Building Code Official shall request inspection reports from the inspection agency on a monthly basis. Notwithstanding the requirements of this section, the Building Code Official may require an inspection of sectional or modular structures by county officials at any time and without cause, pursuant to the conditions and requirements of § § 52-2 through 52-33 of this chapter.
Work shall not be done on any part of a building or structure beyond the point indicated in each successive inspection without first obtaining the written approval of the Building Official or his designee. Such written approval shall be given only after an inspection shall have been made of each successive step in the construction as indicated by each of the foregoing three inspections. Inspections should proceed without unreasonable or unnecessary delay.
Reinforcing steel or structural framework of any part of any building or structure shall not be covered or concealed in any manner whatsoever without first obtaining the approval of the Building Official or his designee.
In all buildings where plaster is used for fire-protection purposes, the permit holder or his agent shall notify the Building Official after all lathing and backing is in place. Plaster shall not be applied until the approval of the Building Official or his designee has been received.
A new building shall not be occupied nor shall a change be made in occupancy or the nature or the use of a building or part of a building until after the Building Official or his designee shall have issued a certificate of occupancy therefor.
A temporary certificate of occupancy may be issued for a portion or portions of a building which may safely be occupied prior to final completion of the building.
Establishment; membership. There is hereby established a Building Code Board to be called the "Board of Adjustments and Appeals," which shall consist of five members who are presently serving on the preexisting Board established under Ordinance No. 87.
Terms of office; officers; vacancies; removal from office.
Of the members first appointed, two shall be appointed for terms of one year, two for terms of two years and one for a term of three years, and thereafter they shall be appointed for terms of four years.
A Chairman shall be elected by a majority of the membership of the Board. The Chairman shall serve for a one-year term.
Vacancies shall be filled for an unexpired term in the manner in which original appointments are required to be made.
Continued absences of any member from regular meetings of the Board shall, at the discretion of the Sussex County Council, render any such member liable to immediate removal from office.
Quorum; personal interest.
Three members of the Board shall constitute a quorum. In varying the application of any provisions of this code or in modifying an order of the Building Official, affirmative votes of the majority present, but not less than three affirmative votes, shall be required.
A Board member shall not act in a case in which he has a personal interest.
Records. The Building Official shall act as Secretary of the Board of Adjustments and Appeals and shall make a detailed record of all of its proceedings, which shall set forth the reasons for its decisions, the vote of each member participating therein, the absence of a member and any failure of a member to vote.
Procedure. The Board shall establish rules and regulations for its own procedure not inconsistent with the provisions of this code. The Board shall meet as necessary, as determined by the Chairman. In any event, the Board shall meet within 15 days after notice of appeal has been received or may meet on a date agreeable to the Board and the appellant. The Board shall also review any proposed changes in this code and make recommendations to the County Council.
Whenever the Building Official shall reject or refuse to approve the mode or manner of construction proposed to be followed or materials to be used in the erection or alteration of a building or structure or when it is claimed that the provisions of this Code do not apply or that an equally good or more desirable form of construction can be employed in any specific case or whether it is claimed that the true intent and meaning of this Code or any of the regulations thereunder have been misconstrued or wrongly interpreted, the owner of such building or structure or his duly authorized agent may appeal from the decision of the Building Official to the Board of Adjustments and Appeals. Notice of appeal shall be in writing and filed within 90 days after the decision is rendered by the Building Official. A fee of $600 shall accompany such notice of appeal.
In case of a building or structure which, in the opinion of the Building Official, is unsafe or dangerous, the Building Official may, in his order, limit the time for such appeal to a shorter period. Appeals hereunder shall be on forms provided by the Building Official.
The Board of Adjustments and Appeals, when so appealed to and after a hearing, may vary the application of any provision of this code to any particular case when, in its opinion, the enforcement thereof would do manifest injustice and would be contrary to the spirit and purpose of this code or public interest or when, in its opinion, the interpretation of the Building Official should be modified or reversed.
A decision of the Board of Adjustments and Appeals to vary the application of any provision of this code or to modify an order of the Building Official shall specify in what manner such variation or modification is made, the conditions upon which it is made and the reasons therefor.
Every decision of the Board of Adjustments and Appeals shall be final, subject, however, to such remedy as any aggrieved party might have at law or in equity. It shall be in writing and shall indicate the vote upon the decision. Every decision shall be promptly filed in the office of the Building Official and shall be open to public inspection. A certified copy shall be sent by mail or otherwise to the appellant, and a copy shall be kept publicly posted in the office of the Building Official for two weeks after filing.
§ 52-34Adoption of smoke alarm standards.
Sussex County hereby adopts Section R313 (Smoke Alarms) of the IRC.