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. In all, 10 TAGs have been formed to look at changes to Existing Building Code, Building Code Administration, Commercial Building Code, Elevator Code, Energy Code, Existing Building Code, Fire Code Compatibility, Mechanical and Fuel Gas Code, Structural and the Residential Building Code.

One the TAGs complete their work, they will issue a series of recommendations tot eh state’s Construction Codes Advisory Council, which will submit its own findings to the Department of Labor and Industry Commissioner, before the proposal final proposed codes are published. The new codes are expected to take effect in March 2020.

In addition to the kickoff meeting on Jan. 12, Commercial Building Code, Existing Building Code, Building and Fire Code Compatibility and the Energy Code TAGs meet this week.

“It’s been a busy and productive first week of meetings,” said Nick Erickson, regulatory affairs manager for Housing First Minnesota, who is attending TAG meetings on behalf of Minnesota’s housing industry. “One thing is clear: our message of increased affordability for all Minnesotans is resonating.”

Next week, the Commercial and Existing Building Code TAGs hold their second meetings and the Residential Building Code, Structural Building Code and Code Administration TAGs hold their first meetings. DLI has a full calendar of meetings available on its website.

In addition to the TAG meetings, the state’s Plumbing Board held several meetings on Tuesday and discussed the topic of plumbing code enforcement in non-code-enforced areas and the consistency of inspection quality across the state. Debate of this topic drifted into a broader discussion of residential building inspections in non-code-enforced areas. The topic was tabled and the Board wanted its Inspection Uniformity Committee to discuss the matter before the Plumbing Board takes up the matter at its next meeting.