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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Chapter 16B

Section 16B.61

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16B.61 GENERAL POWERS OF COMMISSIONER.
    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, ammonia piping, and bioprocess piping 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 State 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.
(m) Bioprocess piping and equipment. No permit fee for bioprocess piping may be
imposed by municipalities under the State Building Code, except as required under section
326.47, subdivision 1. Permits for bioprocess piping shall be according to section 326.47
administered by the Department of Labor and Industry. All data regarding the material production
processes, including the bioprocess system's structural design and layout, are nonpublic data as
provided by section 13.7911.
    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
disabled persons, although this does not require the remodeling of public buildings solely to
provide accessibility and usability to the physically disabled 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 disabled, 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 disabled 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
disabled persons specified in the State Building Code need not comply with this subdivision
unless a disabled 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 disabled 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 disabled 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 disabled 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 disability 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.
    Subd. 8. Separate metering for electric service. The standards concerning heat loss,
illumination, and climate control adopted pursuant to subdivision 1, shall require that electrical
service to individual dwelling units in buildings containing two or more units be separately
metered, with individual metering readily accessible to the individual occupants. The standards
authorized by this subdivision shall only apply to buildings constructed after the effective date
of the amended standards. Buildings intended for occupancy primarily by persons who are 62
years of age or older or disabled, or which contain a majority of units not equipped with complete
kitchen facilities, shall be exempt from the provisions of this subdivision.
History: 1977 c 381 s 18; 1978 c 786 s 2,3; Ex1979 c 2 s 29-31; 1980 c 579 s 9; 1981 c 85 s
5; 1981 c 255 s 2,5; 1981 c 356 s 154-158,248; 1981 c 365 s 9; 1982 c 424 s 23-25,130; 1983 c
301 s 125,126; 1984 c 544 s 66; 1984 c 595 s 1-5; 1984 c 640 s 32; 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 258 s
12; 1987 c 291 s 192,196; 1987 c 312 art 1 s 10 subd 1; 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 209 art 2 s 1; 1989 c 246 s 2; 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 233 art 2 s 56; 1995 c
254 art 2 s 4-6; 1Sp1995 c 3 art 16 s 13; 1996 c 395 s 18; 1997 c 183 art 3 s 27; 1999 c 135 s
1,2; 1999 c 185 s 1; 2000 c 297 s 1,3; 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; 2005 c 56 s 1; 2005 c 97 art 4 s 6; 2005 c 136 art 9 s 14; 2006 c 241 s 2,3