MAY 2006 Governor Tim Pawlenty proclaimed May 7-13, 2006, as Building Safety Week in Minnesota. This year’s theme, Building a Safer World Together, is reflected in the formation of the Construction Codes and Licensing Division (CCLD) which brought Minnesota construction code entities together under one roof at the Department of Labor and Industry.

building codes and standards Construction Codes and Licensing Division

2006 Building Safety Week — working together for a safer world

May 2006 is the one-year anniversary of the implementation Back row: Michael Campion, commissioner, Department of Public Safety; Jerry of CCLD, one of the first Drive Rosendahl, State Fire Marshal; Tom Brace, executive director; Minnesota State to Excellence projects to be Fire Chief’s Association. Front row: Scott Brener, commissioner, Department completed. Read the entire of Labor and Industry; Tom Joachim, CCLD executive director, Department of Labor and Industry; Cecy Lukoskie, president, Minnesota Building Permit proclamation text on page 2.
Technicians Association.

Building safety includes safe worksites for workers and inspectors
Inspection personnel frequently encounter the need to enter an excavation in order make an inspection of utility piping, footings, foundation drains, water proofing and foundations. Sometimes these excavations are in improperly shored and unsafe to enter. Minnesota OSHA reports excavation and trenching are among the most hazardous of construction operations. In 2005, Minnesota OSHA investigated four accidents involving excavation work that resulted in death or serious injury. The requirement that employees in an excavation “be protected from cave-ins by an adequate protective system,” 1926.652(a)(1), was among the top 10 most cited standards in the construction industry during 2005.
Above: Employees working in an excavation moments before a cave-in. Below: The same excavation after the cave-in. The employees evacuated the trench prior to the mud slide. No one was hurt.
443 Lafayette Road Page Paul, MNStandard •• • Phone: Department · Fax: (651) and Industry(651) 297-4198 N. · St. • The 55155-4341 MAY 2006 • Minnesota (651) 284-5068 of Labor 284-5749 · TTY:

Building Safety Week Proclamation May 7 — 13, 2006
WHEREAS: The safety of the buildings we occupy daily is essential to our health, safety, and welfare; and WHEREAS: The laws and ordinances that provide standards for the safe construction of buildings in which people live, work, and play are critically important; and WHEREAS: It often goes unnoticed that building safety affects many aspects of our daily lives, and because of building safety code enforcement, we enjoy the comfort of structures that are safe and sound; and WHEREAS: For construction and building codes to be effective and enforceable, understanding and cooperation must exist between code officials and the people they serve; and WHEREAS: Through the efforts of code officials and their cooperative relationship with the construction industry, the administration of these health and lifesafety standards is ensured; and WHEREAS: Building Safety Week is an opportunity to educate the public and increase awareness of the lifesafety services provided by local and state building departments; and WHEREAS: In partnership with dedicated building safety and fire officials, architects, engineers, and the construction industry, codes are developed and administered that safeguard us in our homes, schools, and workplaces; and WHEREAS: The theme of Building Safety Week 2006, “Building a Safer World Together,” encourages all Minnesotans to raise our awareness of building safety, and to take appropriate steps to ensure that the places where we live, work, play, and learn are safe; and WHEREAS: Countless lives have been saved because of the building safety codes adopted and administered by building safety and fire prevention officials in government agencies.

Congratulations to the state’s recently designated municipal Building Officials: • Jerritt W. Mohn City of Chanhassen • Guy T. Sharpe City of International Falls • Michael Jacobson City of Benson • Lyle Nesvold City of Rothsay • Scott Qualle City of St. Bonifacius City of Glencoe City of Green Isle City of Hamburg City of Kimball City of Lester Prairie City of Mayer City of Minnetrista City of Mound City of New Germany City of Norwood City of Plato City of Silver Lake City South Haven City of Watertown City of Watkins The current Building Official list is online at buildingcodes.html. If a change is needed to the list, please contact Peggi White at The Designation of Vacancy of Certified Building Official form is online at local_government_designation_of_ certified_building_official.html.

Calendar May • 2006

Page 2 • The Standard • MAY 2006 • Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry


Construction codes questions and answers
A follow up to April 2006 window well code question
CCLD received many phone calls and e-mails regarding the April 2006 code answer regarding window wells. The majority of callers made the comment that in the handout published by the International Code Council (ICC) there is a drawing that shows the 36 inch by 36 inch minimum dimension being measured from the opened casement window, and this would seem to contradict CCLD’s opinion in the last newsletter. CCLD had contacted the ICC a while back regarding that drawing and the ICC acknowledged that the drawing incorrectly shows the measurement being taken from the window. They also indicated in the next edition of the Handbook that it would be corrected.


