Housing Related Regulation Changes in the Works for 2017

This year is shaping up to be a full of regulatory changes and code updates for Minnesota’s housing industry.

2018 Construction Stormwater Permit

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is in the process of drafting the 2018 construction stormwater permit. Minnesota’s current permit, adopted in August 2013, is required when any construction or development activity disturbs more than one acre of soil or if the MPCA determines that the activity poses a risk to water resources.

MPCA is currently meeting with interested parties, including environmental groups, local government entities, state agencies and representatives from the road construction, commercial construction and residential construction entities. Industry groups, including the Builders Association of the Twin Cities, have already provided verbal comments and written recommendations to the MPCA.

Few changes related to new home construction and development are expected for the 2018 permit. The draft 2018 permit will be made available for public comment in the coming months and MPCA aims to adopt the final 2018 permit before the end of the year. Once adopted, the 2018 permit will immediately replace the current Permit.

Building Codes Updates

On May 2, Gov. Dayton signed legislation requiring the Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) to immediately move to remove the sprinkler mandate from twin homes. Along with the legislation, a stay was issued stating that effective May 2, twin homes are no longer required to be built with fire sprinklers.

Following the signing of the legislation, DLI drafted a modification to Minnesota Rule 1309.0313 which outlines sprinkler requirements in the state’s building code. The modified rule went into effect on Monday, June 5, and brings a technical fix to the BATC v. DLI case, which said sprinklers cannot be required in most single-family and two-family homes.

The 2017 National Electric Code was adopted by the state’s Board of Electricity earlier this year. No major housing-related changes were included in the 2017 National Electric Code, which goes into effect on July 1.

Looking Ahead

The International Code Council will release its updated guide to the International Building, Energy and Mechanical Engineering codes in September. DLI has indicated it will hold meetings of its technical advisory groups later this year to begin the work of preparing Minnesota’s new codes for adoption in 2019.

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