In This Issue – Click on red text for links to more info. u Investigations Article u State Fair Thanks!

u Q & A: IBC Chapter 29 u Welcome New BOs u Mechanical Bond Update u Email List Thanks! u Display Reservations u What’s New on the Web u News at BCSD



Minnesota’s newsletter for the building industry

Building Code Investigations and the Builder
by Fred Driver, Supervisor, BCSD Code Admin Services, Rules and Information and Charles Durenberger, Investigation Supervisor, Market Assurance Division, Department of Commerce

From time to time questions arise about the relationship
between contractor licensing regulated by the Department of Commerce and the building code regulated by the Building Codes and Standards Division of the Department of Administration. Specifically, how do the agencies work together, what is the process and what can the builder expect when there are construction related complaints by consumers? We thought it would be helpful for builders to better understand the two divisions and who does what. It is also important to preface this discussion by stating, the Department of Commerce (DOC) and the Building Codes and Standards Division of the Department of Administration (BCSD) strive to be neutral and non-biased in the conduct of all investigations and fully understand there may be more than one side to every complaint received. The Code Administration Services section of the Building Codes and Standards Division (BCSD) is in part staffed by five Building Code Representatives, four of which provide services to jurisdictions that have adopted the Minnesota State Building Code. The remaining Building Code Representative, Michael Happ, is assigned to investigate alleged violations of the Building Code for the Market Assurance Division, Minnesota Department of Commerce (DOC). All of the Building Code Representatives are Minnesota certified Building Officials. When a builder applies to a building department for a permit to do construction work, the builder is agreeing to comply with the Building Code for all work described on the permit application, plans, and specifications. Builders subcontracting for work covered by the permit are responsible for insuring that all subcontractors comply with the requirements of the Building Code. Continued on page 2

The State Fair Space Tower, one of the more unusual elevators inspected by state elevator inspectors.


651.296.4639 • FAX: 651.297.1973 • TTY: (1-800) 627.3529 WWW.BUILDINGCODES.ADMIN.STATE.MN.US

Come visit our booth at the AIA Minnesota Convention November 18, 19, and 20th
Minneapolis Convention Center


Building Code Investigations and the Builder continued from page 1
When a consumer hires a licensed contractor to do construction work, the completed work must comply with the Building Code. To do their part, builders must have knowledge and an understanding of the current codes. If work is found to be in noncompliance with the code, the local Building Official will issue a correction order. This works well prior to the final inspection, but what happens when code violations are discovered after the final approvals and a certificate of occupancy has been issued? If the construction is less than three years old from the date of occupancy, the owner should contact the Building Official for the jurisdiction with information of the alleged code violations and request an inspection to verify that a violation exists and if so, the local Building Official will take the appropriate action. The three-year limit is found in Minnesota Statute 16B.69. A violation of the code is a misdemeanor. The statute of limitations for this type of offense is three years, meaning that a Building Official has the responsibility to enforce the code for a period of up to three years after the certificate of occupancy has been issued. If the jurisdiction is reluctant to be involved, or assistance by the BCSD is requested by the jurisdiction, the Building Code Representatives that provide services to jurisdictions will provide assistance. In some cases, DOC will ask the BCSD to investigate the issues and provide a report. If the construction is three years or more old, and a construction defect is found that resulted from a failure to comply with the requirements of the Building Code which was in effect when the construction was done, the DOC is the enforcement authority. If, from the information submitted by the property owner, a violation of the Building Code appears to be the cause of the construction defect, the DOC may make a written request to the BCSD for an investigation. The request will be reviewed by the supervisor for the Code Administration Services section to determine if assistance is warranted. If the information is found to be incomplete, or if a lawsuit is already in progress, the request for investigation will be denied and the file returned to the DOC with a memorandum identifying the reason for non acceptance. The DOC will then determine whether further investigation is warranted or if the file should be closed. When requests are accepted, a letter is sent by the BCSD superivisor to the owner, advising that a file has been opened and the name of the Building Code Representative who will be investigating their violation of the Building Code. Copies of this letter will be sent to the builder, DOC, and the BCSD investigator. The Building Code Representative will contact the owner to schedule an inspection and also contact the Builder and the Building Official as to the time and date of the inspection. When all inspections and reviews have been completed,
continued on page 3

Building Officials:
Reserve the BCSD display units for your upcoming events.


