The following opinion is presented on-line for informational use only and does not replace the official version. (Mich. Dept. of Attorney General Web Site - http://www.ag.state.mi.us)
STATE OF MICHIGAN
BILL SCHUETTE, ATTORNEY GENERAL
BUILDING OFFICIALS AND INSPECTORS REGISTRATION ACT:
Waiver of fees for honorably discharged veterans under Building Officials and Inspectors Registration Act.
Public Act 314 of 2012, which amended the Building Officials and Inspectors Registration Act, MCL 338.2301 et seq., requires the State Construction Code Commission to waive fees for building officials, plan reviewers, and inspectors, including building inspectors, who are honorably discharged veterans.
Opinion No. 7277
March 20, 2014
Honorable George T. Darany
You have asked whether the waiver of fees for honorably discharged veterans in 2012 PA 314 extends to building inspectors.
The Building Officials and Inspectors Registration Act (Act), MCL 338.2301 et seq., created the Buildings Officials Advisory Board to assist the State Construction Code Commission in establishing standards and criteria for the training and qualifications of building officials. MCL 338.2303(1). Subsection 6(1), MCL 338.2306(1), also instituted an application and registration requirement for “a building official, plan reviewer, or inspector,” and required payment of the “fee prescribed” in section 13, MCL 338.2313. Subsection 13(1), MCL 338.2313(1), provides that the State Construction Code Commission “shall charge fees for registration of building officials, inspectors, and plan reviewers and for the examination and evaluation of training and educational programs and courses.”
In 2012, the Legislature amended a number of statutes to include fee-waiver provisions for honorably discharged veterans. See 2012 PA 309 (Nonprofit Corporation Act); 2012 PA 310 (Michigan Limited Liability Company Act); 2012 PA 311 (State Plumbing Act); 2012 PA 312 (Forbes Mechanical Contractors Act); and 2012 PA 313 (Electrical Administrative Act). The Legislature similarly amended the Building Officials and Inspectors Registration Act in 2012 PA 314, requiring the State Construction Code Commission to waive fees upon proof that an applicant is an honorably discharged veteran:
(1) The commission shall charge fees for registration of building officials, inspectors, and plan reviewers and for the examination and evaluation of training and educational programs and courses.
(2) An applicant for registration shall pay the following applicable registration fee to the commission for each year the registration covers:
(a) If paid after September 30, 2015, $10.00.
(b) If paid on or before September 30, 2015, $25.00.
(5) The commission shall waive any fee otherwise required under this section if the individual responsible for paying the fee is, and provides proof satisfactory to the commission that he or she is, an honorably discharged veteran of the armed forces of the United States. [MCL 338.2313(1), (2) and (5); emphasis added.]
As a result of the enactment of 2012 PA 314, the Commission is required to waive fees for “building officials, inspectors, and plan reviewers” who provide proof that they are honorably discharged veterans.
You ask whether the fee waiver applies to a “building inspector.” Relevant to your question, the Act refers to and defines “building official,” “plan reviewer,” and “inspector,” but it does not utilize or define the term, “building inspector.”
The Act defines the term “inspector” to mean “the person responsible for the administration and enforcement of the construction of buildings, structures, or appurtenances under the requirements of the code.” MCL 338.2302(l). The word “code” referred to in the definition of “inspector” means “that term as defined in section 2a of the Stille-DeRossett-Hale single state construction code act, 1972 PA 230, MCL 125.1502a.” MCL 338.2302(e). The State Construction Code provides that the code shall consist of “rules governing the construction, use, and occupation of buildings and structures.” MCL 125.1504(1). And that the code “shall be divided into sections . . . including . . . building, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical sections.” MCL 125.1504(4).
The Michigan Building Code is promulgated in 2013 AACS, R 408.30401 through 408.30499. Rule 408.30401 specifies the applicable code and adopts by reference certain provisions of the International Building Code, 2009 edition and the International Residential Code, 2009 edition. The Michigan Building Code defines the term “[b]uilding inspector” to mean “the person who is appointed and employed by a governmental subdivision, who is charged with the administration and enforcement of the state codes specified in R 408.30499, and who is registered in compliance with 1986 PA 54,” the Building Officials and Inspectors Registration Act. R 408.30415a.
Rule 408.30499 amended Chapter 35 of the Code adopted in R 408.30401 to add the following referenced codes: Michigan Electrical Code, R 408.30801 to R 408.30880; the Michigan Mechanical Code, R 408.30901 to R 408.30998a; the Michigan Plumbing Code, R 408.30701 to R 408.30796; the Michigan Uniform Energy Code, R 408.31061 to R 408.31099; the Michigan Elevator Code, R 408.7001 to R 408.8695; and the Michigan Boiler Code, R 408.4001 to R 408.5507. A “building inspector” is thus the registered employee or appointee of a governmental subdivision who administers and enforces these codes within the jurisdiction of the governmental subdivision.
The administrative rules adopted by the State Construction Code Commission with respect to the Building Officials and Inspectors Registration Act are consistent with the Michigan Building Code. These rules describe various categories or subsets of “inspectors” subject to the Act – building, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing. 2013 AACS, R 408.30031 to 408.30046. And Rule 408.30037 expressly provides, in detail, for the experience and qualifications an individual must have to register under the Act as a “building inspector.”
In light of the statutory language and these rules, it is plain that the term “inspector” as used in that Act includes persons registered as, and appointed by a governmental unit as, a “building inspector.” Because a building inspector falls within the definition of “inspector,” a building inspector may qualify for the fee waiver set forth in subsection 13(5), MCL 338.2313(5). Accordingly, as amended, the Act exempts building inspectors who are honorably discharged veterans from the fees applicable to inspectors.
It is my opinion, therefore, that 2012 PA 314, which amended the Building Officials and Inspectors Registration Act, MCL 338.2301 et seq., requires the State Construction Code Commission to waive fees for building officials, plan reviewers, and inspectors, including building inspectors, who are honorably discharged veterans.
 The State Construction Code Commission is provided for in section 3a of the Stille-DeRossett-Hale Single State Construction Code Act, 1972 PA 230, MCL 125.1503a.
 In 2008 the Legislature amended the Act, specifically subsection 13(1)(a) and (b), MCL 338.2313(1)(a) and (b), to add a sunset provision regarding the fee requirement until September 2012. See 2008 PA 373. 2012 PA 314 amended subsection 13(1)(a) and (b) to extend the fee sunset until September 2015.
 The Act defines “building official” as “a construction code enforcement person working as an inspector, or plan reviewer, or actively engaged in the administration and enforcement of adopted building, electrical, mechanical, or plumbing codes, or any combination of these codes.” MCL 338.2302(d). A “plan reviewer” is “a person engaged in the practice of examining construction documents for the purpose of determining compliance with applicable codes.” MCL 338.2302(n).
 Under the State Construction Code, the State is responsible for enforcing the various construction codes unless a governmental subdivision assumes responsibility for doing so within its jurisdiction by adopting an ordinance. MCL 125.1508b. If the governmental subdivision assumes the responsibility of enforcing the codes, the State Construction Code then considers the “enforcing agency” to be “any official or agent of a governmental subdivision that is registered under the” Building Officials and Inspectors Registration Act. MCL 125.1508b(3). The governmental subdivision’s licensed officials are thereafter responsible for enforcing the various requirements of the code, including the requirement that buildings or structures be periodically inspected. MCL 125.1512.