This week, the future of the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code (MUBEC) is at stake. MUBEC will be the focus of debate and votes in the House and Senate, as two very different bills move forward.
We urge you to contact your State Representative and Senator to ask them to support the statewide uniform building and energy code that just went into effect last December. To support a consistent, statewide building code that reduces costs to consumers and reduces uncertainty and development costs for builders and developers, ask them to support LD 1253 and reject LD 1416.
Here's what's going on:
The Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code matters to Maine because it reduces costs to consumers by ensuring buildings meet minimum standards for safe, healthy, energy-efficient construction and reduce our energy costs and our dependence on heating oil. It also reduces the cost of doing business in Maine by creating a consistent, reasonable, coordinated set of building codes across the state.
LD 1253 makes significant improvements to MUBEC and how it is implemented. This bill received a unanimous vote from the committee on Labor, Commerce, Research, and Business Development, which has dealt with building codes for many years.
LD 1416, on the other hand, was heard in the Committee on State and Local Government – a committee that has never before worked on building codes. LD 1416 would make a building code optional for most towns, thus undermining the statewide code. It would move Maine backward to a system of “model codes” that we know from experience didn’t provide uniformity for builders, consumer protection, or energy efficient homes. “Opt in” simply doesn't work. The bill would also put at risk tens of millions of dollars of federal grants from the Department of Energy that Maine qualified for when MUBEC was adopted. Lastly, LD 1416 would make Maine one of only 10 states that lack a true statewide code, thus discouraging investment in the state and reducing predictability for builders working across Maine.
One of the great successes of MUBEC is that it is a uniform code; no longer are there conflicts between multiple codes, such as the Fire Warden's code and the Historic Preservation code – it’s all in one! MUBEC also creates a minimum standard for energy conservation which must be implemented statewide, because we have some of the oldest housing stock in the nation, and we are among the most dependent on oil for heating.
A statewide code provides consumer protection and cost savings while ensuring predictability and an easier regulatory environment for builders and developers—it needs to remain a statewide code.
Please contact your Legislators in Augusta and tell them you support LD 1253 and reject LD 1416. Here’s how.