ur adoption of the new Minnesota State Building Code and Minnesota State Fire Code has taken longer than expected. Both the State Fire Marshal Division and Building Codes and Standards Division had hoped to have the building and fire codes adopted by July 1, 2002; however, that goal appears now to be out of reach. Tom Brace, the State Fire Marshal, and Tom Joachim, the State Building Official, have issued a joint memo explaining the delay and revised schedule for adoption. Their joint memo is on Page 4 in this issue of the Standard. The Building Codes and Standards Division has received he Minnesota Accessibility Code, Chapter 1341, will not be affected numerous inquiries from design professionals and building officials in the upcoming code adoption about use of the International Codes cycle. Chapter 1341 will continue as an alternate under UBC Section to be inclusive of all requirements regarding accessibility. Any references to 104.2.8. The new code adoption is in accessibility in the International Building Code will be deleted, leaving 1341 as the the rules pipeline and beyond our sole document for accessibility. The division will be reviewing the revised Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines when Customer service 2 they become available later this summer Mechanical codes 3 or early fall. The next revision to 1341 will most likely be based on the revised Energy code 3 ADAAG document.

JULY 2002

New rules adoption expected in early fall
from the

Division OKs new code as alternate as of July 1, with later adjustments


Accessibility Code adoption planned for late next year

BCSD directors

Tom Anderson

Inside . . .
⌂ ⌂ ⌂ ⌂ Calendar

direct control; however, it now appears likely the effective date will be in the fall, probably some time in September or October. With many projects slated for start dates in July, August, and September, the question again arises, can a building official accept submittals to the new proposed codes before final adoption? The division’s position is now Yes. We believe it is reasonable to accept the code as an alternate under UBC Section 104.2.8 provided that: • the proposed amendments to the codes published on our Web site are incorporated into the design and • the designer and owner agree in
From the directors Page 5


Page 5


Customer service is key to effective management of State Building Code
This article is reprinted with permission from Adminutes, the bimonthly publication of the Minnesota Department of Administration, Jim Schwartz, editor.


ostering a culture of topnotch customer service requires reaching out to those constituencies with the greatest stake in state government’s decisions and actions, a truism fully embraced by Admin’s Building Codes and Standards Division (BCSD). BCSD over the years has established close relationships with its many customers, from architects, builders, and engineers to local building officials, cities, counties, and townships, as well as the public. These inclusive relationships are key to the effective management of a dynamic

State Building Code that ensures health and safety and protects considerable financial investments. About every three years, the building code undergoes revisions to reflect new materials and construction methods as well as knowledge gleaned from significant events, such as the earthquake in Northridge, Calif., the MGM Grand Hotel fire in Las Vegas, and, for the future, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. “In actuality, the building code is designed to be more instructive than restrictive,” says Tom Anderson, assistant director at BCSD. “The trick is to open it up so that everyone can have input and consensus can be gained.” This is the thought behind legislation adopted in the 1990s that created the Construction Codes Advisory Council. The law requires selected council members from state and local government, the construction industry, labor, building owners and managers, the fire service, and the inspection profession. BCSD managers have taken the idea a step

These behind-the-scenes people keep the Building Codes and Standards Division operating smoothly: top, from left, Marcia Easton, computer support; Joy Hennessey, front desk administrative assistant; Pat Moore, computer support; and Brenda DaBruzzi, accounting clerk; front row, Henry DaBruzzi, front desk administrative assistant; Jeff Conner, accounting tech; and their boss, business manager Peggi White.

