CHAPTER 84

LEVY COURT--NEW CASTLE COUNTY

BUILDING CODE

AN ACT TO REGULATE THE CONSTRUCTION, ALTERATION, REPAIR, REMOVAL, DEMOLITION, EQUIPMENT, USE AND OCCUPANCY, LOCATION AND MAINTENANCE OF BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES IN THE COUNTY OF NEW CASTLE OUTSIDE OF THE CITY OF WILMINGTON FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY AND FOR THE PREVENTION OF FIRE HAZARDS; TO PROVIDE A CODE OF BUILDING REGULATIONS; TO CREATE THE OFFICE OF BUILDING INSPECTOR AND OTHER HELPERS AND ASSISTANTS AS MAY BE REQUIRED; AND TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:

Section 1. The Levy *Court of New Castle County shall, and is hereby authorized, empowered and directed to appoint within thirty days after the effective date of this Act a Building Inspector who shall serve for a term as fixed by said Levy Court at a salary to be fixed by the Levy Court with an additional contingent expense fund to be fixed by the Levy Court. Said Building Inspector shall be under the jurisdiction of the Office of the County Engineer. Until such time as the duties of the Building Inspector shall require all his time the Levy Court shall direct the Building Inspector to carry on the duties of both Building and Plumbing Inspectors.

Section 2. The said Levy Court is hereby authorized and directed to promulgate before July 1, 1943 rules and regulations, to be known as the Building Code for Rural New Castle County, providing for matters concerning, affecting or relating to construction, alteration, repairs, removal, demolition, equipment, use or occupancy, location and maintenance of buildings or structures erected or to be erected in that part of New Castle County, State of Delaware, which is located within the Wilmington Metropolitan Area as defined by the U. S. Department of Commerce, outside the city limits of the City of Wilmington and outside of incorporated towns or cities and excluding farm properties, properties used for industrial purposes, and properties located in incorporated towns or cities, and built by industrial concerns for the use of their employees and not for sale.

Section 3. (a) No building or wall structure shall, after July 1, 1943, be constructed, altered, repaired, or removed, except by a contractor or an individual holding a permit as hereinafter provided for in Section 12, nor shall the equipment of a building, structure or premises be constructed, installed, altered, repaired, or removed except in compliance with the provisions as laid down by the Levy Court of New Castle County in the Building Code for Rural New Castle County.

(b) No building or structure shall be altered after July 1, 1943 in any manner that would be in violation of the provisions of the Building Code for Rural New Castle County promulgated by the Levy Court of New Castle County or of any authorized order or rule of the New Castle County Building Inspector, made and issued thereunder.

Section 4. All New Work to Conform. (a) No building or wall structure shall, after July 1, 1943, be constructed, altered, repaired, or removed, nor shall the plumbing, heating, air-conditioning, or electrical equipment of a building, structure or premises be constructed, installed, altered, repaired or removed, except in conformity with the provisions, rules and regulations, promulgated by the Levy Court of New Castle County.

(b) No building or structures shall, after July 1, 1943 be altered in any manner that will be in violation of the provisions, rules and regulations as promulgated or adopted by the Levy Court of New Castle County, or any authorized order, rule or approval of the Building Inspector made and issued thereunder.

(c) But nothing in the rules and regulations adopted by the Levy Court of New Castle County shall prohibit the raising or lowering of a building to meet a change of grade in the road on which it is located, provided that the building is not otherwise altered.

(d) No provision as adopted by the Levy Court of New Castle County shall be construed to require any change in, alteration of or addition to a legally existing building or structure, or the premises connected therewith, unless specially stated to so apply.

Section 5. Use and Maintenance. (a) It shall be unlawful to maintain, occupy or use a building or structure, or part thereof, that has been erected or altered in violation of this Act or of any of the rules, regulations, or orders adopted by the Levy Court of New Castle County pursuant to the purpose of this Act.

