S.B. No. 736
relating to the authority of certain counties to apply a county fire
code to certain buildings.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Subchapter C, Chapter 233, Local Government
Code, is amended by adding Section 233.0615 to read as follows:
Sec. 233.0615. DEFINITIONS; SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT;
CONSTRUCTION. (a) In this subchapter:
(1) "Building" includes an establishment or
(2) "Substantial improvement" means:
(A) the repair, restoration, reconstruction,
improvement, or remodeling of a building for which the cost exceeds
50 percent of the building's value according to the certified tax
appraisal roll for the county for the year preceding the year in
which the work was begun; or
(B) a change in occupancy classification
involving a change in the purpose or level of activity in a
building, including the renovation of a warehouse into a loft
(b) For purposes of this subchapter, substantial
improvement begins on the date that the repair, restoration,
reconstruction, improvement, or remodeling or the change in
occupancy classification begins or on the date materials are first
delivered for that purpose.
(c) For purposes of this subchapter, construction begins on
the date that ground is broken for a building, or if no ground is
broken, on the date that:
(1) the first materials are added to the original
(2) foundation pilings are installed on the original
(3) a manufactured building or relocated structure is
placed on a foundation on the original property.
SECTION 2. Section 233.062, Local Government Code, is
amended by amending Subsections (a) and (c) and adding Subsection
(d) to read as follows:
(a) The fire code applies only to the following buildings
constructed in an unincorporated area of the county:
(1) a commercial establishment; [
(2) a public building; and
(3) a multifamily residential dwelling consisting of
four or more units.
(c) The fire code must:
(1) conform to:
(A) the International Fire Code, as published by
the International Code Council, as the code existed on May 1, 2005;
(B) the Uniform Fire Code, as published by
[ Uniform Building Code or to a national fire code adopted by the
Southern Building Code Congress,] the National Fire Protection
Association, as the code existed on May 1, 2005 [ or the Building
Officials and Code Administrators International]; or
(2) establish protective measures that exceed the
standards of the codes described by Subdivision (1).
(d) The commissioners court may adopt later editions of a
fire code listed in Subsection (c).
SECTION 3. Subsections (a) and (d), Section 233.063, Local
Government Code, are amended to read as follows:
(a) A person may not construct or substantially improve a
building described by Section 233.062(a) in an unincorporated area
of the county unless the person obtains a building permit issued in
accordance with this subchapter.
(d) If the commissioners court receives an application and
fee in accordance with Subsection (b) and the commissioners court
does not issue the permit or deny the application within 30 days
after receiving the application and fee, the construction or
substantial improvement of the building that is the subject of the
application is approved for the purposes of this subchapter.
SECTION 4. Section 233.064, Local Government Code, is
amended by amending Subsections (c), (d), and (e) and adding
Subsection (g) to read as follows:
(c) A building inspector may enter and perform the
inspection at a reasonable time at any stage of the building's
construction or substantial improvement and after completion of the
(d) On or before the date that construction or substantial
improvement of a building subject to this subchapter is completed,
the owner of the building shall request in writing that the county
inspect the building for compliance with the fire code.
(e) The county shall begin the inspection of the building
within five business [ two] days after the date of the receipt of the
written inspection request. If an inspection is properly requested
and the county does not begin the inspection within the time
permitted by this subsection, the building that is the subject of
the request is considered approved for the purposes of this
(g) If the inspector determines, after an inspection of the
completed building, that the building does not comply with the fire
(1) the county shall deny the certificate of
(2) the building may not be occupied.
SECTION 5. Section 233.065, Local Government Code, is
amended by adding Subsection (d) to read as follows:
(d) The fee for a fire code inspection under this subchapter
must be reasonable and reflect the approximate cost of the
inspection personnel, materials, and administrative overhead.
SECTION 6. Subsection (c), Section 233.062, Local
Government Code, as amended by this Act, applies only to a fire code
adopted by the commissioners court of a county on or after the
effective date of this Act. A fire code adopted by the
commissioners court of a county before the effective date of this
Act is governed by the law that existed when the fire code was
adopted, and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.
SECTION 7. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
Act takes effect September 1, 2005.
President of the Senate Speaker of the House
I hereby certify that S.B. No. 736 passed the Senate on
April 14, 2005, by the following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0; and that
the Senate concurred in House amendment on May 24, 2005, by the
following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0.
Secretary of the Senate
I hereby certify that S.B. No. 736 passed the House, with
amendment, on May 19, 2005, by the following vote: Yeas 141,
Nays 0, one present not voting.
Chief Clerk of the House