Business Unit Staff


further, establishing nine building code rules advisory committees that are categorized by topic: residential, commercial, mechanical, administrative, conservation, sprinkler systems, elevators, flood-proofing, and structural. “We’re not required to have the committees, but we believe it is very important to bring people with diverse interests together to reach consensus on the building code,” Anderson says. The process has experienced a few growing pains, but BCSD has worked tirelessly on enhancements. Hearing viewpoints from Greater Minnesota is now easier through the use of a teleconferencing system. “We’re also starting on the one piece that has been missing: the consumer,” Anderson adds. Briefly, the process begins with suggestions for changes in the building code, which can be proposed by industry representatives to homeowners and everyone in between. These proposals are then distributed to the respective rules committee. The ad hoc committees are convened as needed, on approximately a three-year cycle. “We identify supporters of the proposal and those with other opinions to seek a win–win situation,” says Anderson. “More significantly, we try to balance the makeup of those groups with members who are favorable, negative, and neutral. I think we have been very successful at that, and we’re actually quite proud of the process because we gain better rules. “It’s an evolutionary process,” Anderson adds. “What one person or group might think would be a great change, someone else may think is ridiculous. Sometimes it is ridiculous and eventually we all see it that way, including the original proponent. “The final proof is when issues come before the legislature and we have overwhelming industry support,” Anderson adds. “Obviously, we must be doing something right.”


Mechanical HVAC guidelines for public code adoption schools developed by state education agency update
Mechanical code matters
he State of Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning (CFL) recently developed commis-sioning guidelines for new heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) installations in public school construction projects. The guidelines are based on M.S. §123B.72, which requires a system inspector to submit information to the building official verifying that the HVAC system has been installed

f you are wondering what the status is regarding the adoption of the International Mechanical Code (IMC) and the International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC), this article is for you. As most of you are aware, the adoption of a new mechanical code is overdue. The 1991 Uniform Mechanical Code is the currently adopted mechanical code in the State of Minnesota. The Mechanical Code Advisory Committee has been meeting for approximately a year and a half and has nearly completed writing the amendments to the 2000 IMC and 2000 IFGC. About 95 percent of the amendments are in final form, with the remaining 5 percent still being revised slightly to accommodate interested parties. The Statement of Need and Reasonableness (SONAR) needs to be completed by division staff after the amendments are complete, and that is expected to take another month or so. One thing different about the adoption of the mechanical code compared with the other codes is that the commissioner has decided to have a scheduled public hearing so that all interested parties may express their viewpoints to the administrative law judge (ALJ). The ALJ will then make final recommendations regarding code adoption and amendments. Because this will delay the rulemaking process, the mechanical code will probably be adopted a couple of months after the other international codes.


correctly and operates in accordance with design specifications before a certificate of occupancy is issued. The requirements are effective July 1, 2002, for all school construction projects in excess of $500,000 involving HVAC systems. For more information, download a copy of the “School Facility Commissioning Guidelines” on the CFL Website at FACILIT/facilit.htm and be sure to look on Pages 18 and 19 for the role of the building official.

You may contact Tim Manz, Building Codes’ mechanical code representative, at (651) 297-4379 (voice), (651) 297-1973 (fax), or (e-mail).

National workshop on state building energy codes in Des Moines this month


or those of you interested in what the rest of the country is doing with their energy codes, consider attending the 2002 National Workshop on State Building Energy Codes in Des Moines, Iowa, from July 15-18. The goal of the workshop is to provide groups involved in the adoption and enforcement of energy codes an opportunity to learn about a wide variety of energy codes and standards related topics. Builders, code officials, utilities, energy advocacy groups, building product suppliers, and others affected by the energy code are just a few examples of attendees that are expected. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about current energy code issues, and

Energy code matters
Des Moines is only 250 miles from Minneapolis/St. Paul. Check out the U.S. Department of Energy website at www.energycodes. gov/news/2002_workshop/index.stm for more information. You may contact Don Sivigny, Building Codes’ seminar coordinator, at (651) 297-3600 (voice), (651) 297-1973 (fax), or (e-mail).


Building official, fire marshal’s memo to state fire and building officials about code adoption
Here is the complete text of the memo sent by the State Building Official and state fire marshal to all fire and building officials in Minnesota regarding this year’s code adoption and alternate code use as of July 1. Background information is provided in this issue’s directors’ column on Page 1.


he 2002 Minnesota Building Code and the 2002 Minnesota Fire Code are well on their way to completion. As the State Fire Marshal and State Building Official, we are committed to working together for safety in the built environment. We are committed to providing the code enforcement community with up-todate building and fire codes they can adopt locally, ensuring that buildings in the communities are safe for all users and emergency responders. We believe these codes must provide the highest level of safety possible while striking a balance with their economic viability. Determining the appropriate level of regulation to protect the public welfare has historically been hotly debated any time building and fire professionals have come together to discuss it. In Minnesota we look to our state advisory committees to make recommendations to us on where to set the bar. Our two state agencies had hoped to have the building and fire codes adopted by July 1, 2002, and our two agencies have worked diligently toward that goal. The new International Codes however, present a significant change from what we all have become accustomed to under the Uniform Building and Uniform Fire codes. Because of the significant change and its impact on our state, we decided it is


prudent to extend the time for acceptance of code change proposals, expand our advisory committees and allow extra time for debate in order to gain consensus on what is best for Minnesota. While this has put us behind in meeting our targeted adoption date, the advisory committees have made solid recommendations, that we believe will serve us well as we transition to the new International Codes. Both the State Fire Marshal Division and the Building Codes and Standards Division have reviewed the advisory committee recommendations and completed the proposed coordinated amendments to the 2002 state building and fire codes. The documents have been submitted to the State Revisor of Statutes to be formatted and placed in the approved form for Minnesota rules. Based on the comments we have received from code officials and the cooperative agreement signed by our two agencies, we are coordinating our adoption with the goal of making both the Minnesota Building and Fire Codes effective on the same date. In addition to the International Building Code, International Residential Code and International Fire Code, we intend to include the Guidelines for Rehabilitation of Existing Buildings and 1306 Special

Building code matters

Fire Protection Systems with this adoption date. Once the rules have been approved by the revisor, we will be coordinating publication and scheduling any necessary hearings jointly in order to meet our goal. With the proposed amendments now in the state rules pipeline, the schedule for adoption is in the hands of others. The rules process, found in statute, requires us to follow a set procedure providing for proper notice to the public and opportunities for additional comments. Although setting a specific date for adoption is beyond our control, we expect the documents to be adopted in Minnesota rule by our two agencies and available for local adoption by early fall 2002. Although it is evident we will not reach our goal of having our new codes available by July 1, 2002, we both agree that the short delay has been worth the results we have seen in the recommendations from our committees. We are confident that history will show that the level of safety our codes afford to the citizens of Minnesota has not moved backward but forward to new streamlined ways to provide the level of building safety they have grown to expect.

Legislative auditor’s best-practices study on preserving older housing stock is under way


he Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor is undertaking a best-practices review on preserving older housing stock. The study will identify characteristics of effective and efficient initiatives to maintain and preserve older housing, including single-family and multi-family units. It will describe successful ideas that other communities might be able to

adopt. An advisory council of local government officials recommended the topic, and the Legislative Audit Commission directed the auditor’s office to conduct the study. While the research will include programs aimed at home improvements and rehabilitation, it will also examine other factors, such as property maintenance codes and local ordinances or zoning provisions that relate to

Continued from Page 1
they understand changes may occur in the rules process and if they do occur they will be incorporated into the design, the design will be resubmitted for approval, and the approved modifications will be incorporated into the finished structure. The above on July 1 will become, by policy, conditions for acceptance of designs to the proposed new code under UBC Section 104.2.8 for all projects reviewed by the Building Codes and Standards Division. We will also be communicating to those contacting this division that we believe it is reasonable for a jurisdiction reviewing plans for which they are responsible to accept plans this way. However, the ultimate decision to accept the new code as an alternate is solely at the discretion of the building official in that jurisdiction. We regret the delay in adoption of the new code. However, we felt it prudent to take extra time

From the directors
for debate of the changes that will occur with adoption of the International Codes. We will continue to work toward a smooth transition to the new codes and hope this policy statement will help in that regard.

