Housing First Minnesota Leads In Providing Industry Input On Building Code Report

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Following the June 26 meeting of the Construction Codes Advisory Council (CCAC), the Department of Labor & Industry (DLI) released a report that included comments and concerns made voiced by the CCAC members regarding the initial technical review of model code changes earlier this year. The report also included comments submitted by organizations following the release of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Reports in mid-May.

Of the ten organizations either submitting comments or co-signing letters, Housing First Minnesota’s comments stood out for several reasons. In a memo submitted by Housing First Minnesota’s Regulatory Affairs Manager, the organization outlined its longtime goal of housing affordability being given equal consideration to energy efficiency, safety and durability. Housing First Minnesota was also the only group to submit comments on a multiple TAG reports and to call for not adopting the 2018 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for residential construction.

The comments submitted by Housing First Minnesota, both in May and during the technical review during the first quarter of 2018, were cited throughout the June 26 CCAC report. Housing First Minnesota was the only housing industry group to issue comments between May 15 and June 4.  

Residential Energy Code Dominated Comments

With the exception of the comments submitted by Housing First Minnesota, almost all the comments received from by DLI were from organizations seeking a costlier residential energy code, including special interest groups whose members profit from mandates included in the 2018 IECC:

·         Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance

·         Fresh Energy

·         American Chemistry Council’s Foam Shething Committee

·         American Institute of Architects - Minnesota

·         U.S. Green Building Council - Minnesota  

·         The Energy Conservatory

·         The Minnesota Building Performance Association

·         Wagner Zaun Architecture, Inc.

The Responsible Energy Code Alliance also submitted comments, which were limited to the commercial sections of the 2018 IECC.

Next Steps

A decision by DLI on whether to adopt the 2018 IECC for residential construction has been delayed until the U.S. Department of Energy issues its analysis of the IECC later this year. DLI staff will soon begin the process of preparing the draft 2018 Minnesota Building Codes based off the TAG reports and CCAC comments.

The 2018 Minnesota Building Codes are set to take effect in March 2020 and Housing First Minnesota will continue to play an active role in the development of the new codes.