Questions regarding home/garage fire separation issue
Question: What fire separation is required between a Question: How is the gypsum fastened to the framing residential dwelling (house) and its attached garage? members? Answer: Reference 2000 International Residential Code (IRC) section R309.2, “Separation required. The garage shall be separated from the residence and its attic area by not less than ½ inch gypsum board applied to the garage side.” Answer Refer to 2000 IRC Table R702.3.5, “Minimum Thickness and Application of Gypsum Board.” The answer is based on the type of fastener, spacing of fasteners, spacing of framing members, orientation of gypsum board to framing and thickness of gypsum board.

Question: What is the fire rating of ½ inch regular gypsum board? Question: If the fire separation extends onto the ceiling of the garage, are the exterior garage walls required to be Answer: 15 minutes. covered with the same ½ inch gypsum board (those walls Question: Does this ½ inch gypsum board need to that are not part of the house/garage common wall)? extend into the soffit area? Answer: Yes. “Where the separation is a floor/ceiling assembly, the structure supporting the separation shall also be protected by not less than ½ inch gypsum Question: Are the joints between the sheets of the board or equivalent.” ½ inch gypsum board required to be treated (joints filled/taped)? Question: Would the exterior stud wall below the gableAnswer: Not by the IRC, but the State Energy Code end of a garage with parallel-framed garage roof trusses needs to be referred to. (More info in other answers.) be considered to be part of the “structure supporting the separation” for the purposes of determining the Question: Would the State of Minnesota Energy Code location of the ½ inch gypsum board.” require the joints between the sheets of gypsum board to Answer: Yes. The gypsum board on the garage be treated (joints filled/taped) related to air movement? ceiling is most likely nailed to a 2 x 4 or 2 x 6 plate Answer: If the joints were attached to framing members, no additional treatment is required. If the joints do not fall on framing members, the Energy Code would require the joints to be sealed airtight, or, a house sheathing paper could be used to serve this purpose without joint treatment. resting on top of the 2 x 4 garage wall that acts as a gypsum board backer. If this gable end garage wall fails in a fire, then the gypsum board on the ceiling would be pulled down, thus comprising the integrity of the fire separation.
continued on page 4


Page  • The Standard • MAY 2006 • Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry





Questions regarding home/garage fire separation issue
Construction codes questions and answers continued from page 3

Question: Does the code refer to a minimum or maximum Question: Can this fire door contain glazing? joint space between the sheets of gypsum board? Answer: Yes, with specific conditions prescribed by Answer: No, but you should refer to the manufacturer the code. for any other recommendations. In IRC section R309.1, it refers to “20-minute fireQuestion: Is a door required between the residential rated doors.” Although not specifically noted in the dwelling and its attached garage? section, other sections of the International Residential Code, International Building Code, and the NFPA Answer: No. codes all state (or imply) compliance with NFPA 80, Question: If a door is installed between the house and the “Standard for Fire Doors and Fire Windows.” In garage, is the door required to be fire rated? NFPA 80, in section 1-7, “Glazing Material in Fire Answer: Refer to 2000 IRC section R309.1, Doors,” it states “Only labeled fire resistance-rated “Opening protection. Openings from a private garage glazing material meeting applicable safety standards directly into a room used for sleeping purposes shall shall be used in fire door assemblies (NFPA 252, not be permitted. Other openings between the garage Standard Methods of Fire Tests of Door Assemblies). and residence shall be equipped with solid wood doors “Glazing materials shall be installed in labeled frames not less than 13/8 inch in thickness, solid or honeycomb or in tested frames in accordance with the fire door core steel doors not less than 13/8 inch thick, or 20 listing.” It goes on to say “Glazing material shall be permitted in fire doors having the following fire minute fire-rated doors.” protection ratings when tested in accordance with Question: Is a self-closing device required for this NFPA 252 …” In Table 1-7.4, “Fire Door Ratings,” door? a 1/3 hour fire door (20 minute rated) is “Limited to Answer: No. (A self-closing device was required maximum area tested.” under the provisions of the old Uniform Building Code). Question: Will any of the answers noted above change Question: Is the frame for this door required to be when the 2006 International Residential Code goes into effect? steel, or part of a rated assembly? Answer: No. The frame can be a simple wood Answer: Yes. In the 2006 IRC, “Garages beneath habitable rooms shall be separated from all habitable frame. rooms above by not less than 5/8 inch Type “X” gypsum Question: Is this door required to swing in any board or equivalent.” particular direction? Answer: No. This door can swing into the house, or Question: In a previous answer, it was noted that ½ inch regular gypsum board has a fire rating of 15 swing into the garage. minutes. What is the fire rating of 5/8 inch Type “X” Question: Is a landing required for the stairway at gypsum board? this door? Answer: 40 minutes per International Building Code Answer: No, unless the door swings into the garage. Table 720.2.1.4(2). If you wish to submit a question to the Construction Codes Questions and Answers column, please contact Peter Kulczyk at Although you are welcomed to contact any of the technical staff at DLI regarding code questions, Peter is coordinating the submissions and responses in this column.
Department of Labor and Industry - Construction Codes and Licensing Division
443 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN 55155 St. Paul, MN 55155 FAX: (651) 284-5749

Page  • The Standard • MAY 2006 • Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry