Georgia's Construction Codes
Construction Codes have become an important issue for Georgia's local governments, building professionals and citizens alike. The following is a general overview of Georgia's Construction Code Program, including enforcement, local amendments, current codes, and whom to call if you have questions regarding construction codes and related issues in Georgia.
The Uniform Codes Act is codified at chapter 2 of title 8 of The Official Code of Georgia Annotated. O.C.G.A. Section 8-2-20(9)(B). There are twelve adopted codes. Each of these separate codes typically consist of a base code (e.g. The International Building Code as published by the International Code Council) and a set of Georgia amendments to the base code. Eight of these codes are "mandatory" (are applicable to all construction whether or not they are locally enforced) and four are "permissive" (only applicable if a local government chooses to adopt and enforce one or more of these codes). These codes are as follows:
As noted above, the building, one and two family dwelling residential, fire, plumbing, mechanical, gas, electrical and energy codes are mandatory codes, meaning that under Georgia law, any structure built in Georgia must comply with these codes, whether or not the local government chooses to locally enforce these codes.
In addition, since Georgia law gives the enumerated codes statewide applicability, it is not required that local governments have to adopt the mandatory codes. Local governments must, however, adopt administrative procedures in order to enforce them (O.C.G.A. Section 8-2-25(a)). However, the local government can choose which of the mandatory codes it wishes to locally enforce.
The remaining codes are referred to as permissive codes. Unlike the mandatory codes, in order for a local government to enforce one or more of these permissive codes, that code or codes must be adopted, either by ordinance or resolution, by the local jurisdiction. A copy of the ordinance or resolution adopted must be forwarded to DCA (O.C.G.A. Section 8-2-25 (b)).
Administration and Enforcement of the State Minimum Standard Codes
In order to properly administer and enforce the state minimum standard codes, local governments must adopt reasonable administrative provisions. The power to adopt these administrative procedures is set forth in O.C.G.A. Section 8-2-26(a)(1). These provisions should include procedural requirements for the enforcement of the codes, provisions for hearings, provisions for appeals from decisions of local inspectors, and any other procedures necessary for the proper local administration and enforcement of the state minimum standard codes. These powers include:
DCA periodically reviews, amends and/or updates the state minimum standard codes. If a local government chooses to locally enforce any of these codes, it must enforce the latest editions and the amendments adopted by DCA.
DCA has developed a sample resolution/ordinance that may be used as a guide for local governments in the development of their administrative procedures. Please contact DCA for a copy of this sample resolution/ordinance and for any technical assistance needed in the development of a local code enforcement program.
It should be noted that The Uniform Codes Act states
that the appendices of the codes are not enforceable unless referenced
in the body of the code, adopted by DCA, or specifically adopted
by a municipality or county. If any appendices have been adopted
by DCA, they will be noted in the Georgia amendments as such.
The Uniform Codes Act provides that local governments may, under certain conditions, adopt local amendments to the state minimum standard codes. Please note that DCA does not approve or disapprove any local amendment. The department provides a recommendation only. However, in order to enforce any local amendment, the local government must submit the proposed amendment to DCA for review (O.C.G.A. Section 8-2-25(c)).
There are several requirements local governments must meet in order to enact a local code amendment. These requirements are as follows:
After submittal of the proposed local amendment, DCA has 60 days in which to forward its recommendations to the local government. DCA may respond in three ways: recommend adoption of the amendment, recommend the amendment not be adopted, or have no comment on the proposal. If DCA recommends against the adoption of the proposed amendment, the local governing body must vote specifically to reject DCA's recommendation before the local amendment can be adopted and enforced. If DCA fails to respond within the 60-day time frame, the local government may adopt the proposed local amendment.
The Current State Minimum Standard Codes
The following are the current state minimum standard codes for construction as adopted by the Board of Community Affairs.
Current Mandatory Codes as Adopted by DCA:
(No Georgia Amendments)
Current Permissive Codes as Adopted by DCA:
PLEASE NOTE: There are Georgia Amendments to the codes, above. GEORGIA AMENDMENTS ARE AVAILABLE HERE. Please contact the Construction Codes and Industrialized Buildings Section for more information concerning these amendments.
Energy Code Resources
Code books may be purchased from one of the following sources:
Georgia Plumber’s Trade Association
Post Office Box 555
Manchester, GA 31816
International Code Council
900 Montclair Road
Birmingham, AL 35213-1206
Mail orders or walk-in customers
American Institute of Architects, Georgia
748 Marietta Street
Atlanta, GA 30318
Telephone: 404-221-1669 or
Southern Polytechnic Bookstore
1100 S. Marietta Parkway
Marietta, GA 30060
Telephone: 678-915-7355 or
For more information or to update the Georgia Building Officials Directory, please contact:
Office of Construction Codes and Industrialized Buildings (404)679-3118.
Copyright © 2004-2014 The Georgia Department of Community Affairs. All Rights Reserved.