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Summary of February 3rd Meeting

posted Feb 23, 2012, 6:06 PM by Robert DuPont   [ updated Feb 23, 2012, 6:08 PM ]

Alliance for Regulatory Coordination

Summary of Member Meeting

Meeting Date: February 3, 2012

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

The meeting was convened at 9:35 a.m. by Bob DuPont, of Regulatory Guidance and Design, LLC. Attendees introduced themselves and identified the organization they were representing. Bob welcomed Douglas Gallus, representing the Association of Licensed Architects – Wisconsin, ARC’s newest member.

Bob DuPont reminded attendees about the Wisconsin 2011 Bill Draft, LRB – 3205/1, which has been spearheaded by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services. He said the draft appears to contain many minor fixes and clarifications of current law. However, he suggested that the portion of the draft proposing to discontinue use of the International Energy Conservation Code as the base energy code for Wisconsin was more than a minor change. DuPont said discontinuing the use of the IECC in Wisconsin could have a negative effect on effective and efficient administration and enforcement of the Wisconsin Commercial Building Code, because the IECC is meant to be used in conjunction with the International Building Code and International Mechanical Code. Bob suggested that Alliance members let the Administration know of any concerns they have in this regard.

Amy Bliss said that the Wisconsin Housing Alliance had already expressed concern over the proposed reduction in the number of members on the Dwelling Code Council, and the proposed deletion of the Inspector Review Board. She said that she understood that the Inspector Review Board portion of the draft was going to be deleted due to concerns of more than one organization. Amy said she understood the draft bill to be on a relatively fast track, suggesting that time was of the essence for communicating any concerns to the Administration.

DuPont briefly recapped the three letters sent to DSPS leadership last fall, and the meeting he had with Nancy Mistele, Administrator of the Safety and Buildings Division, on November 18, 2011, and asked attendees to share their recent communications experiences with DSPS leadership.

Jeff Beiriger said he was concerned about a lack of communications from DSPS leadership, giving the recently released Bill Draft as an example. He said that the PHCC – WI was not contacted about the proposed changes to Wisconsin plumbing law. Jeff said that the lack of advisory code council meetings and the surprise release of the Bill Draft was a cause for concern in his opinion.

Amy Bliss said that DSPS Secretary Dave Ross has been visiting manufactured home communities at the invitation of the Wisconsin Housing Alliance. She said Secretary Ross seems interested in concerns and challenges facing customers of the Department. Amy and Brad Boycks suggested Alliance members contact Secretary Ross to initiate communications with him.

Regarding the new administrative rule development process, DuPont said he understands it will likely take 24 to 28 months to complete a code update project. He reminded attendees that the new process provides more opportunities for the public to comment on proposed rules and their perceived impacts. However, Bob also said that the Governor’s Office has instructed agencies to submit proposed rules to their office within 30 days of holding department public hearings on proposed rules. He said that leaves little time for the Department to consult with advisory code councils after public hearings, as they have traditionally done.

Attendees discussed their perceptions regarding the current code development attitudes and activities within the DSPS. It appears to some that the Department is moving away from consulting with advisory code councils. ARC members expressed agreement that code councils should continue to be utilized and that Wisconsin adjustments to national model code requirements should continue to be considered by the Division in conjunction with such councils.

Discussion next focused on the idea to create a trust fund for revenues paid to the Safety and Buildings Division. DuPont distributed a list of 58 professions regulated under the historical “regulation and licensing” part of DSPS. He suggested ARC members consider reaching out to those professions to see if they too would like to stop the lapsing of their fee dollars to the state’s general fund. Bob said the Department licenses nearly 450,000 individuals and businesses now that it also encompasses the 75 credential types historically regulated by the Safety and Buildings, and Environmental and Regulatory Services Divisions.

DuPont also distributed a table which showed Department of Safety and Professional Services lapses to the General Fund. He said, based on the amount of past and planned lapses from DSPS, it is likely that other DSPS customer groups would also like to see a stop to lapses from the Department. Bob said that for fiscal year 2011-12 the planned DSPS lapse of $7,796,057 equals 22.7% of the DSPS program revenue operating budget. Following is a summary of the lapse information distributed at the meeting.

Past Lapses from the Dept. of Reg. and Licensing

$ 23,807,800

Past Lapses from the Safety and Buildings Division

$ 10,799,150

TOTAL past lapses since state fiscal year 2001-2002

$ 34,606,950

Lapses planned from DSPS during the next four years

$ 18,358,457

GRAND TOTAL of  DSPS LAPSES, past and planned

$ 52,965,407

Attendees agreed they would like to learn more about how trust funds operate and to see if there are any potential drawbacks related to the use of a trust fund to hold fees paid to the Safety and Buildings Division or to DSPS. They also agreed to consider involving other DSPS customer groups in efforts to stop lapsing of funds from the Department. DuPont said he would follow-up with three actions: 1) look into other trust funds, specifically those used to fund the operation of a state agency, if any; 2) make contact with other customer groups of DSPS about lapses; and 3) report his findings to ARC members before or during the next member meeting.

Regarding better coordination of continuing education services between DSPS and customer organizations, DuPont asked for additional suggestions, ideas and observations. Attendees discussed their perceptions of the current situation. DuPont suggested ARC set a meeting with Nancy Mistele on the subject of continuing education coordination, to facilitate dialogue between ARC and the Department. There was general agreement that a meeting should be requested. DuPont said he would contact Mistele to arrange for such a meeting.

Due to time constraints, the planned discussion about progress to date, on the top five areas of interest to ARC members, was deferred to the next meeting of ARC members.

Douglas Gallus asked that consideration be given to discussing how the contractor registration program is affecting the provision of architectural services in Wisconsin. He said that the Association of Licensed Architects would like to see the state allow registered architects to obtain building permits without needing a contractor registration. He said that since architects are relied upon to design and then supervise the construction of their design that they should be allowed to obtain building permits. No concerns were voiced about the idea brought forward by Douglas.

The next meeting of Alliance Members was scheduled for March 30, 2012, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., at the headquarters of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin, 5330 Wall St., Madison.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:40 a.m.


Meeting Attendees

Organization Represented

Amy Bliss

Wisconsin Housing Alliance

Annie Early

Wisconsin Fire Protection Coalition

Bill Babcock

American Institute of Architects - Wisconsin Society

Bob Kleinheinz

Wisconsin Fire Protection Coalition

Brad Boycks

Wisconsin Builders Association

Chris Schoenbeck

Wisconsin Fire Protection Coalition

Dan Gengler

Wisconsin Alliance for Fire Safety

David Boldt

Structural Engineers Association of Wisconsin

Douglas Gallus

Association of Licensed Architects - Wisconsin

Henry Kosarzycki

American Institute of Architects - Wisconsin Society

Jeff Bateman

Wisconsin Fire Protection Coalition

Jeff Beiriger

Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors of Wisconsin

John Mielke

Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin

Kevin Bierce

Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association

Matthew Mertens

Wisconsin Code Officials Alliance

Richard Paur

Wisconsin Code Officials Alliance

Russ Sanders

National Fire Protection Association

Scott Satula

Wisconsin Code Officials Alliance

Steve Breitlow

Plumbers Local 75

Steve Froemming

International Association of Electrical Inspectors, Wisconsin Chapter

Thomas Wendt

Wisconsin State Fire Inspectors Association

Tom Clark

Wisconsin State Fire Inspectors Association

Tom Johnson

Wisconsin Code Officials Alliance

Bob DuPont

Regulatory Guidance and Design, LLC

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

It was issued on February 23, 2012.