Worcester County Commissioners

Director Ed Tudor presents a revised draft of a building permit to the Worcester County Commissioners during a meeting Tuesday.

(Feb. 22, 2019) The county government effort to loosen fire sprinkler regulations for builders and homebuyers continued Tuesday, as the Worcester County Commissioners reviewed changes proposed for building and housing documents.

Director of Permitting Ed Tudor presented a revised draft of the Building Permit Application form, as well as a draft for the Single-Family Home Residential Fire Sprinkler Waiver form following the commissioners’ discussions in a meeting on Jan. 22. 

Tudor and County Attorney Maureen Howarth prepared the revisions, according to a memorandum.

Tudor said the form now includes a “check box” on the second page “where we indicate what other information is necessary as part of the permit process,” Tudor said in the memorandum.

Commissioner Jim Bunting had proposed during a Jan. 22 meeting adding an opt-out clause in building permit applications that would allow homeowners to acknowledge that the home is not sprinkled.

Bunting also clarified that such a permit would only apply to single-family homes, rather than condos, duplexes or apartment buildings.

“I can understand the need for sprinklers in those [multi-family structures] because your neighbor may not be as careful as you,” Bunting said in January.

The commissioners also agreed to have the policy go into effect on July 1 after receiving comments from the state effective May 1. 

Tudor said the addressed letter would go to Mr. Norman Wang, director of the Building Codes Administration at the Maryland Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation. He added that the letter would also be copied to James E. Rzepkowski, acting director of the Maryland Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation, Jeff McMahon, Worcester County Fire Marshal, and Bill Bradshaw, building administrator.

Commissioner Joseph Mitrecic made a motion to approve the revised draft, and Commissioner Jim Bunting seconded it. The vote was unanimous.

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