Blog

  • 03 Apr 2020 8:35 AM | Wanda Schroeder (Administrator)

    The 2020 Minnesota Residential Code is effective March 31, 2020. The 2020 Minnesota Residential Code adopts the 2018 edition of the International Residential Code (IRC), with amendments. The IRC governs new construction of one- and two-family homes and buildings with three or more townhouses, provided the structure is not more than three stories above grade.

    The following IRC provisions are changed by Minnesota amendments:

    Administration and Definitions

    • Adds a definition of transient and directs code users to the IBC for requirements for dwellings intended for transient use

    Sections R 310.1 and R310.6 provisions for emergency escape and rescue openings for new and existing basements

    • Emergency escape and rescue openings are required in new basements and bedrooms created in existing basements unless the entire basement area, all portions of the means of egress to the level of exit discharge, and all areas on the level of exit discharge are protected with an automatic sprinkler system

    Sections R314 and R315 Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

    • Existing homes are permitted to be equipped with battery-powered smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors that are not interconnected unless alterations or repairs result in the removal of interior wall or ceiling finishes
    • Hardwired, interconnected smoke alarms are not required in existing homes where the basement or attic provides access to the hardwiring
    • New homes continue to be required to have hardwired, interconnected smoke alarms

    Table R402.2 Minimum specified compressive strength of concrete

    • Clarifies that 5,000 psi concrete is not required for post footings decks or porches, wood foundations, slab-on-grade foundation walls and footings for floating slabs

    Section 404 Foundation and Retaining Walls

    • Includes prescriptive requirements for foundation walls up to 10 feet in height

    The 2020 Minnesota Residential Code also includes these significant changes from the 2018 IRC:

    • Section R324 Solar Energy Systems adds new provisions solar energy systems. Roof-mounted solar PV systems must allow for roof access, including access pathways from the lowest roof edge to the ridge and setbacks at the ridge.
    • Section R507 Exterior Decks reorganizes and clarifies requirements for decks, including requirements

    for materials and fastener and fastener connections.

    • Appendix Q addresses tiny houses by providing certain allowances for homes less than 400 square feet

    in size.

    For the entire code, please go to this link:

    https://codes.iccsafe.org/content/MNRC2020/2020-minnesota-provisions-to-the-minnesota-state-building-code-including-radon-

  • 02 Apr 2020 11:41 AM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

    April 2, 2020 - CMBA has remained in contact with State Building Officials regarding updates and clarifications about which businesses are exempt from Governor Walz's stay-at-home order, and under what circumstances. 

    The State now has a specific portal dedicated to such questions and clarifications:

    https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/business-exemptions/

    This portal includes the all-important Critical Sector Workers Definitions and Clarifications document that is being updated as new determinations are made.  It also features "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ) and "Additional Resources" tabs or sections that can be helpful.

    The State also offers a form for submitting requests for changes or clarifications.

    CMBA and BAM will continue working to provide you with updated information related to our industries as the COVID-19 situation evolves.  Stay healthy and safe!

  • 30 Mar 2020 2:28 PM | Wanda Schroeder (Administrator)

    2020 Minnesota State Building Code adoption

    On Tuesday March 31, 2020, six new Minnesota construction codes are scheduled to take effect. Although this adoption is occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic, the construction industry has been fully engaged in the process of developing changes to the new codes over the past two years and are anticipating their implementation.

    Currently, many architects, engineers and other building designers either have or are in the process of preparing designs in accordance with the new codes. Industry has also been providing training about changes the past few months, prior to the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak. The department’s spring training educational seminars will be provided in an online format in the coming weeks.

    Anyone who is facing challenges related to the adoption of the new codes should contact the department and we will work to assist them.

    Thank you to all construction stakeholders, Technical Advisory Group members and the Construction Codes Advisory Council who participated in this two-and-a-half-year collaborative process.

    These new codes apply to permit applications made on or after March 31 with the exception of the Minnesota Mechanical Code that takes effect on April 6, 2020.

    The Minnesota Fire Code also goes into effect March 31, 2020.

    New codes effective March 31, 2020

    The following codes have been approved for adoption:

    2020 Minnesota Conservation Code for Existing Buildings

    2020 Minnesota Residential Code

    2020 Minnesota Building Code

    2020 Minnesota Energy Code

            Note: The 2015 Minnesota Residential Energy Code remains in effect.

    2020 Minnesota Accessibility Code

    2020 Minnesota Mechanical/Fuel Gas Code - Effective April 6, 2020

    2020 Minnesota State Fire Code

    Questions?


