Regulatory Affairs Update: Advocating Affordability To State Regulators

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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.

  • Energy Code: Discussion on the energy code for residential construction has centered around whether the state will adopt a new energy code or reaffirm the current energy code. The group will discuss the options at its Feb. 2, meeting before making an official recommendation.
  • Residential Building Code: The Residential Building Code TAG began working through the 2018 International Residential Code at its Jan. 24, meeting and will continue working where it left off at its Feb. 9, meeting.
  • Structural Building Code: At its Jan. 24 meeting, the Structural Building Code TAG reviewed the International Existing Building Code (IEBC) and International Building Code (IBC). The TAG hopes to finalize the structural portions of the IEBC at its Feb. 7, meeting before moving onto the new IBC.
  • Code Administration: Members of the Administration TAG reviewed ICC Chapter 1 at their Jan. 26, meeting and will finish reviewing proposed definition and code changes and well as finalize its recommendations at the Feb. 23, meeting.

The work for these TAGs, as well as for the state’s accessibility code, commercial building code, elevator code, existing building code, fire code, and the mechanical and fuel gas code will continue for the next several weeks. New draft building codes will be prepared this summer and the new codes will work their way through the rulemaking process before taking effect in March 2020.

In addition to the Department of Labor & Industry’s TAG meetings, Governor Dayton’s Housing Affordability Task Force has been meeting to discuss the high cost of housing in the state. Nick Erickson, regulatory affairs manager for Housing First Minnesota testified on behalf of Minnesota’s housing industry at the Tuesday, January 23, home ownership workgroup meeting. “Task force members suggested regulatory reform, similar to Housing First Minnesota’s regulatory reform bill, as a possible solution to lowering housing costs,” said Erickson. Housing First Minnesota has played an active role in task force meetings, including providing research and statistics to the task force.