On July 1, the 89 towns in Maine with populations of more than 4,000 began enforcing the first statewide Uniform Building and Energy Codefirst statewide , which applies to newly built homes and commercial buildings. The code—which combines six existing codes—is supposed to make builders’ jobs’ easier, says Richard McCarthy, the state’s assistant fire marshal, who oversaw the code and its adoption. And several towns took extra measures to educate contractors about compliance. —

Action Items

1 In Lincoln, Maine, population 5,200, code enforcement officer Dan Whittier conducted two public meetings in late May, which about 16 contractors attended.

2 Their questions mostly revolved around new energy codes that require cellars with R-10 insulation, walls with R-20, and attics and ceilings with R-49. Any new buildings must be tested independently to meet new requirements for air tightness.

3 Whittier himself took certification courses, offered by the state’s planning office, to learn how best to interpret manuals for seven classes of construction. “It will take years to really know them,” Whittier says about the new codes and their implementation.