Singleton Bill Would Strengthen Structural Integrity Of Buildings

Referenced collapse of multiunit building in Florida in 2021

TRENTON, NJ — A bill sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton (D-Burlington) to enhance the structural integrity of buildings in New Jersey advanced in the State Senate on Thursday. 

The Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee passed legislation sponsored by Singleton and Senator Linda Greenstein (D- Mercer/Middlesex) that would strengthen the State Uniform Construction Code Act (UCCA) and The Planned Real Estate Development Full Disclosure Act (PREDFDA). 

“Last year, 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, who represents Mount Laurel in the Legislature. “Strengthening construction codes and having structural experts conduct inspections will be vital to ensuring the safety of those living in multifamily 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. “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 last year 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.

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