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2. Statutory Authority. Sections 101.12, 145.02 (g), 145.175 and 145.26, Stats.
3. Related Statute or Rule. Section 227.116, Stats.
4. Explanation of Agency Authority. Chapters 101 and 145, Stats., grant the Department general authority for protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public by establishing reasonable and effective safety standards for the construction, repair and maintenance of dwellings, public buildings and places of employment and for the protection of the waters of the state.
5. Summary of Proposed Rules. The Division of Safety and Buildings within the Department of Commerce is responsible for administering and enforcing safety and health rules relating to the construction and inspection of dwellings, public buildings and places of employment.
The proposed rules consist of miscellaneous changes in chapter Comm 2 and various other chapters in order to address inconsistencies related to the administrative processing of plan submittals to the Safety and Buildings Division.
The proposed rules also correct a typographical error in recently enacted rules pertaining to continuing education obligations for the renewal registrations as automatic fire sprinkler contractor-maintenance. The proposed rules will require 12 hours of continuing education instead of 24 hours.
6. Summary of, and Comparison with, Existing or Proposed Federal Regulations. The activities to be regulated by the rule are specific to the Department's administrative procedures relating to plan review processing times. There are no existing or proposed federal regulations that address the activities to be regulated by the rule.
7. Comparison with Rules in Adjacent States. The proposed rules consist of administrative changes specific to the Department's procedures relating to plan review processing times. An internet review of Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota building and construction rules did not reveal processing times for similar plan review activities.
8. Summary of factual Data and Analytical Methodologies.
A periodic Legislative Audit of the Department's administration of the Multifamily Code program included a review of the Safety and Buildings Division's handling of plan reviews relative to codified processing times. An evaluation by the Division has concluded that the code provisions do not reflect how processing times are determined in light of current management practices and technological improvements that have occurred over the past several years to facilitate the submittal process.
9. Analysis and Supporting Documents used to Determine Effect on Small Business or in Preparation of Economic Impact Report.
The proposed rules will not have an impact on small business in that the revisions clarify Department plan review processes. An economic impact report was not required pursuant to s. 227.137, Stats.
The proposed rules and an analysis of the proposed rules are available on the Internet at the Safety and Buildings Division Web site at Paper copies may be obtained without cost from Roberta Ward, at the Department of Commerce, Program Development Bureau, P.O. Box 2689, Madison, WI 53701-2689, or Email at, or at telephone (608) 266-8741 or (608) 264-8777 (TTY). Copies will also be available at the public hearing.
Environmental analysis
Notice is hereby given that the Department has considered the environmental impact of the proposed rules. In accordance with chapter Comm 1, the proposed rules are a Type III action. A Type III action normally does not have the potential to cause significant environmental effects and normally does not involve unresolved conflicts in the use of available resources. The Department has reviewed these rules and finds no reason to believe that any unusual conditions exist. At this time, the Department has issued this notice to serve as a finding of no significant impact.
Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
1. Types of small businesses that will be affected by the rules.
The proposed rule revisions will affect individuals and businesses that submitted plans for review to the Department Commerce, Safety and Buildings Division. Plans required to be submitted to Division for construction or installation include, commercial buildings, plumbing, elevators, boilers, fire protection systems, amusement rides, swimming pools, ski lifts and tows, private onsite wastewater treatment systems and manufactured home communities. This would involve a variety of businesses, those engaged in engineering, architecture, and construction that typically submit plans on behalf of owners of any of the aforementioned structures or components thereof.
2. Reporting, bookkeeping and other procedures required for compliance with the rules.
The proposed rule revisions do not necessitate any new or additional recording, bookkeeping or other procedures for compliance.
3. Types of professional skills necessary for compliance with the rules.
The proposed rule revisions do not necessitate any new or additional professional skills for compliance.
4. Rules have a significant economic impact on small businesses.
No. Rules not submitted to Small Business Regulatory Review Board
Fiscal Estimate
No fiscal impact anticipated.
The small business regulatory coordinator for the Department of Commerce is Carol Dunn, who may be contacted at telephone (608) 267-0297, or Email at
Notice of Hearing
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that pursuant to chapter 101, Stats., the Department of Commerce will hold a public hearing on proposed rules under chapters Comm 14 and Comm 60 to 66 relating to the Fire Prevention Code and the Commercial Building Code.
