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VBRA Lobbyist Report: S.253 RBES - May 1, 2024

05/01/2024 5:46 PM | Denis Bourbeau

Today, the House Environment and Energy Committee took up and passed S.253, the RBES bill. 

[To look at the language you’ll need to review the version as Passed the Senate, and then compare with the Committee Amendment, Draft 1.1.  Or, see the summary below for highlights.  S.253: as Passed by The Senate    S.253: Committee Amendment, Draft 1.1.  The amendment will be combined with the underlying bill before it goes to the House floor.}

 

Here’s where they ended up:

  • Changes statutory requirement for DPS to update RBES from “shall” to “may.”  A significant win that gives the department discretion on when and how to update.
  • Establishes a 2-year working to recommend strategies for increasing compliance with RBES, and develop plans and recommendations for a potential transition to a comprehensive program for the RBES and CBES at the Divisions of Fire Safety, and to consider whether or not the State should adopt a statewide building code. 
  • Require the Office of Professional Regulation to make some updates to the contractor registry website, including asking registrants for more information, and requiring registrants to acknowledge that  compliance RBES is required.

 Stretching back to a year and a half ago VBRA, working alongside the American Institute of Architects Vermont (AIAVT), engaged the LCAR committee to delay adoption of the required 2021 IECC energy code. Then, the associations worked all session on S.253.  The working group is intended to make sure builders and designers are at the table for future energy code updates and as the state considers the adoption of residential code.  [It is the intention of this House committee to secure funding to extend the working group beyond the two years.]

VBRA members devoted countless hours in study committees, testifying and strategy sessions.

In no particular order, many thanks to:

  • Jim Bradley, Hayward Design-Build
  • Denis Bourbeau, Bourbeau Custom Homes
  • Collin Frisbee, Sterling Homes
  • Jason Webster, Huntington Homes
  • Sandra Vitzhum, Architect

Now, our work is not done. As a separate issue – but of course related – we do still intend to engage LCAR on a further delay of the 2024 RBES, scheduled to go into effect July 1, 2024. Our basic argument will  be:  the conditions that existed a year ago that convinced LCAR to delay still exist today. Nothing has changed.   I spoke with Rep. Bongartz, House Environment and Energy member and LCAR member, and he’s aware that we intend to pursue a further delay and is at least agreeable to the conversation.  He just voted to change “shall” to “may” for future RBES on the argument that it makes no sense without an agency, residential code, enforcement, etc. 

 

Regards,

Andrew

 

Andrew Brewer | Government Relations Specialist
Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC | Business Sense · Legal Ingenuityw is that
52 State Street | Montpelier, VT 05602-3176
Cell: 802-279-0838 | Direct: 802-225-5514

abrewer@drm.com | www.drm.com

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