The Buildng Codes and Standards display units are available for use by building officials at events where citizens will be provided code information. In additon to the display, BCSD has a supply of laminated residential and commercial construction photos and examples showing what a code officlal looks for during an inspection. You may also request a small supply of BCSD brochures - decks, roofs, smoke detectors, porches, garages, and emergency escape. You may print this same information from our website in pdf format and add your own municipal information sheets. Cards with our website address are also provided for distribution. To reserve a display call Jane at 651-296-6204,

Building Code Investigations and the Builder
the Building Code Representative will produce a report of findings for the DOC. If the Department of Commerce determines, based on its own investigation or the findings of the Building Code Representative, that a builder has engaged in a violation of law, it may initiate formal administrative disciplinary proceedings that could result in license suspension or revocation and/or fines up to $10,000 per violation. It is important to note that under current law, a Building Code violation in and of itself is not grounds for disciplinary action against a builder’s license. It is when a builder fails to cooperate with a DOC investigation by refusing to correct a violation that their license may be subject to disciplinary action. In some cases, particularly those in which a resolution to the disputed issues may be subject to displinary

continued from page 3

action. In some cases, particularly those in which a resolution to the disputed issues may be able to achieved without the initiation of formal disciplinary proceedings, the DOC may request additional services from the BCSD to facilitate an outcome that is acceptable to all parties. The best way to avoid any of these problems is having a thorough knowledge of all applicable code provisions and monitoring subcontractors to insure their strict compliance with those codes. Remember, as a builder, YOU are responsible for compliance with the Building Code. Please, if you have any further questions or comments, contact: Fred Driver at 651-296-7099, or Charlie Durenberger at 651-297-7044,

Working in an exhibit at the State Fair can be very interesting. However, it can also be very exhausting, especially when temps can top 100°. Our sincere thanks to the many people who helped make this year another success! Please contact us if we have missed anyone - sometimes people cover for each other. Education Building Exhibit: Gary Anderson, bldg. Roger Axel, bldg. Joe Baber, elec. Frank Berg, bldg. Rick Broberg, bldg. Rick Butterfield, elec. Pat Conery, bldg. Duane DeLonais, bldg. David Fisher, bldg. Mike Fricke, bldg. Jim Gangl, elec. John Grieber, bldg. Mike Happ, bldg. Mark Hensen, bldg. Ron Hilk, elec. Scott Holm, bldg. Patti Holmstrom, bldg. Larry Huff, bldg. Rick Hughes, bldg. Dave Jacobson, elec. Dan Jambor, elec. Scott Novotny, elec. Chip Jespersen, elec. Kathy Osmundson, bldg. Mick Kaehler, bldg. Marty Ostrowski, bldg. Randy Kardell, bldg. Dick Owen, elec. Greg Karow, bldg. Maurice Plunkett, bldg. Cari Korstad, elec. Barry Riesch, bldg. Peter Kulczyk, bldg. Ron Ripley, bldg. Rich Lockrem, bldg. Malinda Sampson, elec. Dennis Lockwood, bldg. Denise Sandberg, bldg. Ron Mader, elec. Dave Scherbel, bldg. Tim Manz, bldg. Gina Schulze, bldg. Jim Marka, bldg. Don Sivigny, bldg. Dan Marthaler, bldg. Kim Sparrow, elec. Terry Maruska, bldg. Al Steinbring, bldg. James McNamara, elec. Paul Sunde, elec. John McNeish, bldg. Russell Thornburg, bldg. Bill Mesaros. bldg. Tom Tobias, elec. Tim Miller, elec. Darryl Transgrud, elec. Glen Moreland, bldg. Gordon Wagoner, elec. Dan Moynihan, elec. Pat Weldon, elec. Jim Muyres, bldg. Jim Williamette, bldg. Lyle Nesvold, bldg. Ray Williams, bldg. Fire Safety Day Exhibit: Mike Fricke Gary Anderson Mike Happ Tom Anderson Tom Joachim Nell Bean Dave Krings Jim Bloom Rich Lockrem Rick Breezee Bill Mesaros Rick Davidson Don Sivigny Jim Fallon Connie Fournier

STATE FAIR: 2003 Thank You!

Ron Shilk, City of Minneapolis, electical official and Larry Huff, City of Maple Grove building official with a future builder.


The Answer to Life’s Most Blushing Flushing Questions
Readers.... • Have you been approached lately by someone asking about toilets? • Has someone recently asked you about hanging clothes on a urinal? • Do you know how the code allows you to install a urinal through the use of the MSBC? • Do you know how to calculate required “Potty Parity” under the guise of the new code? • Have you ever pondered the idea of why drinking fountains are necessary in a restaurant? • Do you even know what a service sink is? If you’ve recently been frustrated by any of these questions, or if you have not had someone recently ask you one of these questions, you just haven’t experienced all the delight a toilet room and the new building code can provide. Don’t fret though!! We believe we have an answer to some of these more important “toiletry” types of questions. More importantly, we believe we’ve also solved the question of why flushing toilet water always goes clockwise as it goes down.... send us your best guess. Plan Review’s IBC Chapter 29 Q & A will help anyone having problems understanding some of the plumbing fixture design conditions found in IBC Chapter 29. Check it out...and send your comments via our website Question form.


