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Chapter 16B

Section 16B.61


Recent History

16B.61 General powers of commissioner; State Building Code.

Subdivision 1. Adoption of code. Subject to sections 16B.59 to 16B.75, the commissioner shall by rule establish a code of standards for the construction, reconstruction, alteration, and repair of buildings, governing matters of structural materials, design and construction, fire protection, health, sanitation, and safety, including design and construction standards regarding heat loss control, illumination, and climate control. The code must also include duties and responsibilities for code administration, including procedures for administrative action, penalties, and suspension and revocation of certification. The code must conform insofar as practicable to model building codes generally accepted and in use throughout the United States, including a code for building conservation. In the preparation of the code, consideration must be given to the existing statewide specialty codes presently in use in the state. Model codes with necessary modifications and statewide specialty codes may be adopted by reference. The code must be based on the application of scientific principles, approved tests, and professional judgment. To the extent possible, the code must be adopted in terms of desired results instead of the means of achieving those results, avoiding wherever possible the incorporation of specifications of particular methods or materials. To that end the code must encourage the use of new methods and new materials. Except as otherwise provided in sections 16B.59 to 16B.75, the commissioner shall administer and enforce the provisions of those sections.

The commissioner shall develop rules addressing the plan review fee assessed to similar buildings without significant modifications including provisions for use of building systems as specified in the industrial/modular program specified in section 16B.75. Additional plan review fees associated with similar plans must be based on costs commensurate with the direct and indirect costs of the service.

Subd. 1a. Administration by commissioner. The commissioner shall administer and enforce the State Building Code as a municipality with respect to public buildings and state licensed facilities in the state. The commissioner shall establish appropriate permit, plan review, and inspection fees for public buildings and state licensed facilities. Fees and surcharges for public buildings and state licensed facilities must be remitted to the commissioner, who shall deposit them in the state treasury for credit to the special revenue fund.

Municipalities other than the state having an agreement with the commissioner for code administration and enforcement service for public buildings and state licensed facilities shall charge their customary fees, including surcharge, to be paid directly to the jurisdiction by the applicant seeking authorization to construct a public building or a state licensed facility. The commissioner shall sign an agreement with a municipality other than the state for plan review, code administration, and code enforcement service for public buildings and state licensed facilities in the jurisdiction if the building officials of the municipality meet the requirements of section 16B.65 and wish to provide those services and if the commissioner determines that the municipality has enough adequately trained and qualified building inspectors to provide those services for the construction project.

The commissioner may direct the state building official to assist a community that has been affected by a natural disaster with building evaluation and other activities related to building codes.

Administration and enforcement in a municipality under this section must apply any optional provisions of the State Building Code adopted by the municipality. A municipality adopting any optional code provision shall notify the state building official within 30 days of its adoption.

The commissioner shall administer and enforce the provisions of the code relating to elevators statewide, except as provided for under section 16B.747, subdivision 3.

Subd. 2. Enforcement by certain bodies. Under the direction and supervision of the commissioner, the provisions of the code relating to electrical installations shall be enforced by the State Board of Electricity, pursuant to the Minnesota Electrical Act, the provisions relating to plumbing shall be enforced by the commissioner of health, the provisions relating to high pressure steam piping and appurtenances shall be enforced by the Department of Labor and Industry. Fees for inspections conducted by the State Board of Electricity shall be paid in accordance with the rules of the State Board of Electricity. Under direction of the commissioner of public safety, the state fire marshal shall enforce the Minnesota Uniform Fire Code as provided in chapter 299F. The commissioner, in consultation with the commissioner of labor and industry, shall adopt amendments to the mechanical code portion of the State Building Code to implement standards for process piping.

Subd. 3. Special requirements. (a) Space for commuter vans. The code must require that any parking ramp or other parking facility constructed in accordance with the code include an appropriate number of spaces suitable for the parking of motor vehicles having a capacity of seven to 16 persons and which are principally used to provide prearranged commuter transportation of employees to or from their place of employment or to or from a transit stop authorized by a local transit authority.

(b) Smoke detection devices. The code must require that all dwellings, lodging houses, apartment houses, and hotels as defined in section 299F.362 comply with the provisions of section 299F.362.