  • 30 Mar 2020 1:19 PM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

    UPDATE: 3/30/20 - CMBA continues tracking local building inspections policies and procedures in light of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus infections.  Here are the latest as we have them:

    ST. CLOUD - (This is long...)  During the 2-week [MN Governor's] Stay At Home Order, all inspectors will be spending limited time in the office. They will be checking their phone messages multiple times during the day (as time allows between inspections) and returning calls. Please make sure you leave a message on their office phone so they can call you back. You can find all the contact information for the Building Safety Department here: http://ci.stcloud.mn.us/Directory.aspx?DID=39.

    a. For Electrical, Plumbing, and HVAC inspections please call the appropriate inspector.

    b. For Building inspections please call 320-255-7238 or email building.scheduling@ci.stcloud.mn.us.

    i. Also, submit any information for BUILDING inspections (pictures of roof tear-offs for weekend work ONLY, blower-door tests, etc.) to the building.scheduling@ci.stcloud.mn.us email address.

    ii. Eli Berry is still out on prior-approved leave, so please do not call/email him as you may not get a response.

    2. Plan reviews and permits will continue as normal (with the exception of submitting and paying at City Hall).

    3. We are updating our permit applications on the website to all be forms that are submitted automatically when you hit the submit button at the bottom of the form. This way you will not need to print forms, fill them out and email them in. Please use the new applications found here: https://www.ci.stcloud.mn.us/1704/ApplicationsForms. Note that there are tabs that you need to click on (Permits With Electronic Plan Review, Permits With Paper Plan Review, and Permits Without Plan Review) before you pick the permit type. Not all the applications are currently forms, we hope to have them all updated by the end of the week.

    a. With City Hall being closed to the public, if you want to submit paper plan reviews (11 x 17 or smaller) you will have to print-off the application (further down on the website) and mail it in along with one copy of the plans.

    i. Mailing Address:
    St. Cloud City Hall
    Attn: Building Safety Department
    400 – 2nd St S
    St. Cloud, MN 56301

    b. Within 1-business day of submitting the application you will receive an email stating your permit is ready. You will need to log into the City eTRAKiT website to pay for permits. You can find handouts/information and the link to the eTRAKiT system here:

    https://www.ci.stcloud.mn.us/1458/eTRAKiT-Electronic-Permitting-System

    i. If you do not currently have a Contractor (NOT public user) account, please send an email to: building.safety@ci.stcloud.mn.us and we will set you up.

    ii. You CANNOT apply for any permit type, other than electrical, on the eTRAKiT site.

    4. We are currently setting up automatic emails to go out, to the email address we have listed for the Contractor, when an inspection is completed. If the inspection is not Approved or Not Applicable, you will have to log into the eTRAKiT system to see any notes left by the inspector. You should be seeing these emails starting later this week.

    5. Because City Hall is closed, all plan reviews will have to be done electronically through our ePlans system. You can find handouts/information on the system here: http://www.ci.stcloud.mn.us/1418/ePlans-Electronic-Plan-Review. You must wait for your permit to be logged in and receive your invitation to the project email before you can upload plans. If you have any problems, please let us know. The first couple times of using the system can be difficult until you are used to it.

    a. You can still submit paper plans 11 x 17 or smaller by mailing them in, along with the application, please see note 3a above. Please note – this will prolong plan review turn-around time as it will take time for it to get to us via mail, and payment will have to be made/the permit issued before we will mail approved plans back.

    SARTELL - Chief Building Official, Jeff Nelson (320-258-7317, jeff.nelson@sartellmn.com), has confirmed Sartell is continuing to do building inspections (after some initial confusion 3/25 when the Governor's Order came out).  Jeff said he is encouraging that all submissions be sent electronically if possible.  Otherwise, they are asking contractors to use the City's drop-box just outside City Hall.  They are following social distancing protocols on job sites, and are at about 90% capacity for processing plans, permits and inspections.  If in doubt, give Jeff a call or email him.

    SAUK RAPIDS- The Sauk Rapids Government Center is closed to the public. Building permits can be submitted electronically or via the U.S. Postal Service. Plan reviews are still taking place. The City of Sauk Rapids has activated a link on the City’s website which allows for payments on building permits. New construction inspections will continue as will exterior inspections on occupied homes, which include roofs, siding, decks, detached garages, sheds, etc.  Occupied home inspections will take place on a case by case basis.  The Building Official will need to maintain a 6 ft social distance when on site for any inspection. Regardless of where the inspection is located and what type of inspection it is, inspections will not occur if anyone on the job site is sick, has been in contact with anyone who is sick, or has been in an airport within the last 14 days of the inspection. If in doubt, contact Jason Fleming, Building Official (320-258-5310, jfleming@ci.sauk-rapids.mn.us)

    ST. JOSEPH, ROCKVILLE, RICHMOND and KIMBALL - Chief Building Official, Mike Wallen (612-719-8666, mwallen@inspectroninc.com) told CMBA they are "trying to keep things simple and straight forward" as possible during the coronavirus situation.

