NH Law About... Building Codes

Introduction to... Building Codes

Posted March 7, 2013. Revised November 26, 2013; July 15, 2014; April 29, 2016.

To find building codes, you may need to check at the local, state, and federal levels. The state building code sets the minimum standards for the state but local governments can have more stringent codes. Federal standards may also apply. 

The "New Hampshire building code" (or "state building code" or “building code of the state of New Hampshire”) is really several codes as amended by New Hampshire: the International Building Code 2009, the International Plumbing Code 2009, the International Mechanical Code 2009, the International Energy Conservation Code 2009, the International Residential Code 2009, the International Existing Building Code 2009, and the National Electrical Code 2014. These model codes, published by the International Code Council and the National Fire Prevention Association, have been adopted by the state of New Hampshire (RSA 155-A) and are amended by administrative rule (Bcr 300). 

The "New Hampshire fire code" or "state fire code" means the Life Safety Code 2009 edition and the Uniform Fire Code NFPA 1, 2009 edition as amended by New Hampshire as well as other national codes, model codes, or standards referred to within these codes. The Life Safety Code and the Uniform Fire Code are published by the National Fire Protection Association. They were adopted by the state of New Hampshire (RSA 153) and are amended by administrative rule (Saf-C 6000).  

There are a host of other codes: commercial building codes, historic structure codes, cultural resources codes, fuel gas codes, etc., etc. that may have been adopted by a particular municipality. As a result, in your search for a building code, check the town or city’s website first. Start by looking for the code enforcement department or its equivalent. We’ve found it under various names: code enforcement, code administration, building department, or building inspection to name a few. Look for something along the lines of “current codes enforced.” For some towns, we had to look at the building permit application documents to figure out what codes those towns were enforcing. Check the ordinances as well, but be careful because many of those are out of date. You may see references to building codes, but some municipalities never updated their ordinances when the state code was enacted in 2002. If the ordinances refer to building standards that are much older than the state’s current versions, keep looking.

Please remember that this guide is for information purposes only and is not comprehensive. It is intended as a starting point for research, to illustrate the various sources of the law, and to provide guidance in their use. NH Law About ...  is not a substitute for the services of an attorney.  

Read about... Building Codes


New Hampshire. Dept. of Safety. State Building Code Review Board. NH State Building Code (Current)

Link verified on: April 29, 2016

This website links to the International Code Council's model versions of codes. They must be read with the amendments (also on this site) made by the state of New Hampshire.   GO>

New Hampshire. Dept. of Safety. State Building Code Review Board

Link verified on: April 29, 2016

The State Building Code Review Board (BCRB) is charged with the responsibility for reviewing and amending the New Hampshire building code.   GO>

New Hampshire. Dept. of Safety. Division of Fire Safety. Bureau of Building Safety & Construction

Link verified on: April 29, 2016

The Bureau of Building Safety and Construction is responsible for administering the many facets of code enforcement for the Division.   GO>

New Hampshire. Public Utilities Commission. Sustainable Energy Division. Energy Codes

Link verified on: April 29, 2016

This website provides links to rules and regulations, energy codes and other information.   GO>

New Hampshire Municipal Association. New Hampshire Town and City. "Local Administration of the State Building Code." Vol. LV, no. 1 (Jan. 2012)  GO>

Link verified on: April 29, 2016

New Hampshire Municipal Association. Statutory Building Code Enforcement : How Code Enforcement Decisions are Made and Reviewed. Nov. 2013  GO>

Link verified on: April 29, 2016


International Codes, 2009

The print versions of the International Codes are available in several libraries throughout the state.   GO>

Link verified on: April 29, 2016

Implementing and enforcing the State Building Code and State Fire Code / presenters: Stephen C. Buckley, Audry Cline, Carrie Rouleau-Côté. New Hampshire Municipal Association, 2015.

Part 1. Legal boundaries and obligations : State Building & Fire Code administration. Adoption of the State Building Code -- Amendments to State Building Code 2002-2011 -- Major revision to State Building Code 2012 -- What is the current State Building Code? -- The State Fire Code -- The building inspector -- Code compliance -- Building Code and Fire Code appeal process -- Enacting a local enforcement process -- Sprinklers -- Liability issues -- Selected Building Code cases. Part 2. Building and code enforcement principles and operation. Modern building codes -- Establishment of the statewide New Hampshire Building Code -- NH RSA 155-A:1 IV -- How to comply with the Building Code -- What are referenced standards? -- What is reviewed for a commercial property? -- Changes of occupancy and changes of use -- Historic buildings -- Agricultural buildings -- International residential code -- How do we create a Building Department? -- How do we know who to hire and if they are qualified? -- What's in a name? Who are we and what credentials might we have? -- Duties of the Building Office -- What is the liability to the town if a mistake or oversight occurs?   GO>

Link verified on: April 29, 2016

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Read the law about... Building Codes


New Hampshire. Dept. of Safety. Division of Fire Safety. Laws, Rules and Codes

Link verified on: April 29, 2016

Links to statutes applicable to fire services, electrical safety, modular buildings, gas fitting, and NFPA codes and standards   GO>

New Hampshire. Dept. of Safety. State Building Code Review Board. Laws and Rules

Link verified on: April 29, 2016

This website links to RSA 155-A as well as current and previous versions of Bcr 300. There is also an explanation of how the state building code is adopted.   GO>

Find it in a Library ... New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated

Link verified on: April 29, 2016

Find the New Hampshire statutes in print at libraries throughout the state.   GO>

Learn About New Hampshire Statutes: New Hampshire statutes are the laws of the State of New Hampshire as enacted by the New Hampshire General Court. GO>


Find it in a Library ... Code of New Hampshire Rules  GO>

Link verified on: March 7, 2016


Governor's Commission on Disability. Architectural Barrier Free Design Committee

Link verified on: November 26, 2013

The committee promulgates and enforces the NH Code for Architectural Barrier-Free Design; reviews New Hampshire State agency leases to ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities and submits recommendations to the Governor and Executive Council; provides technical assistance on architectural accessibility compliance requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, The New Hampshire State Building Code, Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act and The Fair Housing Act; advises property owners, code enforcement officials and the design community on accessibility compliance; reviews architectural plans for accessibility compliance in publicly-funded new construction and significant renovation and reviews complaints alleging violations of accessibility code.   GO>

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