(b) A person who has erected or is maintaining such a building or structure shall remove said building or structure or cause the same to be removed. If such person fails to do so, the Building Inspector with the approval of the Levy Court of New Castle County, shall have full power to remove such unlawful building or structure, or cause the same to be altered to comply with the law and whatever expense shall be incurred in relation thereto shall be paid by the County Treasurer out of the moneys in the Treasury, and the owner or owners shall be jointly and severally liable to the Levy Court of New Castle County for the full amount so expended. The Levy Court of New Castle County may maintain an action at law in debt or assumpsit against such owner or owners to recover the sums of moneys so expended, plus lawful interests and costs.

Section 6. Qualifications of Building Inspector. (a) To be eligible for appointment, the Building Inspector shall be at least thirty years of age, a citizen of the State of Delaware, a resident of New Castle County two years prior to appointment and shall be generally informed on the quality and strength of building materials and on the prevailing methods of building construction.

(b) The Building Inspector shall, before entering upon the duties of said office, enter into bond with the Levy Court of New Castle County in the sum of Four Thousand Dollars ($4,000.00) with one or more sureties approved by the Levy Court, which said bond shall be conditioned for the faithful performance of his office and shall contain a warrant of attorney for confession of judgment thereon.

(c) Before entering upon the duties of his said office he shall be required to make and subscribe before some person authorized by laws to administer the same, the following oath or affirmations:

"I do solemnly and sincerely swear (or affirm) that I am duly qualified by law to act as Building Inspector and that I will faithfully, impartially and truly execute and perform the duties of Building Inspector according to the best of my judgment and ability."

Section 7. Duties of Building Inspector. (a) The Building Inspector shall enforce all laws, rules and regulations adopted by the Levy Court of New Castle County relating to the location, construction, alteration, repair, removal, demolition, equipment, use and occupancy, and maintenance of buildings and structures except as otherwise provided for.

(b) He shall receive all applications required by the Building Code as adopted by the Levy Court of New Castle County and issue permits and shall furnish the prescribed certificates.

(c) He shall make or cause to be made the necessary inspections to see that the provisions of law are complied with and the construction is prosecuted safely.

(d) He may order and compel the suspension of any work, and prohibit the use of any material or equipment in violation of the provisions of this Code and may make or cause to be made such tests as he deems necessary to determine the safety of a building or structure, material or equipment which it is his duty to inspect.

(e) For the purpose of enforcing compliance with law, to remove illegal or unsafe conditions, to secure the necessary safeguards during construction, or to require adequate exit facilities in existing buildings, he shall issue such notices or orders as may be necessary.

Section 8. The Levy Court of New Castle County shall have the power to appoint as many assistants or helpers at a salary to be fixed by the Levy Court, as may be required to carry into effect the work of the Building Inspector.

Section 9. Inspections. Inspections required under the provisions, rules and regulations adopted by the Levy Court of New Castle County shall be made by the Building Inspector or by one of the Assistant Building Inspectors or helpers provided that in the case of the inspection of elevators, fuel oil equipment, or electric wiring, they may accept reports of inspectors or casualty companies or of other recognized inspection services after investigation of their qualifications and reliability. No certificate called for by a provision of this Code shall be based on such reports unless the same are in writing and certified over the signature of the person making the inspection and report that the provisions of this Code are complied with and that there are no unsafe conditions.

Section 10. Records. (a) The Building Inspector shall keep a careful and comprehensive record of applications, of permits issued, of certificates issued, of inspections made, of reports rendered, and of notices or orders issued. He shall retain on file copies of all papers in connection with building work so long as any part of the building or structure to which they relate may be in existence, except that construction plans for buildings or structures of less than one hundred thousand dollars value need not be retained after work shown on such plans has been completed and has been approved and accepted. He shall keep a record of all violations of any rules or regulations promulgated by the Levy Court of New Castle County, with the name of the owner, or builder, and the location where such violations are found.

(b) All such records shall be open to public inspection at the discretion of the Inspector, but shall not be removed from the office of the Building Inspector.