    • All four city halls (St. Joseph, Rockville, Richmond and Kimball) are restricted access, so they are asking that you submit permit apps via email.
      • On bigger projects Mike is meeting with parties to collect plans/drawings/paperwork.
      • They are issuing permits as normal, but Mike will hand carry the actual permit to the job site at first inspection.
      • Payment can be made with a credit card over the phone/or a check can be dropped in the utility payment box.
    • On the smaller, less significant inspections: furnaces, water heaters, water softeners, etc….Mike has found the end customers prefer we don’t come into their house so he is allowing pictures (with sufficient details).

    Mike says, "Our attitude is business as usual…I am turning permits around within 24 hours or less (depending on scope), and an inspection within our 24 hour period (usually less)."  If in doubt, give Mike a call or email him.  

    WAITE PARK - (This is long...)  City Hall has been closed-off to public access until further notice. Here are some directions for how permitting/inspections will be handled for now:  Permit applications may be emailed, mailed, or placed in the dropbox outside City Hall.  Permits will be processed as usual with the expectation that they may take a bit longer than usual due to reduced staffing availability.  We are not in an overly busy permit period right now but let’s work under the assumption that it will be this way for a while as spring building activity may ramp-up.  After permit review/issuance, staff will inform applicants of fees as usual.  Fees may be mailed or placed in dropbox and permits will be mailed or scanned/emailed thereafter.  Please remember to wash/sanitize hands after handling any submittals.  Inspections will continue as usual, with the expectation that they will be VERY BRIEF and with MINIMAL CONTACT.  In and out, business only, maintain 6 ft distance from anyone else.  Inspections staff may advise if any additional inspections may be done via emailed photos (as we do for some inspections now) and I’d encourage this if at all possible.  WASH HANDS after any interior or rental inspections.  Code enforcement will continue as usual as needed, with expectation that it will be a low priority and may be subject to availability of appropriate staff.  Monday planning meetings will transition to conference calls until further notice.  I’ll send out information and exhibits for review ahead of time, hopefully starting next week. This is all very fluid as we’ve all seen in the past week, and may change in the next week or two as the situation progresses.  Some people will be upset about changes in processes, but we feel this is the best move for this unprecedented time.   We will do our best to provide our usual high-quality service in as timely a manner as we can, given these changes, until further notice when we can all transition back to the “old normal”.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  I expect to be back in the office in a day or two once my cold passes. Thank you, - Jon Noerenberg, jon.noerenberg@ci.waitepark.mn.us.
    In addition, Adri Brenny offered the following:  We are only allowing inspections to be done that are holding up a project to continue. Otherwise, we are asking to get pictures via email if inspections can be done that way. Otherwise, minor inspections like water heaters, furnaces and things of that nature we are pushing out towards April/May. Feel free to email if you have any further questions.   -Adri Brenny, Adrianna.Brenny@ci.waitepark.mn.us

    FOLEY - Chief Building Official, Nancy Scott (320-293-5298), is a contracted resource, and she indicated no change in processes at this time.  If in doubt, give Nancy a call.


  • 26 Mar 2020 10:31 AM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

    UPDATED March 27, 2020 - CMBA has fielded many calls from builders, remodelers and contractors confused about Governor Walz's Emergency Executive Order 20-20 ordering Minnesotans to stay at home.

    We spoke again this morning with Minnesota's Director of Construction Codes and Licensing, Scott McLellan.  Scott again clarified that the Governor's intent in the Executive Order is that ALL construction and remodeling continue, and he is continuing to work with MN DLI Commissioner, Nancy Leppink, to issue further clarifications to the Governor's Executive Order.

    For the most up-to-the-minute exemptions, go online to the Minnesota Critical Businesses List which has been updated several times, and is being updated as state officials further clarify.  NOTE:  The latest update highlights businesses that have been recently moved to "YES" for exemption, and places an asterisk (*) in place of any previous "NO" indicating you need to reference the Governor's Order and the CISA list to clarify. The Minnesota Critical Business List is meant to indicate, by business type, whether or not you are considered a Critical Business and therefore exempt from the Governor's stay-at-home order. We are keeping in contact with BAM and State officials to provide you with current information.

