Focus on New Laws: State Building Code Changes

A new law clarifies enforcement of the State Building Code for certain facilities, and doesn’t require fire sprinkler systems for certain residential dwellings.
(Published Jul 3, 2017)

The recent legislative session has resulted in some changes to the State Building Code. Cities enforcing the code need to be aware of these changes to properly enforce the code.

Even in cities that have not adopted the State Building Code, the code is still applicable. The new changes provide that the state will enforce the new provisions if the city does not handle its own enforcement, so it is good to know what new requirements will trigger enforcement by the state. Additionally, cities may have facilities that are covered by the new law.

What has changed?
The Legislature passed two provisions altering the State Building Code. The first can be found in Chapter 20. Under this law, the commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) cannot require the installation of fire sprinkler systems in one- or-two-family residences or two-unit townhomes through rulemaking. This law was effective on May 3, 2017.

The other State Building Code change can be found in Chapter 94, creating Minnesota Statutes, section 326B.108. This new statute explicitly requires State Building Code compliance for “places of public accommodation.”

The law defines “places of public accommodation” as any “publicly or privately owned facility that is designed for occupancy by 200 or more people and includes a sports or entertainment arena, stadium, theater, community or convention hall, special event center, indoor amusement facility or water park, or swimming pool.”

This provision is important to cities both for enforcement purposes, but also because cities may be the operators of such facilities. The law gives DLI enforcement of this provision if a municipality has not adopted the State Building Code. This change took effect on July 1, 2017.

No city action needed
Cities do not need to do anything to comply with either of these changes. Cities do need to be aware of the change to recognize the specified facilities that must now comply with the State Building Code. This is important for both enforcement and for cities operating or constructing any such facilities.

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