Morris County Library > Reference > Construction codes
NJ Construction & Fire Codes
To end the hodgepodge of local construction regulations and codes, the state of New Jersey passed the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code Act on October 7, 1975. The Act became effective on February 3, 1976. All construction codes and their enforcement were now to be controlled by the provisions stated in the act. The New Jersey Uniform Construction Code is comprised of subcodes (model codes and standards) that are adopted individually by the Commissioner of Community Affairs and which are often supplemented or extensively amended by the Uniform Construction Code Regulations (New Jersey Administrative Code [N.J.A.C.] 5:23-1 et seq.) which went into effect on January 1, 1977. The subcodes are the basic "nuts & bolts" manuals on how construction is to be done and are usually published by national technical organizations, e.g. BOCA. Those formulated by the State, such as the Rehabilitation Subcode, often cite other standards (ANSI, NFPA) and even federal regulations, e.g. for manufactured homes, to address specific situations. Patrons must consult N.J.A.C. 5:23-1 et seq. to identify not only the subcode/standard that applies but also the additions, deletions, or exceptions that the State has made to those subcodes/standards.
The N.J.A.C. regulations may change at any time. Newer model subcodes are periodically adopted but the process has become very irregular. The most recently published model code may not yet have been adopted by the State.
Only a large technical library can afford to purchase all the codes and standards cited in the regulations. MCL has retained older codes cited in the DCA list, which can be invaluable information for people with homes built/remodeled in the past.
Local ordinances may affect some construction projects. Examples of these are fences, sewer hookups, swimming pools, etc. Many municipal codes are online. Current editions of local ordinances are also available in municipal offices. Contact your local Construction Official or Building Inspector if you have questions about permits and code.
NJ Municipal Construction Code Officials, roster.
NJ Division of Codes and Standards . Administers the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code and hosts an information packed web page with links useful to property owners, contractors, renters/landlords, childcare centers, schools:
NJ Code Assistance Unit (609) 984-7609: Citizens with questions or problems with local code enforcement should call this number. Though understaffed, they have always been helpful.
As of 2/1/2009, New Jersey has a new State Fire Prevention Code as explained in these linked communiqués, New State Fire Prevention Code adoption and FAQ . Note: the model code is used in conjunction with the Uniform Fire Code found in New Jersey Administrative Code 5:70-3 et seq, which also contains the changes/exceptions made to the Fire Code . The codes are administered by New Jersey Division of Fire Safety (609) 633-6132. Its website links to the 2006 New Jersey Fire Prevention Code (read only, screen print), bulletins and other information.
New Jersey has adopted portions of the National Fire Protection Association Fire Code (NFPA) by reference (see NJAC 5:70-3 et seq ) to supplement the above codes. The free online version is, like the others, read only, screen print only.
Prepared by Frank Soriano, Reference Dept.