    Additionally, here is what the Governor's Emergency Executive Order 20-20 states:

    Beginning on Friday, March 27, 2020 at 11:59 pm through Friday, April 10, 2020 at 5:00 pm, all persons currently living within the State of Minnesota are ordered to stay at home or in their place of residence except to engage in the Activities and Critical Sector work set forth below in Paragraphs 5 and 6. ...

    6.  Exemptions – Critical Sectors. All workers who can work from home must do so. Workers in the following Critical Sectors, who are performing work that cannot be done at their home or residence through telework or virtual work and can be done only at a place of work outside of their home or residence, are exempted from the prohibition in paragraph 1 as set forth below. These critical services exemptions apply only to travel to and from an individual’s home or residence and place of work and an individual’s performance of work duties that cannot be done at their homes or residence. Travel may include transportation to and from child care or school settings as necessary to ensure the safe care of children. This list of Critical Sectors may be clarified, as deemed necessary by the Governor, to ensure the health, safety, and security of all Minnesotans.

    l.    Financial services. This category includes workers at banks, credit unions, insurance companies, insurance agencies, and other financial services workers identified in the CISA Guidance.

    x.   Construction and critical trades. This category includes workers in the skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers, HVAC and elevator technicians, and other related construction of all kind. This category also includes exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, moving and relocation services, security staff, operating engineers, and all other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of homes and residences and the Critical Sectors listed in this Executive Order.

    hh.         Real Estate Transactions. This category is limited to workers who facilitate and finance real estate transactions and real estate services, including appraisers and title services.



  • 25 Mar 2020 3:53 PM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

    Governor Tim Walz issued Emergency Executive Order #20-20 on Wednesday, ordering all Minnesotans to stay at home from 11:59 p.m., Friday, March 27th through Friday, April 10th.  The order contained a number of "Exemptions - Critical Sectors", including Financial, Construction and Real Estate:

    FROM GOVERNOR TIM WALZ’S EMERGENCY EXECUTIVE ORDER #20-20 3-25-20

    Beginning on Friday, March 27, 2020 at 11:59 pm through Friday, April 10, 2020 at 5:00 pm, all persons currently living within the State of Minnesota are ordered to stay at home or in their place of residence except to engage in the Activities and Critical Sector work set forth below in Paragraphs 5 and 6.  . . .

    6.  Exemptions – Critical Sectors. All workers who can work from home must do so. Workers in the following Critical Sectors, who are performing work that cannot be done at their home or residence through telework or virtual work and can be done only at a place of work outside of their home or residence, are exempted from the prohibition in paragraph 1 as set forth below. These critical services exemptions apply only to travel to and from an individual’s home or residence and place of work and an individual’s performance of work duties that cannot be done at their homes or residence. Travel may include transportation to and from child care or school settings as necessary to ensure the safe care of children. This list of Critical Sectors may be clarified, as deemed necessary by the Governor, to ensure the health, safety, and security of all Minnesotans.

    l.    Financial services. This category includes workers at banks, credit unions, insurance companies, insurance agencies, and other financial services workers identified in the CISA Guidance.

    x.   Construction and critical trades. This category includes workers in the skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers, HVAC and elevator technicians, and other related construction of all kind. This category also includes exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, moving and relocation services, security staff, operating engineers, and all other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of homes and residences and the Critical Sectors listed in this Executive Order.

    hh. Real Estate Transactions. This category is limited to workers who facilitate and finance real estate transactions and real estate services, including appraisers and title services.


  • 25 Mar 2020 10:17 AM | Wanda Schroeder (Administrator)

    The DLI has extended the continuing education reporting deadlines 90 days for anyone whose license expires in March, April, or May 2020 per Minn. Stat. § 326B.0981, subd. 13. Licensees will still have to submit a timely license renewal in order to avoid late fees, but the department will renew their licenses without all CE completed. DLI will follow up with these licensees to ensure CE compliance down the road.  Please contact Bonnie if you have other questions regarding this at 320-251-4382.


  • 24 Mar 2020 10:41 AM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

    Governor Tim Walz has issued Emergency Order 20-16 requiring non-medical entities, including builders and contractors, to inventory and report their supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which typically includes dust masks, rubber gloves, foot coverings and certain face shields (click here for more PPE details).  The Governor's order requires non-medical entities to begin taking inventory of their PPE supplies by no later than 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, March 25th, and report inventory results to the state at http://mn.gov/ppe.  There is no language in the Executive Order specifying by when you have to report the inventory results; only the March 25th deadline for BEGINNING to take the PPE inventory.  You can also make arrangements to donate PPE and other supplies toward fighting the coronavirus outbreak at the same link.  Watch the CMBA Blog for more details as they become available.

