by Julie Tisdale
City & County Policy Analyst
We’ve blogged on the Locker Room at length about how undue regulations on business can make it more difficult and more expensive for businesses to operate and therfore affect employment and raise prices. So now for what I hope will be some good news. A bill currently making its way through the General Assembly would reduce the frequency of changes to building codes for new homes. Instead of being revised every three years, as they are now, codes would be revised every six years.
This is good news for homebuilders and, consequently, for the workers they employ and the purchasers of new homes. Why? Because the only thing worse for business than regulation is constantly changing regulation. Every revision of building codes requires new education about the new standards, training for employees, redesign of building plans, and changes in the materials used. All of that costs money, which means that homebuilders have less to spend on actually building houses, or paying employees, or reducing prices for buyers.
And it’s unpredictable, which makes businesses rightly reluctant to invest too much over the longer term. If you’re not sure what the standard will be, and therefore what materials you’re going to need, you don’t want to get yourself into a long-term contract with a supplier that might leave you with materials you can no longer use. And you don’t want to hire people if changes are going to mean you’ll just have to get rid of them in six months. That kind of unpredictability makes it hard for businesses to plan, invest, and grow.
This bill looks like it could be a step in the right direction.