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Summary of April 17, 2019 Member Meeting

posted Jun 3, 2019, 8:03 AM by Robert DuPont

Alliance for Regulatory Coordination

Summary of Member Meeting

Meeting Date: April 17, 2019

Location: Sun Prairie Fire Department Station 2, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

The meeting was convened at 9:05 a.m. by Bob DuPont, of Regulatory Guidance and Design, LLC.

Regarding Building Safety Month, DuPont said that the office of Governor Evers has agreed to issue a proclamation as requested by the ARC. DuPont said he plans on issuing a press release about the proclamation and issuing a press release during each week of May, reflecting the weekly themes developed by the International Code Council.

Attendees introduced themselves and identified the organizations they were representing, and at the request of Jim Boullion, shared their concerns or involvement with solar power installations. Jim is the Government Affairs Director for RENEW Wisconsin, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a stronger, healthier, more vibrant Wisconsin through the advancement of renewable energy. RENEW Wisconsin works on policies and programs that support solar power, wind power, biogas, local hydropower, geothermal energy, and electric vehicles.

Regarding solar power, Jim Boullion referred to his handout of notes from a meeting between the DSPS, RENEW Wisconsin, and various solar company representatives, held on December 18, 2018. As discussed during that meeting, Jim said that major concerns for solar contractors are local permitting, inspection and interconnection problems that increase the cost of solar power. Jim said that RENEW Wisconsin would like to work with ARC members on issues related to inconsistencies between municipalities relative to permit and inspection procedures and the need for training of inspectors.

RENEW Wisconsin would like the State Uniform Dwelling Code (UDC) changed to add “solar” as a project type relative to the UDC permit and inspection process. They would also like to see more standardization in permit and inspection fees among municipalities.

Dialogue resulted in general agreement on the following general goals for a potential joint effort between RENEW Wisconsin and the ARC.
  • To develop a model for more standardized permit and inspection procedures among municipalities.
  • To develop a model for more standardized permit and inspection fees among municipalities.
  • To use the International Building Code and International Residential Code as models for standardized administration of solar permits, inspections and fees.
  • To explore avenues towards standardizing code administration for solar power installations at Wisconsin homes initially constructed before June 1, 1980, when the UDC went into effect.
  • To encourage the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services and Wisconsin municipalities to utilize the model permit and inspection procedures, and model fee schedule, expected to be developed through the joint effort between RENEW Wisconsin and the ARC.

DuPont suggested formation of a workgroup, made up of interested ARC members, to meet with RENEW Wisconsin and representatives of the solar industry to work towards the abovementioned goals. He said such a workgroup could be formed if there was no objection from Classic ARC Members.

Concerning solar training for inspectors, it was agreed that RENEW Wisconsin would work directly with the various inspector groups throughout Wisconsin, including: the Northwest Wisconsin Building Inspectors Association; the Southwestern Wisconsin Building Inspectors Association; the Wisconsin Code Officials Alliance; the Wisconsin Chapter of the International Association of Electrical Inspectors; and the Wisconsin State Fire Inspectors Association. It was also suggested that RENEW Wisconsin work directly with groups representing first responders, including: the Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association; the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin; and the Wisconsin State Firefighters Association, to coordinate training on safety relative to solar energy installations.

Regarding the ARC request for repeal of plan review participation fees in the state budget bill, DuPont gave an update on ARC working with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities and Wisconsin Economic Development Association to send a joint letter to members of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance, requesting this repeal. He said a letter, similar to what was sent to Governor-Elect Evers in December 2018, had been suggested to these groups, with hopes the letter could be sent in April.

Regarding ARC issues raised to the DSPS in 2019, DuPont reported that he had received no response from the DSPS following the ARC letters. There was agreement that DuPont should ask DSPS leadership for their reaction to the ARC concerns, recommendations and requests communicated to the agency. DuPont said he would contact the DSPS for a status update, and would keep ARC members informed.

Brian Juarez said the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin Chapter of the International Association of Electrical Inspectors had voted to oppose making any changes to the trigger for electrical permits contained in the State Electrical Code. He said he would make sure that decision was formally communicated to the Alliance as soon as possible. DuPont said that such opposition would result in the ARC being neutral on the matter, since the Wisconsin Chapter of the IAEI is a Classic ARC member.

Regarding DSPS fee adjustments, services, staffing and lapses, DuPont reminded that the DSPS had recently obtained legislative clearance to lower various credentialing fees for professions historically regulated by the former Department of Regulation and Licensing. He asked whether ARC members would like ARC to request fee reductions for fees set under Chapters 101 and 145, Wis. Statutes, or whether ARC members would rather request additional staff for DSPS safety and buildings programs.

There was agreement to focus on requesting additional staff to bring more of a balance between revenue and expenditures in the DSPS safety and building program area. The first step would be for DuPont to draft a letter to the Joint Committee on Finance, expressing support for Governor Evers’ recommendation to add 10 new FTE positions for the DSPS safety and building programs. The draft letter would be sent to all ARC members for review and approval prior to it being finalized and sent.

Jim Smith and Scott Satula both said more DSPS staff resources and focus are needed in the area of code and standards development, at both the state and national level. They also applauded local officials now involved in such state and national efforts.

The next meeting of Alliance Members was set for July 18, 2019, from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. The meeting will be held at Sun Prairie Fire Department Station 2, at 2598 W. Main Street, Sun Prairie, WI.

Please Note: The date of the next meeting of Alliance Members was subsequently changed to:
Thursday, July 25, 2019.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:25 a.m.


Meeting Attendees

Organization Represented

Adam Gusse

Sunvest Solar (Guest)

Brian Flannery

Wisconsin Code Officials Alliance

Brian Juarez

International Association of Electrical Inspectors-Wisconsin Chapter

Cari Helberg

HellermannTyton (Guest)

Corey Gall

Wisconsin Fire Protection Coalition

Dave Bloom

Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association

Ed Lisinski

Wisconsin Code Officials Alliance

Ed Ruckriegel

Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin

James Smith

Wisconsin Code Officials Alliance

Jim Boullion

Renew Wisconsin (Guest)

Jeff Pollard

Wisconsin State Fire Inspectors Association

Joe Hertel

Wisconsin Electrical Trades Council

Joel Meier

Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin

Mark Mlekush

Sun Prairie Fire Department (Host)

Nick Korth

HellermannTyton (Guest)

Nick Matthes

Midwest Renewable Energy Association (Guest)

Scott Satula

Wisconsin Code Officials Alliance

Scott Wegner

Wisconsin State Fire Inspectors Association

Bob DuPont

Regulatory Guidance and Design, LLC


This summary was prepared by Bob DuPont, Regulatory Guidance and Design, LLC.

It was issued on June 3, 2019.