Advocating Affordability For Minnesota's Building Codes

The Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry’s Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs) reviewing changes to the state’s building codes have just wrapped up their fifth week of work. Housing First Minnesota members and staff have been present at meetings, advocating increased housing affordability as Minnesota’s affordability crisis grows.

“Our message of affordability is clearly resonating,” said Nick Erickson, regulatory affairs manager for Housing First Minnesota. Erickson, along with Housing Frist Minnesota’s four TAG members, have been present at the Energy Code, Residential Building Code, Structural Code and Code Administration TAGs meetings, advocating for increased home affordability at the state reviews which code provisions to adopt.

Despite the added focus on home affordability, several important affordability issues have already risen during the first weeks of meetings:

  • Energy Code: The State of Minnesota is currently assessing whether or not a new residential energy code is needed. A new energy code would demand a five to six increase in efficiency, on top of the 30 percent increase in the current energy code. On Feb. 2, Housing First Minnesota presented the Department of Labor & Industry with a third option: Amend Minnesota’s current residential energy code to reduce costly provisions this year, then reaffirm the amended code when the state adopts the new building codes at the end.  
     
  • Building Code: At the Feb. 9 meeting of the Residential Building Code TAG, the sprinkler lobby announced it will seek to adopt the costly sprinkler mandate in Minnesota. After the BATC. V. DLI court ruling removing the past sprinkler mandate, and legislation affirming the court’s decision last year, the Department has not expressed interest in mandating sprinklers in single-family and two-family homes.

Housing First Minnesota will work with TAG members and Labor & Industry staff to keep affordability front-of-mind during the code update process.

Once the TAGs complete their work, changes to the various codes will be passed along to the Minnesota Construction Code Advisory Council, which will prepare recommendations for the Commissioner of Labor & industry. Minnesota’s new building codes, after working though he state’s rulemaking process, will go into effect March 2020.

Regulatory Affairs Update: Advocating Affordability To State Regulators

Regulatory Affairs Update: Advocating Affordability To State Regulators

For the past two weeks, members of the Department of Labor & Industry’s Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs) have been meeting to discuss changes to Minnesota’s building codes. Representatives from the residential construction industry serve on the TAGs for Minnesota’s Residential Building Code, Structural Building Code, Energy Code and Building Code Administration.

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State Completes Busy First Week of Code Change Process

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Several dozen industry experts including, building officials, residential and commercial builders, lobbyists fire marshal and state regulators met at the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) last Friday for the first meeting of the state’s Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs). Members of the TAGs have begun to review the recent code changes and are examining whether Minnesota should adopt these provisions.

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Housing First Minnesota Meets with Mayor Giuliani Stephens

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In less than eleven months Minnesota will elect a new governor. Current Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens (R), who is running to hold that seat, met with Housing First Minnesota leadership on Wednesday to discuss a variety of housing issues and her campaign to be Minnesota's next governor. 

Among the many topics discussed were Minnesota's regulatory environment, the construction workforce shortage, and the role of the Metropolitan Council.

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Join Us! Housing Industry Headed to St. Paul

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Housing Day at the Capitol is one of the largest gatherings at the Minnesota Capitol with more than 600 attendees. Home builders, remodelers, Realtors and other housing industry advocates from throughout Minnesota will descend upon the State Capitol in St. Paul on March 14.

Housing Day at the Capitol is an incredible opportunity for both sides of the real estate profession — construction and sales — to come together to educate legislators with one voice. When it comes to being ‘housing market experts’, who better to talk to than builders and realtors.
— Tracie Fogelson, president of the Minnesota Association of Realtors/Realtor Broker with Rochester Coldwell Banker.
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Remodel Changes Lives in St. Michael

Remodel Changes Lives in St. Michael

The BATC Foundation proudly showed off its latest project in October with a moving ribbon cutting ceremony. Working with the St. Michael Foundation and build partner Minnesota Design and Construction Inc., the BATC Foundation expanded and remodeled a group home in St. Michael for four young men with special needs.

Chief among the improvements was a new kitchen, where these residents like to gather at the new center island, cook together or enjoy a meal at the dining room table. The BATC Foundation’s addition included a large deck and new flooring throughout much of the home.

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Addressing the State’s Workforce Challenges

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The construction industry represents one of the largest growing segments of the Minnesota economy. One of the biggest obstacles that is standing in its way is a serious workforce shortage.

Rep. Barb Haley has an extensive background in addressing workforce challenges. She currently sits on the Education Innovation Policy and Higher Education and Career Readiness Policy and Finance committees in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

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