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Summary of May 3, 2017 Member Meeting

posted May 19, 2017, 12:06 PM by Robert DuPont

Alliance for Regulatory Coordination

Summary of Member Meeting

Meeting Date: May 3, 2017

Location: Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin

The meeting was convened at 8:10 a.m. by Bob DuPont, of Regulatory Guidance and Design, LLC. Attendees introduced themselves and identified the organizations they were representing.

Regarding Building Safety Month DuPont reported that he requested his State Senator and Representative to once again propose a joint resolution recognizing May as Building Safety Month in Wisconsin. Representative Hesselbein’s Office had initiated a joint resolution based on the one that passed in 2015. With input from the ARC, the draft resolution is being updated to reflect the theme for 2017. As a result the resolution has not yet been scheduled for a floor vote in either house.

Regarding possible carbon monoxide update legislation DuPont reported that the office of Representative Kerkman has requested updated briefing materials from the ARC for Rep. Kerkman’s use when routing the draft bill for additional legislative sponsors. DuPont said he would continue to work towards introduction of the bill during the current session of the legislature.

Regarding the DSPS plan review delegation moratorium DuPont recapped the April 21st, meeting between Kirsten Reader, of the DSPS; Will Neitzel, of the Governor’s Office; and representatives of the Alliance for Regulatory Coordination and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities.

DuPont said the audits seemed to focus on plan review as being the only safety net in place. He said it was not clear to him whether the DSPS ever looked at the completed projects to determine how the communities programs of plan review, permits and inspections worked as a system.

Brian Flannery said that he spoke to staff from the City of Oshkosh, who told him they had little notice from the DSPS of the impending audit. The audit result letter was thought to be confusing because of the term “recommendation” being used frequently – instead of citing any applicable “requirements”.

Richard Paur said that it seems reasonable for the DSPS to try to find out how municipal programs are doing; and that uniform code application seems like a reasonable goal. Ed Lisinski agreed that audits are not a bad thing; but the delegation moratorium, and lack of disseminated standards, is problematic.

Richard reminded that the International Code Council has both plan review and inspection checklists available for state and municipal regulators to use. He suggested that perhaps the state should encourage or require use of checklists based on the ICC lists, with an addendum specific to Wisconsin code and statute requirements. He said the City of Milwaukee is not using the ICC checklists but is considering use of more such checklists as a way of providing more uniform services.

Richard described how, in Milwaukee, the current building boom has resulted in designers tackling projects larger than they had previously been involved with. As a result, he believes more incomplete plans are being submitted for review, which places a bigger burden on plan reviewers, and ultimately on inspectors, if such plans are approved with significant conditions of approval. Richard suggested that perhaps there should be a standardized way for municipal and state officials to refer designers to the licensing boards of the DSPS if they repeatedly submit incomplete or substandard plans for review.

Matt Mertens said that incomplete plans approved by the DSPS also put too much pressure on municipal inspectors. He said it is very difficult to explain to contractors that the plan approved by the state is not acceptable for constructing a building that will be in compliance with the applicable codes.

DuPont reviewed the possible ARC reactions listed on the meeting agenda: wait to see when the DSPS ends their moratorium; request a budget bill amendment that would prohibit delegation moratoriums; or request comprehensive legislation that would empower municipalities to perform sole plan review and inspections. DuPont suggested that additional ideas could be considered based on today’s dialogue.

DuPont suggested that consideration be given to recommending audits be performed by a team consisting of representatives of several entities, such as the ARC, the Wisconsin Code Officials Alliance and the League of Wisconsin Municipalities. He also suggested consideration of using third party regulatory audit services, similar to what is used in the federal program for manufactured homes; although such services would likely involve additional costs to participating municipalities.

Matt Mertens suggested consideration of a peer review program where peers from similar sized municipalities would be grouped and coordinated to provide reviews and critiques for each other. He said that getting audited by DSPS plan reviewers, who themselves often miss items during their own plan review, could be unsettling for many municipal programs.

It was agreed that a workgroup should be formed to develop recommendations to all ARC members relative to the current DSPS moratorium on delegations and on long term improvements that would help solidify the DSPS role as a coordinating entity for municipal plan review and inspection programs. It was agreed that the Wisconsin Code Officials Alliance would take the lead in forming the workgroup, with members including, at least, Ed Lisinski, Richard Paur, Brian Flannery and Matt Mertens. DuPont said he would work with WCOA to have recommendations ready for all ARC members to consider during the next ARC member meeting in July.

In response to a question from DuPont, Jeff Beiriger said that he has not heard complaints from plumbing contractors about the plan review delegation moratorium. Jeff said that contractors want timely services, with some concerned that DSPS plan reviews lately have not been as complete as they should be.

It was mentioned that the DSPS has also recently audited the plumbing plan review operations of several municipalities. It was agreed that DuPont should request, from Kirsten Reader of the DSPS, information about the plumbing audits; with that information then to be shared with ARC members.

Richard Paur suggested that the moratorium/delegation workgroup consider a system where municipal candidates for DSPS delegation are required to demonstrate their abilities before delegation takes place. DuPont said such a policy should be implemented through administrative rules, but he agreed that all ideas for improvement of the delegation program should be considered by the workgroup.

Regarding the DSPS proposal to limit certified municipality review of building alterations DuPont recapped that the DSPS has proposed a code change that would significantly impact many municipal plan review programs. The proposal includes changes to Section SPS 361.60 (5) (c) 3., Wisconsin Administrative Code, which delineates some of the types of projects for which plans may be reviewed by certified municipalities.

This proposed change would significantly reduce the number of plans that could be reviewed by DSPS certified municipalities. After discussion of the problems associated with this proposal, it was agreed that the moratorium/delegation workgroup should address this matter also.

DuPont said his goal would be to have a recommendation developed on this topic as soon as possible – so that ARC members can consider whether the Alliance should submit comments to the DSPS and perhaps legislative committees involved in review of the DSPS code change package concerning update of the Wisconsin Commercial Building Code.

The next meeting of Alliance Members was scheduled for July 26, 2017, from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. The meeting will be held at the offices of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 a.m.

Meeting Attendees

Organization Represented

Brian Flannery

Wisconsin Code Officials Alliance

Corey Gall

Wisconsin Fire Protection Coalition

Dave Bloom

Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association

Ed Lisinski

Wisconsin Code Officials Alliance

Jeff Beiriger

Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors of Wisconsin

Joe Hertel

Wisconsin Electrical Trades Council

Joel Meier

Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin

John Schulze

Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin

Matt Mertens

Wisconsin Code Officials Alliance

Paul Scott

Southwestern Wisconsin Building Inspectors Association

Richard Paur

Wisconsin Code Officials Alliance

Scott Wegner

Wisconsin State Fire Inspectors Association

Tim Schmitz

International Code Council

Bob DuPont

Regulatory Guidance and Design, LLC

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

It was issued on May 19, 2017.