2021 legislative session summary impacting building officials
Unless otherwise specified, the provisions are effective July 1, 2021.
Jobs/Labor Omnibus Senate File 9, Chapter 10.
Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) policy initiatives
Construction Codes Advisory Council (CCAC) membership: Requires appointees to have expertise in their industry or occupation and adds an energy member and an accessibility member to the CCAC. (SF226 Rarick/HF339 Frederick)
Contractor Recovery Fund changes
Increases the frequency of payouts from the Contractor Recovery Fund and the amount of funds available to homeowners who have suffered a financial loss due to a licensed contractor’s fraudulent, deceptive or dishonest practices. It provides for two yearly payouts instead of one and raises the maximum payout limit for each licensed residential building contractor (licensee) from $300,000 to $550,000. (SF419 Eichorn/HF762 Mekeland)
Fee reductions for the construction trades
Extends fee reductions for licenses (includes building official certifications), DLI building permits and plan review services, keeping fees in line with the cost of providing services. The law will save the construction industry $4.5 million in fiscal year 2022-23.
Sprinklers in existing public housing buildings
Certain existing public housing buildings must install automatic sprinkler systems that comply with the State Fire Code and State Building Code and be fully operational by August 1, 2033. (HF109 Noor/SF155 Dziedzic)
Rural event venues (wedding barns)
Places of public accommodation now defined as buildings with occupancy of 100 or more instead of 200 or more; sprinklers are now required in places of public accommodation, including rural event venues or wedding barns, at 300 occupancy or more. This change will provide clarity and consistency for the industry and remove an economic hardship without compromising public safety. (SF524 Housley/HF1015 Marquart)
Continuing education requirements for certified building officials
Certified building officials will now be required to take 35 hours of continuing education in a two-year period instead of 38 hours. (SF1756 Howe/HF2060 Mekeland)
Plumbing license exemption for work on certain commercial equipment
The law provides an exemption from licensing requirements for certain individuals servicing or installing a commercial chemical dispensing system or servicing or replacing a commercial dishwashing machine. Provides for training and insurance, as well as ensures the devices include integral backflow prevention. (SF1972 Rarick/HF2155 Baker; SF226 Rarick)
Housing omnibus bill
Window fall prevention devices are not required to be installed in one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses when the lowest part of the window opening is a minimum of 24 inches above the interior floor or 72 inches from the exterior ground below, aligning with national model standards. (Article 2 Section 4; HF1496 Fischer/SF802 Koran)
Judiciary and public safety omnibus bill
Commissioner may issue building-specific waivers from the State Building Code for traditional residential buildings, meetinghouses and one-room educational buildings when the code requirements conflict with a tribe’s religious beliefs, traditional building practices or established teachings. State fire marshal similarly may grant waivers from the State Fire Code for the same reasons. Commissioner must develop an application form. (Article 2 Sections 17 and 19; HF1042 Keeler/SF1087 Lang)
For more information, visit the Minnesota State Legislature's website or the website for the Office of the Revisor of Statutes.