Congratulations to the recently designated municipal Building Officials: • Loren Kohnen – Clarmont • Bob Hegner – Eureka Township • Ron Wasmund – Ramsey • Al Suchy – Kingston • Armand Eshlemen – Worthington • Don Fischer – Clarksfield • Tim Saari – Vadnais Heights • Cindy Shilts – Landfall Village • Duane Ostrowski – Staples • Clayton Talbot – St. Michaels • Marshall Lind – Grasston

Email Distribution List Update

Thank you to everyone who has responded to our mailing and phone calls requesting email addresses. We now have a comprehensive emailing list which includes most Building Officials. Please spread the word... ask the building officials, municipal contacts, and industry representatives you work with. If they are not currently receiving emails from our office, please have them contact Jane at or 651.296.6204 and provide: - name - email address - company/municipality - phone number

Minnesota State Building Code is now on the website in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

New BCSD Staff

Please join us in welcoming our three newest employees: Alma Kocklin, Business Unit, Accounting Barb Jolly, Code Admin Services, Support Staff Doug Biemborn, Business Unit, Accounting


Although the printed version of the Minnesota State Building Code is the easiest for most building industry officials to work with, we have also created an Adobe Acrobat PDF (portable document file) version for quick reference. Before you can open the pdf file you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. Download this software by clicking Adobe . After Acrobat Reader has been installed, click on MSBC here or in the What’s New section of the BCSD website. Click on the bookmark icon in the tool bar at the top of the screen. A list will appear to the left with page numbers and titles that match the printed version of the Minnesota State Building Code. Added feature: Many of the Helpful Information pages in the first 15 pages of the book include links to websites.

Effective July 1, 2003 mechanical contractors were required to post a mechanical bond with the State of Minnesota. It was a scramble to get this program up and running by the July 1 date because it was initiated late in the legislative session. However, everyone was worked together to quickly. Mike Fricke is your contact for all questions regarding the mechanical bond. Contact him at or 651-205-4802. Behind the scenes, Barb Jolly is responsible for entering the information into a database to generate the certificates that are distributed. However, please direct your questions to Mike and he will forward them to Barb if deemed appropriate. PLEASE BE CAREFUL in filling out the form. We don’t want your bond processing to be delayed due to missing items! Items that are most frequently missed are:  Page 1 filled out completely including all signatures and insurance company seal (embossed or stick on).  Page 2 with the appropriate Business Acknowledgement and Surety Acknowledgement with all signatures and notarized

Mechanical Bond Notes

 Valid Power of Attorney attached, dated, and signed.  Check for $15 fee, payable to the Minnesota State Treasurer. Once approved, bonds are posted in the BOND LIST on our website. www.buildingcodes.admi It is the first item under What‘s New. Questions most frequently asked: Q: Must the bond be renewed every year? A: The bond is initially set up as a continuous bond through your insurer. A filing fee will paid annually to the State of Minnesota, mailed to the Building Codes and Standards Division (BCSD) with verification of insurance. Renewal notices will be sent out by BCSD to bond holders prior to renewal deadline. Q: I already have a bond for my plumbing license, is that good enough? A: No. both bonds are different. The plumbing bond is for compliance with the state plumbing code and the mechcanical bond is for compliance with the mechanical code.

Check the What’s New section of our website regularily for the most recent postings:
Current notices in What’s New: u Minnesota State Building Code in PDF format. u Accessibility requirements for Group I and R Occupancies u Adoption of Fee Schedule by Ordinance u What is Appealable by a Board of Appeals u Explanation of the Agricuture Building Exception to the State Building Code u Hearning Notice related to Chapter 1346 2000 IMC and IFGC u Adopted Minnesota Plumbing Code

BCSD staff are always On the Move...
Although BCSD staff are continuously involved with inspections and seminars, they are also asked to participate as presenters at special events such as... Randy Vogt, 651-296-9927 Minnesota Rural Summit 03, Mankato “I Bought a What?” Program to explain how to identify manufactured homes from modular/prefabrication buildings. The presentation included a review of federal and state laws and rules, as well as advantages of the units over site-built. Randy also participated in the NFPA meetings. He is on the Technical Committee on Fire Safety for Manufactured Homes. Curt Wiehle, 651-296-4633 Curt was invited to make a presentation at a U of M Interior Design class.