(c) Doors in nursing homes and hospitals. The State Building Code may not require that each door entering a sleeping or patient's room from a corridor in a nursing home or hospital with an approved complete standard automatic fire extinguishing system be constructed or maintained as self-closing or automatically closing.

(d) Child care facilities in churches; ground level exit. A licensed day care center serving fewer than 30 preschool age persons and which is located in a belowground space in a church building is exempt from the State Building Code requirement for a ground level exit when the center has more than two stairways to the ground level and its exit.

(e) Child care facilities in churches; vertical access. Until August 1, 1996, an organization providing child care in an existing church building which is exempt from taxation under section 272.02, subdivision 6, shall have five years from the date of initial licensure under chapter 245A to provide interior vertical access, such as an elevator, to persons with disabilities as required by the State Building Code. To obtain the extension, the organization providing child care must secure a $2,500 performance bond with the commissioner of human services to ensure that interior vertical access is achieved by the agreed upon date.

(f) Family and group family day care. Until the legislature enacts legislation specifying appropriate standards, the definition of Group R-3 occupancies in the State Building Code applies to family and group family day care homes licensed by the Department of Human Services under Minnesota Rules, chapter 9502.

(g) Enclosed stairways. No provision of the code or any appendix chapter of the code may require stairways of existing multiple dwelling buildings of two stories or less to be enclosed.

(h) Double cylinder dead bolt locks. No provision of the code or appendix chapter of the code may prohibit double cylinder dead bolt locks in existing single-family homes, townhouses, and first floor duplexes used exclusively as a residential dwelling. Any recommendation or promotion of double cylinder dead bolt locks must include a warning about their potential fire danger and procedures to minimize the danger.

(i) Relocated residential buildings. A residential building relocated within or into a political subdivision of the state need not comply with the State Energy Code or section 326.371 provided that, where available, an energy audit is conducted on the relocated building.

(j) Automatic garage door opening systems. The code must require all residential buildings as defined in section 325F.82 to comply with the provisions of sections 325F.82 and 325F.83.

(k) Exit sign illumination. For a new building on which construction is begun on or after October 1, 1993, or an existing building on which remodeling affecting 50 percent or more of the enclosed space is begun on or after October 1, 1993, the code must prohibit the use of internally illuminated exit signs whose electrical consumption during nonemergency operation exceeds 20 watts of resistive power. All other requirements in the code for exit signs must be complied with.

(l) Exterior wood decks, patios, and balconies. The code must permit the decking surface and upper portions of exterior wood decks, patios, and balconies to be constructed of (1) heartwood from species of wood having natural resistance to decay or termites, including redwood and cedars, (2) grades of lumber which contain sapwood from species of wood having natural resistance to decay or termites, including redwood and cedars, or (3) treated wood. The species and grades of wood products used to construct the decking surface and upper portions of exterior decks, patios, and balconies must be made available to the building official on request before final construction approval.

Subd. 3a. Recycling space. The code must require suitable space for the separation, collection, and temporary storage of recyclable materials within or adjacent to new or significantly remodeled structures that contain 1,000 square feet or more. Residential structures with fewer than four dwelling units are exempt from this subdivision.

Subd. 4. Review of plans for public buildings and state licensed facilities. Construction or remodeling may not begin on any public building or state licensed facility until the plans and specifications have been approved by the commissioner or municipality under contractual agreement pursuant to subdivision 1a. The plans and specifications must be submitted for review, and within 30 days after receipt of the plans and specifications, the commissioner or municipality under contractual agreement shall notify the submitting authority of any corrections.

Subd. 5. Accessibility. (a) Public buildings. The code must provide for making public buildings constructed or remodeled after July 1, 1963, accessible to and usable by physically handicapped persons, although this does not require the remodeling of public buildings solely to provide accessibility and usability to the physically handicapped when remodeling would not otherwise be undertaken.

(b) Leased space. No agency of the state may lease space for agency operations in a non-state-owned building unless the building satisfies the requirements of the State Building Code for accessibility by the physically handicapped, or is eligible to display the state symbol of accessibility. This limitation applies to leases of 30 days or more for space of at least 1,000 square feet.

