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Code Modification Procedure

If your building construction has been disapproved by an inspector, or your building design plans have been disapproved by a plan reviewer, or a construction code violation has otherwise been identified, and you cannot practically correct the deficiency, you may formally request a code modification. Please understand that the modification process is the solution of last resort and that approval of requests is not guaranteed. You should always first attempt to work with the code official(s) and/or other professional consultants, to develop a design that provides prescriptive compliance with the adopted codes and standards of Montgomery County.

To request a code modification:

  • you must fill in the Code Modification Request form completely, citing the specific code/regulation/standard (Montgomery County Code, Executive Regulation, IBC, IEBC, IMC, NEC, NFPA, IRC, IFGC, IECC, etc.) for which you seek the modification and the relevant chapter/section/subsection number.
  • if the same deficiency occurs at multiple address, each address must have a separate application.
  • if there are multiple code modification requests at the same address, each requested code modification must have a separate application.  Examples:  a project that is requesting code modifications for interior finish and a stair penetration requires two separate applications; a project that is requesting a code modification for a non-compliant stair (non-compliant width and winder treads) may submit a single application. 

Code modification requests must be based on practical difficulty in achieving code conformance and should include proposed alternative methods and/or materials that would provide an equivalent level of safety and protection. A self-imposed hardship generally will not be accepted as a basis for an approved code modification request.

Explain as clearly and completely as possible:

  • the nature of the code violation,
  • the practical difficulty in complying with the requirements,
  • the extent of modification requested,
  • and what compensatory protection or equivalent safety you would provide to offset deficiencies.

When submitting the request, you should document your case with plans, details, technical data, etc., to illustrate the nature and extent of the code deficiency; photographs of existing conditions may also be included as exhibits.

In accordance with Executive Regulations(ER) 9-15AMII, you must pay a filing/hearing fee for residential (attached and detached one- and two- family dwellings) cases, for commercial and other cases, and for fire code cases. 

The Code Modification Advisory Committee conducts hearings each Tuesday (Thursday, if Tuesday is a holiday) for modification cases received by 3:00 P.M. the preceding Thursday (Wednesday, if Thursday is a holiday). Although your appearance at the hearings is not compulsory, the committee strongly urges attendance by the applicant or representative(s) to ensure the clearest possible understanding of the case; (historically, unattended hearings have had a poor "track record" due to the absence of sufficient information).

Where the code modification involves architectural or engineering design solutions, the committee also recommends attendance by the appropriate design professional or consultant. Code modification cases begin at 9 A.M. and are heard in the order received.  Each case is allotted 20 minutes each for presentation and discussion. At the conclusion of the hearings, the committee deliberates each case and prepares a written recommendation for review and approval/denial by the appropriate Division Chief.

Depending on caseloads, a written decision signed by the Division Chief will be prepared in approximately three weeks and mailed to the applicant; at your request, a facsimile copy of the decision can be transmitted.

If you have further questions about the modification process, please call 311 or if outside Montgomery County (240)777-0311.