Attorney General: Honorable Bernard R. Sullivan, Commissioner, Department of Public Safety , 1990-026 Formal Opinion, Attorney General of Connecticut

Attorney General's Opinion

Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal

July 24, 1990

Honorable Bernard R. Sullivan
Commissioner
Department of Public Safety
100 Washington Street
Hartford, Connecticut 06106

Dear Commissioner Sullivan:

In a letter to our office from your predecessor, our advice is requested on the authority of the codes and standards committee to review the actions of the state building inspector taken pursuant to General Statutes e 29-200. Our advice is sought on the following question:

Does the Codes and Standards Committee have jurisdiction to hear an appeal of the decision of the State Building Inspector when that official is acting pursuant to Chapter 538, Section 29-200 of the Connecticut General Statutes?

Our analysis of the relationship between Conn. Gen. Stat.

e 29-200 and the duties of the Codes and Standards Committee under Conn. Gen. Stat.

e 29-251 indicates that the answer to your question is no.

Conn. Gen. Stat.

e 29-200 as amended by 1989 Public Acts No. 89-144 provides as follows:

The commissioner of public safety shall adopt regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 concerning the installation, operation, maintenance and use of inclined stairway chairlifts and vertical wheelchair or incline lifts. Such lifts may be installed (1) in buildings principally used for meeting, gathering or assembling by civic, religious, fraternal or charitable organization, (2) in residential buildings designed to be occupied by one or two families, and (3) in other buildings and structures only if the executive director of the office of protection and advocacy for persons with disabilities and the state building inspector jointly approve such installation. In adopting such regulations, the commissioner may adopt by reference standards concerning inclined stairway chairlifts and vertical wheelchair or incline lifts set forth by the American National Standards Institute.

A review of Conn. Gen. Stat.

e 29-200 clearly indicates that it was enacted to permit the installation, operation, maintenance and use of inclined stairway chairlifts and vertical wheelchair or incline lifts in certain specified buildings. Moreover, Section 29-200 permits the installation of such devices in other buildings or structures only upon the joint approval of the state building inspector and the director of the office of protection and advocacy for persons with disabilities. Thus, it appears that Section 29-200 is primarily concerned with the type of building or structure in which such devices may be installed. The authority to make that determination rests with the state building inspector and director of the office of protection and advocacy for persons with disabilities.

The codes and standards committee is responsible, along with the state building inspector, for the enforcement of part Ia of Chapter 541 and, along with the state fire marshal, for the enforcement of part II of Chapter 541 of the General Statutes. Conn. Gen. Stat.

e  29-251. The codes and standards committee's statutory authority does not extend to the provisions of Chapter 538 of the General Statutes in which Conn. Gen. Stat.

e 29-200 is found.

Conn. Gen. Stat.

e 29-269 authorizes the codes and standards committee to review decisions of the state building inspector and director of the office of protection and advocacy for persons with disabilities, as they relate to variations or exemptions from the handicap accessibility provisions of the state building code contained in that section. Conn. Gen. Stat.

e 29-200 does not contain any provision for review of a decision made thereunder.

All three statutes, Sections 29-200, 29-251 and 29-269, were amended as recently as l989. The legislature, however, saw fit not to extend the authority of the codes and standards committee under Sections 29-251 and 29-269 to review a decision made by the state building inspector and the director of the office of protection and advocacy for persons with disabilities under Section 29-200.

It must be presumed that the legislature did not intend to have the appeal provision of Conn. Gen. Stat.

e 29-269 apply to a decision made pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat.

e 29-200, or it would have so stated. A provision not encompassed within a statute cannot be added through statutory construction. State v. Whiteman, 204 Conn. 98, 103, 526 A.2d 869 (1987). Thus, the codes and standards committee cannot review a matter over which it has no authority. Cf. State ex rel. Gold v. Usher, 138 Conn. 323, 325, 84 A.2d 276 (1951).

We do note, however, that once the approval is granted to permit the installation of such a device in a particular building or structure, said installation must be in compliance with the applicable provisions of the Connecticut Basic Building Code and Fire Safety Code. Regs. Conn. State Agencies

e 29-200-7. Thus, while the codes and standards committee may not decide in which building or structure inclined stairway chairlifts and vertical wheelchair or incline lifts may be installed, it does have jurisdiction over the actual installation by virtue of the Connecticut Basic Building Code and Fire Safety Code.

Very truly yours,

CLARINE NARDI RIDDLE
ATTORNEY GENERAL

Henri Alexandre
Assistant Attorney General

CNR/HA/ec


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