The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry at its most recent Construction Codes Advisory Committee discussed several items of interest to BATC members. First, Assistant Commissioner Jessica Looman announced a proposed 20% cut in contractor license fees. This was made possible through the adoption of new database technology at DLI. The Department’s goal is to continue to seek efficiencies and deliver service for less.
DLI also proposed some significant changes for the next round of building code adoption. The process to adopt the 2018 International Residential Code (IRS) will begin in the spring of 2017 and BATC is looking forward to active participation. One key change is the formation of what DLI is calling Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs) to assist in reviewing key aspects of the existing and proposed rules. Proposed TAGs of particular interest to BATC include Residential Building Code; Existing Building Code and Energy Code. BATC will be working with DLI officials to seek representation on these TAGs and insure that our issues and concerns are addressed throughout the lengthy code adoption process.
Also of note, DLI is proposing an increase in the maximum payout possible under the Contractor Recovery Fund to homeowners who have had unfortunate experiences with unscrupulous contractors. Based on demand over the past several years, DLI believes this can be achieved without increasing the Contractor Recovery Fund assessment for contractors.
And finally, DLI is proposing to inspect public facilities with capacity for 200 or more individuals. This was driven by the collapse of the roof at Thumper Pond Resort and Waterpark in Ottertail in May of 2015. As a result of this situation, in which fortunately no one was injured but which could have been catastrophic, DLI sees a need to inspect these larger commercial facilities. In some cases, as in this situation, these facilities are located in parts of the state in which building inspections do not take place. DLI plans to establish a fee structure and implement an inspection program to protect public safety.