The Vermont Statutes Online
Title 24: Municipal and County Government
Chapter 083: BUILDING INSPECTORS AND REGULATION OF BUILDING
§ 3101. Bylaws and ordinances; penalties
(a) The mayor and board of aldermen of a city, the selectboard of a town, or the trustees of an incorporated village, may, in accordance with this chapter, establish codes and regulations for the construction, maintenance, repair, and alteration of buildings and other structures within the municipality. Such codes and regulations may include provisions relating to building materials, structural design, passageways, stairways and exits, heating systems, fire protection procedures, and such other matters as may be reasonably necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of the public, but excluding electrical installations subject to regulation under 26 V.S.A. chapter 15.
(b) Any code or regulation under subsection (a) of this section shall be adopted, amended, or repealed and enforced pursuant to the provisions of chapter 59 of this title.
(c) When any municipality adopts or amends a building code, it shall impose requirements consistent with the current rules and standards adopted by the Commissioner of Public Safety under 20 V.S.A. chapter 173, subchapter 2.
(d) Upon the adoption or amendment of any code or regulation, at least one copy shall be filed in the office of the building inspector, and the office of the municipal clerk.
(e) The General Assembly may incorporate amendments to the code into the ordinance of all municipalities which have adopted the code, or designate allowable exceptions to the code.
(f) On or before January 1, 1984, each municipality which has in effect a building code which is not consistent with the rules and standards adopted by the Commissioner of Labor, shall substitute for such code a code which is consistent. (Amended 1967, No. 295 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. March 20, 1968; 1969, No. 284 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. date, see note set out below; 1973, No. 196 (Adj. Sess.),§§ 1, 2, eff. April 2, 1974; 1981, No. 121 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. March 3, 1982; 2003, No. 141 (Adj. Sess.), § 10, eff. April 1, 2005; 2005, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 5, 2006.)
§ 3102. Building inspectors
(a) Upon the adoption of any codes, rules, or regulations as provided in section 3101 of this title, the mayor and board of aldermen of a city, the selectboard of a town, or the trustees of an incorporated village shall appoint and may remove a building inspector, and may appoint and may remove a deputy building inspector, prescribe their duties, and fix their compensation.
(b) The building inspector and any deputy building inspector shall be a disinterested and competent person with experience in the construction of various types of buildings. (Amended 1967, No. 295 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. March 20, 1968; 2017, No. 74, § 107.)
§ 3103. Appointment; duties; powers
Any such ordinance may be amended or supplemented following the procedure for adoption in section 3101 of this title. At least three copies of any ordinance, as amended or supplemented, shall be filed, as provided in section 3101 of this title, in the office of the building inspector and three copies filed in the office of the municipal clerk for use by the public. (Amended 1967, No. 295 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 20, 1968.)
§ 3104. Examination by public
At least 30 days before the adoption of any such ordinance or any amendment or supplement thereto, at least three copies of the code or regulation referred to in section 3101 of this title shall be filed in the office of the building inspector and three copies in the office of the municipal clerk for use by the public. (Added 1967, No. 295 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. March 20, 1968.)
§ 3105. Public hearing; notice
(a) No such ordinance or amendments or supplements may become effective or be altered until after a public hearing at which interested parties and citizens may be heard.
(b) Notice of the time and place of the hearing shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality at least 15 days before the holding of the hearing. (Added 1967, No. 295 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. March 20, 1968.)
§ 3106. Report; prosecutions; injunctions
A building inspector shall:
(1) make a detailed report of his or her doings to the board of aldermen, selectboard, or trustees, as the case may be, at least once in six months, showing the number of certificates of permit granted, the number refused, and such other information as may be of importance relating to the discharge of his or her duties; and
(2) inquire into and report to the municipal attorney or other designee of the legislative body of the municipality for prosecution, all violations of this chapter, and may apply, as building inspector, to a Superior judge for an injunction or other legal or equitable remedy in aid of his or her powers as he or she may be advised. (Amended 2017, No. 93 (Adj. Sess.), § 23.)
§ 3107. Certificate of permit; filing
(a) Before the construction or alteration of a building, the owner, builder, or architect shall submit to the building inspector a comprehensive statement in writing of the material to be used and the mode of construction of the proposed building or alteration, with plans and specifications, if there are any. Work thereon shall not be begun until the owner has received from the inspector a certificate of permission specifying the material of which the outer walls and other covering of the roof of such building are to be composed, the street upon which, and the distance therefrom at which such building is to be placed. A copy of such certificate shall be filed in the office of the inspector under the date of its issue.
(b) Such certificate shall not be granted until the inspector is satisfied that such structure when completed will be properly built, and insofar as practicable of a fireproof construction; provided, however, that in those municipalities that have adopted the provisions of chapter 81 of this title, relating to municipal zoning, the building inspector, before issuing said building certificate, shall be satisfied that by the issuance of such certificate the zoning ordinance of said municipality will not be violated.
§ 3108. Inspector’s duties
The inspector shall daily examine the condition of buildings undergoing alteration or erection and serve notice in writing upon the builders, owners, or architects of such structures as he or she deems to be unsafe or insecure by reason of the mode and manner of construction or materials used in the construction thereof. He or she shall order such changes in the mode or manner of construction and the materials used as he or she deems necessary for the public safety and may order work to cease.
