House Panel Approves Changes to Louisiana Building Codes

May 7, 2008

A Louisiana House committee has approved changes to the statewide building code, including a provision aimed at easing the construction inspection process in north Louisiana.

North Louisiana lawmakers in particular have complained about the building codes, which were imposed after the 2005 hurricanes to reduce property damage in future storms and, by reducing the risk of such damage, encourage more insurance companies to write policies in the state. Lawmakers from rural areas of central and north Louisiana have said the new rules are unfair in regions that aren’t prone to catastrophic storm damage.

The House Commerce Committee approved a bill by Rep. Jim Fannin, D-Jonesboro, that would ease the structural requirements for nonresidential structures, such as sheds and garages, that are smaller than 400 square feet.

The panel also approved a measure by Rep. Noble Ellington, D-Winnsboro, intended to ease the inspection process in rural, sparsely populated parishes in the state. Ellington said residents of those areas face a shortage of qualified inspectors, who he said sometimes charge outrageous fees for the required inspections.

The bill would allow the state fire marshal’s office to expand its force of inspectors, to add an alternative to the private inspectors. The measure would affect about 20 parishes, those with populations lower than 40,000 that are in central or north Louisiana.

Both measures move to the full House.

On the Net: House Bills 920 and 1308 can be found at

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