(c) Meetings or conferences. Meetings or conferences for the public or for state employees which are sponsored in whole or in part by a state agency must be held in buildings that meet the State Building Code requirements relating to accessibility for physically handicapped persons. This subdivision does not apply to any classes, seminars, or training programs offered by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities or the University of Minnesota. Meetings or conferences intended for specific individuals none of whom need the accessibility features for handicapped persons specified in the State Building Code need not comply with this subdivision unless a handicapped person gives reasonable advance notice of an intent to attend the meeting or conference. When sign language interpreters will be provided, meetings or conference sites must be chosen which allow hearing impaired participants to see their signing clearly.

(d) Exemptions. The commissioner may grant an exemption from the requirements of paragraphs (b) and (c) in advance if an agency has demonstrated that reasonable efforts were made to secure facilities which complied with those requirements and if the selected facilities are the best available for access for handicapped persons. Exemptions shall be granted using criteria developed by the commissioner in consultation with the Council on Disability.

(e) Symbol indicating access. The wheelchair symbol adopted by Rehabilitation International's Eleventh World Congress is the state symbol indicating buildings, facilities, and grounds which are accessible to and usable by handicapped persons. In the interests of uniformity, this symbol is the sole symbol for display in or on all public or private buildings, facilities, and grounds which qualify for its use. The secretary of state shall obtain the symbol and keep it on file. No building, facility, or grounds may display the symbol unless it is in compliance with the rules adopted by the commissioner under subdivision 1. Before any rules are proposed for adoption under this paragraph, the commissioner shall consult with the Council on Disability. Rules adopted under this paragraph must be enforced in the same way as other accessibility rules of the State Building Code.

(f) Municipal enforcement. Municipalities which have not adopted the State Building Code may enforce the building code requirements for handicapped persons by either entering into a joint powers agreement for enforcement with another municipality which has adopted the State Building Code; or contracting for enforcement with an individual certified under section 16B.65, subdivision 3, to enforce the State Building Code.

(g) Equipment allowed. The code must allow the use of vertical wheelchair lifts and inclined stairway wheelchair lifts in public buildings. An inclined stairway wheelchair lift must be equipped with light or sound signaling device for use during operation of the lift. The stairway or ramp shall be marked in a bright color that clearly indicates the outside edge of the lift when in operation. The code shall not require a guardrail between the lift and the stairway or ramp. Compliance with this provision by itself does not mean other handicap accessibility requirements have been met.

Subd. 6. Energy efficiency. The code must provide for building new low-income housing in accordance with energy efficiency standards adopted under subdivision 1. For purposes of this subdivision, low-income housing means residential housing built for low-income persons and families under a program of a housing and redevelopment authority, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, or another entity receiving money from the state to construct such housing.

Subd. 7. Access for the hearing-impaired. All rooms in the State Office Building and in the Capitol that are used by the house of representatives or the senate for legislative hearings, and the public galleries overlooking the house and senate chambers, must be fitted with assistive listening devices for the hearing-impaired. Each hearing room and the public galleries must have a sufficient number of receivers available so that hearing-impaired members of the public may participate in the committee hearings and public sessions of the house and senate.

HIST: 1984 c 544 s 66; 1984 c 655 art 2 s 13 subd 1; 1984 c 658 s 1; 1985 c 194 s 30; 1985 c 248 s 70; 1986 c 444; 1Sp1986 c 3 art 4 s 2; 1987 c 291 s 192; 1987 c 354 s 8; 1987 c 387 s 3; 1988 c 608 s 1; 1988 c 685 s 2; 1989 c 82 s 1; 1989 c 335 art 1 s 65; 1990 c 414 s 1; 1991 c 104 s 1; 1991 c 134 s 1; 1991 c 149 s 2; 1991 c 235 art 3 s 1; 1991 c 240 s 1; 1991 c 337 s 4; 1992 c 597 s 1; 1993 c 327 s 1; 1994 c 480 s 6; 1994 c 567 s 1; 1994 c 634 art 2 s 3,4; 1995 c 100 s 1; 1995 c 166 s 1,2,17; 1995 c 213 art 1 s 1; 1995 c 254 art 2 s 4-6; 1996 c 395 s 18; 1999 c 135 s 1,2; 1999 c 185 s 1; 2000 c 297 s 1; 2001 c 7 s 10; 2001 c 207 s 1,2; 1Sp2001 c 10 art 2 s 29; 1Sp2003 c 8 art 1 s 5

Official Publication of the State of Minnesota
Revisor of Statutes