§ 3109. Appeals from orders
When a person is aggrieved by an order of a building inspector, that person or the person’s architect or builder may appeal to a board of arbitrators appointed as provided in section 3110 of this title, or to the Criminal Division of the Superior Court, at his or her election. The board of arbitrators or the court shall have the power to annul, amend, modify, or affirm the order of the building inspector. The appeal shall be taken within five days after the receipt of the inspector’s notice and order by the aggrieved party or his or her architect or builder. In case of an election to appeal to a board of arbitrators, it shall be deemed perfected by a written notice of appeal left with the building inspector personally, or at his or her office. In case of an election to appeal to the Criminal Division of the Superior Court, the appeal shall be deemed perfected by the filing with the court of a complaint. The taking of the appeal shall operate as a stay. (Amended 1965, No. 194, § 10, operative Feb. 1, 1967; 1971, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 200, eff. March 29, 1972; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238; 2015, No. 97 (Adj. Sess.), § 57.)
§ 3110. Arbitrators; decision
The board of arbitrators shall be composed of two disinterested persons, residents of the municipality, one of whom shall be appointed by the appellant and one by the building inspector. If such arbitrators cannot agree, a third member shall be chosen by them. On failure to agree as to such third member, he or she shall be appointed by a Superior judge. A decision of a majority of the board of arbitrators thus composed, when reduced to writing, sworn to, and filed in the inspector’s office, shall be final and conclusive upon the parties. Upon the filing of such decision, work may be immediately resumed in accordance therewith. The expense of such arbitration shall be paid by the appellant. (Amended 1965, No. 194, § 10, operative Feb. 1, 1967.)
§ 3111. Appeal; hearing; orders
When an appeal is taken under the provisions of section 3109 of this title, the judge shall forthwith inquire into the facts himself or herself or by a committee appointed by him or her, and make such order as he or she deems proper in the premises. In his or her discretion, he or she may tax costs in favor of the prevailing party and issue execution therefor. Upon the entry of judgment, work may be immediately resumed in accordance therewith.
§ 3112. Penalty
A person who violates a provision of this chapter or willfully disobeys a written order of a building inspector shall be fined not more than $200.00, provided such order has not been set aside or modified by a court or by a board of arbitrators, or by an order or decree of either such court or board of arbitrators made on appeal thereto.
§ 3113. Unsafe building; notice
A building inspector being informed that a structure or anything appurtenant thereto is unsafe shall inspect the same. If it appears to be unsafe, he or she shall forthwith notify, in writing, the owner, agent, or person having an interest therein to remove it or make it safe and secure. If it appears that such structure would be especially unsafe in case of fire, it shall be deemed dangerous and the inspector may affix in a conspicuous place upon its exterior walls a notice of its dangerous condition, which shall not be removed or defaced without authority from him or her.
§ 3114. Repair of unsafe structure
Before 12:00 p.m. of the day following the service of such notice, a person notified as provided in section 3113 of this title shall commence to secure or remove such structure, and shall employ sufficient workers speedily to secure or remove it. If the public safety so requires, and if the mayor and aldermen, selectboard, or trustees, as the case may be, so order, the inspector shall immediately enter upon the premises with the necessary workers and cause such structure to be shored up, taken down, or otherwise secured without delay. Such inspector shall cause a proper fence or boarding put up for the protection of passers-by at the expense of the owner in the manner provided in section 3116 of this title, and such expense may be recovered in a civil action on this statute.
§ 3115. Refusal to obey order; survey; report
When an owner, agent, or person interested in such unsafe structure refuses or neglects to comply with the requirements of such order within the time limited, a careful survey of the premises shall be made by a board consisting, in a city, of the city engineer, the chief engineer of the fire department, and one disinterested person to be appointed by the inspector, and, in a town or incorporated village, by a board consisting of a surveyor, the chief engineer of the fire department, and one disinterested person to be appointed by the inspector. When there is not a city engineer or chief engineer of the fire department, the mayor and board of aldermen, or the proper officers in such town or village, as the case may be, shall designate one or more officers or other suitable persons in place of the officers so named, as members of the board. A report of such survey shall be made in writing and a copy thereof served on such owner, agent, or other person interested.
§ 3116. Building taken down; penalty
When such report declares such structure to be unsafe, and when the owner, agent, or person interested continues such refusal or neglect, the inspector shall cause it to be taken down or otherwise made safe. The costs and charges incurred shall constitute a lien upon the land upon which such building is situated, and shall be enforced within the time and in the manner provided for the collection of taxes on land. For every day’s continuance of such refusal or neglect, the owner or person interested shall forfeit to the city, town, or incorporated village in which such structure is situated not more than $50.00 nor less than $10.00, to be recovered in a civil action on this statute.
§ 3117. Appeal from order
An owner or person interested who is aggrieved by such order may appeal as provided in the case of a person aggrieved by an order of a building inspector. However, the provisions of this section shall not prevent the municipality from recovering the forfeiture provided in section 3116 of this title from the date of the service of the original notice, unless the order is annulled by the board of arbitration or a Superior Court judge, as the case may be. (Amended 1965, No. 194, § 10, operative Feb. 1, 1967; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 183.)
§ 3118. Notice to nonresident owner
When the owner, agent, or person interested lives out of the State, notice may be served upon him or her by a proper officer, whose return of service shall be sufficient evidence thereof.
§ 3119. Powers of judge
The presiding judge of the Superior Court may restrain the construction, alteration, maintenance, or use of a building or structure in violation of the provisions of an ordinance or bylaws of a municipality, and order its removal or abatement as a nuisance. Such judge may restrain the further construction, alteration, or repair of a building or structure reported to be unsafe under a survey authorized by section 3115 of this title, until the matter is determined as provided in section 3117 of this title. (Amended 1971, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 236; 1973, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)
§ 3120. Severability
If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstances is invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected. (Added 1967, No. 295 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. March 20, 1968.)