Senate Bill 76, passed during the 2012 legislative session, requires that all state-funded construction, including schools, meet the requirements of ASHRAE 90.1-2007.
The West Virginia State Fire Commission is responsible for adopting and promulgating statewide construction codes. The Administrative Procedures Act requires public hearings on the adoption of all codes by the State Fire Commission. The State Fire Commission promulgates the State Fire Code and the State Building Code. The State Fire Commission has authority to modify these codes. When the State Fire Commission proposes to adopt a code or requirement pertaining to a specific problem under its jurisdiction, the code is filed with the Secretary of State. The commission conducts a public hearing and can modify the rule with the Secretary of State as an agency-approved rule. The rule is then filed with the Legislative Rule-Making Review Committee. Once the rule is approved or modified by the Legislative Rule-Making Review Committee, it is introduced as a separate bill during the legislative session. As a proposed bill, the legislature must pass the rule and the Governor must sign it into law. Legislation need not be initiated by the State Fire Commission; the legislature can modify the code by proposing legislation at any time during the regular session.
Local jurisdictions that have adopted the state building code are the enforcing authority. The local code official reviews the plans and completes a building inspection. For local jurisdictions that have not adopted the energy code, the State Fire Marshal is responsible for enforcement.
Local jurisdictions must adopt the statewide requirements to enforce them at the local level. For jurisdictions that adopt the statewide codes, compliance is determined by plan review and inspection by local building officials. If local jurisdictions do not adopt the statewide codes, contractors, builders, and architects are responsible for complying with the provisions of the codes.
The West Virginia legislature passed laws dealing with energy conservation in response to the energy crisis. The state requirements consist of three separate laws. In 1977 legislators passed the West Virginia Energy Conservation Revolving Loan Fund and in 1980 passed the Energy Cost Reduction Guidelines.
A state building code was authorized by the legislature in 1988 and became effective April 28, 1989, preempting all other local codes. The State Fire Marshal had requested this legislation in 1987. The State Fire Commission appointed 11 members, approved the Fire Marshal's request, and worked with the legislature to successfully pass legislation authorizing the State Fire Commission to promulgate a state building code.
Effective April 3, 1991, the 1990 National Energy Conservation Code (NECC) was adopted by reference (Title 87, Series 4, Section 4.1, Legislative Rules) along with other codes for building design and construction. A state fire code also exists, which adopts various National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) Standards and takes precedence when a conflict arises with the building code.
Legislation was introduced in the 1996 legislative session that would have adopted the 1993 National Building Code (NBC). Chapter 13 of the NBC addresses energy conservation in building design and construction. Through a clerical oversight, the legislature did not include the 1993 NBC in final legislation. The State Fire Marshal requested an emergency rule from the Secretary of State that would enact the 1993 NBC. The request was approved. The legislature passed a law formally adopting the 1993 NBC on April 6, 1997.
The state of West Virginia adopted the 2003 International Residential Code and the 2003 International Energy Conservation Code with amendments during the 2006 legislative session. The codes were adopted on March 11, 2006; they became effective May 15, 2006.
As of early 2009, the state has adopted the 2003 IECC for residential and commercial buildings.
On April 11, 2009, the West Virginia Legislature passed companion bills directing the State Fire Commission to promulagate rules adding the 2009 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1-2007 to the state building code. The legislature stripped the 2009 IECC from the code suite, opting to retain the 2003 IECC without amendment as the state energy code. On May 7, Governor Joe Manchin signed the legislation. The code updates became effective July 1, 2010.
The West Virginia Fire commission took comments through May 4, 2012 and filed a rule that moves the state to the 2012 family of I-codes, with the exception of the IECC which is slated to move to the 2009 version. The new rule proposes to lift the deletion of Chapter 11 in the 2009 IRC as well as move the state commercial code to ASHRAE 90.1-2007.