The Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development voted unanimously this week to adopt a statewide building-maintenance code after apartment owners and local code officials testified in support of a compromise that only will require retrofitting of older buildings in a limited number of cases.
The housing board delayed adoption of the proposed new code -- the first statewide building-maintenance code enacted in Virginia -- last February after apartment owners complained to state legislators that the tough proposed code would require expensive renovation.
The new maintenance code, which supersedes any local regulations that may have been on the books in the absense of a statewide code, will go into effect Oct. 1.
Adoption of the building-maintenance code comes after more than three years of controversy over whether the new statewide code being drafted by the housing board, on authority from the legislature, should be as tough as local codes in urbanized areas of the state.
Last summer, the housing board shocked some local officials and tenants in Northern Virginia when it proposed a statewide building-maintenance code that would have relieved landlords of responsibility for such things as trash removal and rat extermination, while permitting outhouses in some areas and use of lead-based paint.
The board defended its position at that time by saying that the statewide maintenance code should not be too burdensome for rural areas. Residents and tenant groups from Newport News, Alexandria, Fairfax County and other urbanized areas fought the proposal, saying that it gave landlords too many concessions and would undermine local authority to enforce stricter codes.
The compromise approved by building owners and local code officials says that older buildings will need to be retrofitted only if local code officials find health or safety risks.
IN THE BUSINESS . . . The Barcorp Building, a 190,000-square-foot office and retail building at 1801 Rockville Pike in Rockville, has been completed . . . General Services Administration officials are hosting a six-member Soviet delegation of experts in building design and construction management, which is visiting commercial and federal construction projects in New York and Portland, Ore., and meeting with GSA officials in San Francisco and here . . . The National Association of Home Builders has opened its National Research Center in Upper Marlboro . . . Home sales are up by 40 percent in the first four months of the year in Northern Virginia, from 7,463 last year to 10,475 this year, according to the Northern Virginia Board of Realtors.
PERSONNEL FILE . . . Richard J. DiFiore has been named vice president for regional and urban leasing at Western Development Corp., while Howard S. Biel has been named vice president of development . . . William D. North, general counsel and acting chief executive officer of the National Association of Realtors, has been named executive vice president of the 700,000-member organization.