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16B.65 Building officials.

Subdivision 1. Designation. By January 1, 2002, each municipality shall designate a building official to administer the code. A municipality may designate no more than one building official responsible for code administration defined by each certification category established in rule. Two or more municipalities may combine in the designation of a building official for the purpose of administering the provisions of the code within their communities. In those municipalities for which no building officials have been designated, the state building official may use whichever state employees are necessary to perform the duties of the building official until the municipality makes a temporary or permanent designation. All costs incurred by virtue of these services rendered by state employees must be borne by the involved municipality and receipts arising from these services must be paid into the state treasury and credited to the general fund.

Subd. 2. Qualifications. A building official, to be eligible for designation, must be certified and have the experience in design, construction, and supervision which the commissioner deems necessary and must be generally informed on the quality and strength of building materials, accepted building construction requirements, and the nature of equipment and needs conducive to the safety, comfort, and convenience of building occupants. No person may be designated as a building official for a municipality unless the commissioner determines that the official is qualified as provided in subdivision 3.

Subd. 3. Certification. The commissioner shall:

(1) prepare and conduct written and practical examinations to determine if a person is qualified pursuant to subdivision 2 to be a building official;

(2) accept documentation of successful completion of testing programs developed by nationally recognized testing agencies, as proof of qualification pursuant to subdivision 2; or

(3) determine qualifications by both clauses (1) and (2).

Upon a determination of qualification under clause (1), (2), or both of them, the commissioner shall issue a certificate to the building official stating that the official is certified. Each person applying for examination and certification pursuant to this section shall pay a nonrefundable fee of $70. The commissioner or a designee may establish categories of certification that will recognize the varying complexities of code enforcement in the municipalities within the state. The commissioner shall provide educational programs designed to train and assist building officials in carrying out their responsibilities.

The department of employee relations may, at the request of the commissioner, provide statewide testing services.

Subd. 4. Duties. Building officials shall, in the municipality for which they are designated, be responsible for all aspects of code administration for which they are certified, including the issuance of all building permits and the inspection of all manufactured home installations. The commissioner may direct a municipality with a building official to perform services for another municipality, and in that event the municipality being served shall pay the municipality rendering the services the reasonable costs of the services. The costs may be subject to approval by the commissioner.

Subd. 5. Oversight committee. (a) The commissioner shall establish a code administration oversight committee to evaluate, mediate, and recommend to the commissioner any administrative action, penalty, suspension, or revocation with respect to complaints filed with or information received by the commissioner alleging or indicating the unauthorized performance of official duties or unauthorized use of the title certified building official, or a violation of statute, rule, or order that the commissioner has issued or is empowered to enforce. The committee consists of five certified building officials, at least two of whom must be from nonmetropolitan counties. Committee members must be compensated according to section 15.059, subdivision 3. The commissioner's designee shall act as an ex-officio member of the oversight committee.

(b) If the commissioner has a reasonable basis to believe that a person has engaged in an act or practice constituting the unauthorized performance of official duties, the unauthorized use of the title certified building official, or a violation of a statute, rule, or order that the commissioner has issued or is empowered to enforce, the commissioner may proceed with administrative actions or penalties as described in subdivision 5a or suspension or revocation as described in subdivision 5b.

Subd. 5a. Administrative action and penalties. The commissioner shall, by rule, establish a graduated schedule of administrative actions for violations of sections 16B.59 to 16B.75 and rules adopted under those sections. The schedule must be based on and reflect the culpability, frequency, and severity of the violator's actions. The commissioner may impose a penalty from the schedule on a certification holder for a violation of sections 16B.59 to 16B.75 and rules adopted under those sections. The penalty is in addition to any criminal penalty imposed for the same violation. Administrative monetary penalties imposed by the commissioner must be paid to the general fund.

Subd. 5b. Suspension; revocation. Except as otherwise provided for by law, the commissioner may, upon notice and hearing, revoke or suspend or refuse to issue or reissue a building official certification if the applicant, building official, or certification holder:

(1) violates a provision of sections 16B.59 to 16B.75 or a rule adopted under those sections;

(2) engages in fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation while performing the duties of a certified building official;

(3) makes a false statement in an application submitted to the commissioner or in a document required to be submitted to the commissioner; or

(4) violates an order of the commissioner.

Notice must be provided and the hearing conducted in accordance with the provisions of chapter 14 governing contested case proceedings. Nothing in this subdivision limits or otherwise affects the authority of a municipality to dismiss or suspend a building official at its discretion, except as otherwise provided for by law.

Subd. 6. Vacancies. In the event that a designated building official position is vacant within a municipality, that municipality shall designate a certified building official to fill the vacancy as soon as possible. The commissioner must be notified of any vacancy or designation in writing within 15 days. If the municipality fails to designate a certified building official within 15 days of the occurrence of the vacancy, the state building official may provide state employees to serve that function as provided in subdivision 1 until the municipality makes a temporary or permanent designation. Municipalities must not issue permits without a designated certified building official.

Subd. 7. Continuing education. Subject to sections 16B.59 to 16B.75, the commissioner may by rule establish or approve continuing education programs for municipal building officials dealing with matters of building code administration, inspection, and enforcement.

Each person certified as a building official for the state must satisfactorily complete applicable educational programs established or approved by the commissioner every three calendar years to retain certification.

Each person certified as a building official must submit in writing to the commissioner an application for renewal of certification within 60 days of the last day of the third calendar year following the last certificate issued. Each application for renewal must be accompanied by proof of satisfactory completion of minimum continuing education requirements and the certification renewal fee established by the commissioner.

HIST: 1984 c 544 s 70; 1984 c 578 s 1; 1984 c 655 art 2 s 13 subd 1; 1Sp1985 c 17 s 6; 1986 c 444; 1988 c 613 s 16; 1995 c 254 art 2 s 8-11; 1998 c 359 s 11,12; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 2 s 30

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Revisor of Statutes