Continued from Page 1
Once a final ADAAG is available, the division will begin its review process. A committee will be formed consisting of design professionals, code officials, business representatives, representatives from disability organizations, and other “experts” as needed. It is anticipated that the committee will require several months to go through the new document. From beginning to end, including division review, public notice, comment, and adoption, the process is expected to take a year or more. So don’t expect to see a new accessibility code until fall or winter of 2003.


maintaining housing. The study will focus on initiatives in Minnesota, although it may highlight innovative programs in other states. The study will also look at some of the barriers to preserving housing stock, such as funding, tax policies, or lack of information on maintaining or rehabilitating housing. The Office of the Legislative Auditor will try to measure how much local governments are spending on housing maintenance and rehabilitation and how well spending levels meet demand. Finally, the study will look at the amount of discretion open to local officials who administer housing programs funded with federal or state dollars. During the study, a technical advisory panel of local officials will meet occasionally to provide feedback and advice to the research staff. The panel will bring together different housing interests, including building officials. The final report will highlight best practices in maintaining housing stock and offer contact information for local officials interested in learning more about the practices. The report is scheduled for release in March 2003. In the meantime, you can learn more about the study and its progress at this Web site: www.auditor.leg.state. If you have any questions, e-mail the project’s manager, Jody Hauer, at or call her at (651) 296-8501.





Prsrt Std



Minnesota’s newsletter for the building industry

Permit No. 171 St. Paul, MN

July 16 – St. Paul – BCSD seminar for AIA on IBC amendments. Contact Deanna Christiansen at (612) 3386763. July 17 – Redwood Falls – BCSD seminar on Code Administration Services Unit. Contact Russell Thornberg at (507) 238-9461. July 25 – Duluth – all-day summer outing on IBC amendments, presented by BCSD staff. Contact Keith Willie at (651) 464-3550. August 15 – Maplewood – Lake Country–North Star chapters education seminar on structural and accessibility subjects. Contact Keith Willie at (651) 464-3550. Sept. 4 – Rochester – SMCBFO education. Contact to be announced. Sept. 18 – Redwood Falls – Southwest Chapter of Building Officials education seminar on architecture by Doreen Frost, AIA. Contact Russell Thornberg at (507) 2389461. Sept. 25 – Mankato – State Building Codes and Standards Fall Seminar on topic to be announced. Contact Don Sivigny at (651) 297-3600. Oct. 2 – Maplewood – State Building Codes and Standards Fall Seminar on topic to be announced. Contact Don Sivigny at (651) 297-3600. Oct. 9 – Detroit Lakes – State Building Codes and Standards Fall Seminar on topic to be announced. Contact Don Sivigny at (651) 297-3600. Oct. 16 – Burnsville – Building Codes and Standards Division Fall Seminar on topic to be announced. Contact Don Sivigny at (651) 297-3600. Oct. 17 – Maplewood – North Star– Lake Country chapters’ education seminar on the energy code. Contact Keith Willie at (651) 4643550. Oct. 23 – Duluth – State Building Codes and Standards Fall Seminar on topic to be announced. Contact Don Sivigny at (651) 297-3600.

• • • • • • • Duane Ostrowski – Sauk Centre Jeff Fagerstrom – Kelliher John E. Molin – Crystal Thomas Thompson – Pine Island Donald Rawls – Benson Douglas Morem – Goodhue, Cannon Falls, Bellechester, Zumbrota, Wanamingo, Kenyon, Dennison Wayne Enos – Winthrop Jay Krueger – Eyota Mike A. Johnson – White Bear Township • • •

Congratulations to the state’s recently designated building officials: Richard E. Meyer – North Branch