Section 11. Reports. (a) The Building Inspector shall at the end of each month make a return to the Levy Court of New Castle County of all fees collected by him.

(b) He shall make a monthly report of all fees collected by him and expenses incurred to the Levy Court of New Castle County, said monthly report to be itemized and sworn to.

(c) He shall make a monthly as well as yearly report of all business transacted by his office to the Levy Court of New Castle County.

Section 12. (a) It shall not be lawful, after July 1, 1943, to construct, alter, add to, remove or demolish or to commence the construction, alteration, removal or demolition of a building or structure, or to install as an integral part in or in connection with a building or structure, an elevator, electric wiring, or a heating or heat producing appliance, or to erect a scaffold past the building line for repairs, or to erect a platform or staging to be used for standing or seating purposes, without first filing with the Building Inspector an application in writing for such construction, alteration, removing or demolition or such installation of elevator, electric wiring, or heating or heat-producing appliance, or such scaffolding, or platform, or staging, and obtaining a permit therefor. Such applications shall be made on forms prescribed by the Building Inspector and shall contain such information as the Levy Court of New Castle County shall prescribe. Permits shall be issued only to contractors, except that permits may be issued to owners for construction and alterations where such construction and alterations are made on properties to be used and occupied by such owner. Copies of all permits shall be filed with the New Castle County Board of Assessment.

The provisions of this Act shall not apply to any construction, alteration or additions to any building or structure where the work of such construction, alteration or addition is performed by any public utility corporation or its employees in the regular course of its business of rendering service to its customers or to the general public.

No domestic range, water heater not exceeding a capacity of one hundred and twenty gallons, or portable space-heating equipment, shall be deemed to be a "heat-producing appliance" within the meaning of this section.

Section 13. The fees for issuing such permits shall be prescribed by the Levy Court of New Castle County.

Section 14. Violations. (a) Whenever the Building Inspector is satisfied that a building or structure, or any work in connection therewith, the erection, construction, or alteration, execution or repair of which is regulated, permitted or forbidden by any of the rules or regulations as adopted by the Levy Court of New Castle County, is being erected, constructed, altered or repaired, in violation of rules, regulations, requirements as promulgated by the Levy Court of New Castle County or in violation of a detailed statement or plan submitted and approved thereunder, or of a permit or certificate issued thereunder, he may serve a written notice or order upon the person responsible therefor directing discontinuance of each illegal action and the remedying of the condition which is in violation of the provisions, regulations or requirements as adopted by the Levy Court of New Castle County.

(b) No person having been served with such a notice or order shall fail within five days to comply with the requirements thereof.

(c) Whenever in the opinion of the Building Inspector by reason of defective or illegal work in violation of a provision or requirement adopted by the Levy Court of New Castle County,

the continuance of a building operation is contrary to public welfare, he may order, in writing, that all further work be stopped and may require suspension of work until the condition in violation has been remedied.

Section 15. Penalties. The owner of a building, structure or premises, where anything in violation of this Act or the rules or requirements as promulgated by the Levy Court of New Castle County shall be placed, and any architect, builder, contractor, agent, person or corporation employed in connection therewith and who shall have participated or assisted in the commission of such violation shall each be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine not exceeding Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) for each offense and the further sum of Ten Dollars ($10.00) for each and every day such violation continues.

Section 16. Abatement. The imposition of the penalties hereinabove prescribed shall not preclude the Attorney General from instituting appropriate actions or proceedings to prevent the unlawful erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration. repair, conversion, maintenance or use, or to restrain, correct or abate a violation, or to prevent the occupancy of a building, structure, or premises, or to prevent an illegal act, conduct, business or use in or about any premises.

Section 17. Exemptions. The provisions of this Act shall not apply to structures necessary to the operation of farm lands, nor to properties located within any incorporated City or Town in New Castle County, nor to properties used for industrial purposes.

Section 18. This Act shall become effective immediately upon its approval.

Approved April 22, 1943.