Advocating For Affordability

The process to update Minnesota's building codes is already underway. The Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry formed its Technical Advisory Groups (TAG) in 2017 and these 10 groups of industry experts and Labor & Industry staff spent three months reviewing changes from the 2015 and 2018 model codes as well as proposed changes from TAG members and industry groups.

TAG reports were released on May 15, 2018, and were reviewed and discussed at the Construction Codes Advisory Council at its June 21, 2018 meeting. The Council, after the review of TAG reports, will forward the reports and any feedback to its list of affected stakeholders. Informational hearings will be held before the first official review and comment period on the state’s new building code begins. Labor & Industry's Commissioner will then be presented the Council's final recommended new building codes before the final public comment period begins.

The Department of Labor & Industry is awaiting a Federal review of the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (energy code) before the Comissioner will make a determination on the direction of 

Housing First Minnesota has been at the forefront of discussions throughout the code update process, advocating for safety, durability and affordability. Input and participation from the housing industry will be vital to ensuring affordability, safety and durability are considered in a balanced way. Become a Housing First Minnesota Advocate and play an active role in updating Minnesota's building codes.

Minnesota Building Code Changes 

Residential Building Code

The Residential Building Code TAG recommended the 2018 IRC be adopted, with six amendments. These amendments include language for tiny homes (400 sq ft or less), exempt dwellings undergoing alteration and repair from the requirement to install interconnected battery-powered smoke alarms, interconnected hard-wired smoke alarms or hard-wired smoke alarms unless the interior walls of ceilings are removed, clarification and changes to the 5,000 psi concrete requirement, and  eliminate the prescriptive requirements for cantilevered foundation walls up to seven feet tall and retaining up to seven feet of unbalanced fill.

Quarter 1 2018 Regulatory Update

Nick Erickson, Housing First Minnesota's Regulatory Affairs Manager, provides an update on the TAG meetings.

Building Energy Code

The adoption of the current Energy Code was one of caused new home prices to rise at least $7,000. In March 2018, Housing First Minnesota recommended the state not adopt a new, more expensive Energy Code and instead allow the housing industry to develop a performance path alternative to the Energy Code that reduced the upfront cost to new-home buyers while maintaining or increasing energy efficiency. A new Residential Energy Code was the only code reviewed that the TAGs did not recommend be adopted. 

A final determination of the need of a new Minnesota Residential Energy Code will be made later in 2018 following a Federal review of the model residential energy code.

Building Code Administration

The administration section of Minnesota's Building Code deals . No changes affecting redisential constructions were recommended for the next buiding code. 

Structural Building Code

Recommendations from the Structural Building Code TAG were found in in the reports for the apporiate building code chapter. 

Thanks to our members’ support of Housing First Minnesota’s advocacy program, we have reshaped how regulators view our industry, giving Minnesota’s housing industry a stronger voice during the code process.
— David Siegel, Executive Director, Housing First Minnesota