  • 18 Mar 2020 1:34 PM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

    (March 18, 2020) - CMBA has partnered with the Builders Association of MN (BAM) in asking the MN Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) to delay enforcement of the state's revised Building Codes due to complications and delays from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic:

    Director
    Department of Labor and Industry,

    In response to the health concerns related to COVID-19, the Builders Association of Minnesota would like to request that the International Building Code implementation in chapter 1305 be delayed 30 to 60 days. Given the unprecedented nature and gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic, we firmly believe this request is both reasonable and fair. Minnesota and the rest of the nation are currently faced with border closures, school closures, restaurant closures, postponement and cancelation of major league sports, events and entertainment.  Builders Association of Minnesota has several additional and specific reasons to support the granting of this request.

    First, the Department of Labor and Industry has canceled the classes they previously intended on holding. These classes were intended to be held prior to the implementation of the new code. However, because of COVID-19, these classes have now been postponed and will not be rescheduled until sometime after this new code goes into effect. Furthermore, during Governor Walz's recent press conference, he indicated that these types of restrictions with social distancing and prohibitions on group gatherings will extend past the intended March 31, 2020 implementation date.

    Second, the inspection staff located in cities, counties, and townships tasked with enforcing the codes, are under similar restrictions which will make it nearly impossible to collaborate on code education and training that would be necessary to the implementation and compliance with the codes in their jurisdictions. Additionally, based on a Building Official Limited Class attended in the past, a rushed implementation of the new code is not necessary, because the changes to the code are fairly inconsequential.

    Third, the Code Books that display the new code will likely be delayed because of the proposed social distancing and all the business closures that have currently been implemented.

    Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the current and future livelihood of our industry, and many others, is so uncertain the implementation of this code at its presently scheduled deadline would place undue burdens and economic pressures on contractors and designers.

    Respectfully, we ask that you grant builders and remodelers across Minnesota a critically important delay and postponement from the current implementation date of the new code.

    Very truly yours,

    Grace Keliher
    BAM Executive Vice President


  • 18 Mar 2020 12:59 PM | Steve Gottwalt (Administrator)

    (March 18, 2020) - CMBA reached-out to area communities in light of the evolving responses to the COVID-19 coronavirus situation, asking about changes to plan review, permitting and inspections processes.  Here is what we know so far:

    ST. CLOUD - (see blog below w/ memo from Lee Gladitsch)

    SARTELL - Chief Building Official, Jeff Nelson (320-258-7317, jeff.nelson@sartellmn.com), said he is encouraging all submissions be sent electronically if possible.  Otherwise, they are asking contractors to use the City's drop-box just outside City Hall.  They are following social distancing protocols on job sites, and are at about 90% capacity for processing plans, permits and inspections.  If in doubt, give Jeff a call or email him.

    SAUK RAPIDS- The Sauk Rapids Government Center is closed to the public. However, all City employees are still reporting to work and conducting their normal duties. Building permits can be submitted electronically or via the U.S. Postal Service. Plan reviews are still taking place. The City of Sauk Rapids has activated a link on the City’s website which allows for payments on building permits. New construction inspections will continue as will exterior inspections on occupied homes, which include roofs, siding, decks, detached garages, sheds, etc.  Occupied home inspections will take place on a case by case basis.  The Building Official will need to maintain a 6 ft social distance when on site for any inspection. Regardless of where the inspection is located and what type of inspection it is, inspections will not occur if anyone on the job site is sick, has been in contact with anyone who is sick, or has been in an airport within the last 14 days of the inspection. If in doubt, contact Jason Fleming, Building Official (320-258-5310, jfleming@ci.sauk-rapids.mn.us)

    ST. JOSEPH - Chief Building Official, Mike Wallen (612-719-8666, mwallen@inspectroninc.com) told CMBA they are "trying to keep things simple and straight forward" as possible during the coronavirus situation. He indicated no internal process changes.  However, they are avoiding basement inspections at this time, and encouraging contractors to submit via electronic.  Mike said he will accept digital photos for inspections if they are clear and precise.  If in doubt, give Mike a call or email him.  He also plans to send-out an official memo soon.

    WAITE PARK - (see blog below w/ memo from Jon Noerenburg and added notes from Adri Brenny)

    FOLEY - Chief Building Official, Nancy Scott (320-293-5298), is a contracted resource and indicated no change in processes at this time.  If in doubt, give Nancy a call.

CMBA:
1124 West Saint Germain Street, St. Cloud MN 56301
320.251.4382 info@cmbaonline.org | www.cmbaonline.org
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