The public hearing will be held as follows:
Date and Time:
Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 9:30 a.m.
Location: First Floor Conference Room
Thompson Commerce Center
201 West Washington Avenue
Interested persons are invited to appear at the hearing and present comments on the proposed rules. Persons making oral presentations are requested to submit their comments in writing. Persons submitting comments will not receive individual responses. The hearing record on this proposed rulemaking will remain open until January 5, 2007, to permit submittal of written comments from persons who are unable to attend the hearing or who wish to supplement testimony offered at the hearing. Written comments should be submitted to James Quast, at the Department of Commerce, P.O. Box 2689, Madison, WI 53701-2689, or Email at
This hearing is held in an accessible facility. If you have special needs or circumstances that may make communication or accessibility difficult at the hearing, please call (608) 266-8741 or (608) 264-8777 (TTY) at least 10 days prior to the hearing date. Accommodations such as interpreters, English translators, or materials in audio tape format will, to the fullest extent possible, be made available upon a request from a person with a disability.
1. Statutes Interpreted
2. Statutory Authority
3. Related Statute or Rule
4. Explanation of Agency Authority
Under the statutes cited, the Department of Commerce protects public health, safety, and welfare by promulgating comprehensive requirements for design, construction, use and maintenance of public buildings and places of employment, and for fire departments. The Department also updates these requirements as necessary to be consistent with nationally recognized standards that are incorporated by reference into the Wisconsin Commercial Building Code (WCBC) and the Wisconsin Fire Prevention Code, specifically, the building code requirements developed by the International Code Council® (ICC) and the fire prevention requirements developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
5. Summary of Proposed Rules
5A. Summary of Chapters Comm 7, 9 and 14 Relating to Fire Prevention and Comm 60 to 66 Relating to the Commercial Building Code
Currently, the Department adopts by reference the 2000 editions of the ICC suite of building codes - the International Building Code® (IBC), the International Energy Conservation Code®, (IECC), the International Mechanical Code® (IMC) and the International Fuel Gas Code® (IFGC) - and makes Wisconsin modifications to these codes within the WCBC. The Department also adopts by reference the 2000 edition of the NFPA fire prevention code, NFPA 1. The department proposes to adopt the 2006 editions of these ICC and NFPA codes.
Many of the current Wisconsin modifications under the WCBC are proposed to be repealed as a result of changes occurring in the 2006 editions of ICC codes. The proposed update of the WCBC would apply to design and construction of new buildings and modifications to existing buildings.
The following summaries identify the substantive changes based on the topic area reviewed by the Department's various advisory councils.
5B. General Requirements Under the IBC
The IBC general requirements that require elevators to accommodate an ambulance-type stretcher in buildings 4 or more stories in height have been revised to increase the minimal length from 76 inches to 84 inches. This dimensional increase will require the use of a 4,000 pound elevator to satisfy the requirement. Currently, a 2500 pound elevator is acceptable to accommodate the 76-inch ambulance-type stretcher. The current Wisconsin modification to require ambulance-type stretchers in all health care facilities and outpatient clinics regardless of the height of the building will be eliminated, and the IBC requirement to provide the larger elevators only in those buildings 4 stories or more in height will be maintained without modification.
5C. Fire Protection Systems
The prominent change with incorporating the latest edition of the IBC relating to fire protection systems is the requirement for automatic fire sprinkler system protection throughout all buildings with a Group R (Residential Occupancies) fire area, regardless of the number of dwelling units or the size of the building. Similar to the IBC, a proposed Wisconsin provision would not require providing sprinklers throughout all townhouses of 3 stories or less. For these types of townhouses, the Wisconsin proposed modifications reflect the statutory options and thresholds under s. 101.14 (4m), Stats., requiring either two-hour fire resistance construction or sprinkler protection when the building contains more than 20 dwelling units or the accumulative floor areas of the dwelling units exceed 16,000 square feet.
Rules are proposed to clarify the necessity of providing automatic fire sprinkler protection for buildings greater than 60 feet in height as required by the statutes. A proposed Wisconsin modification will address the protection of exterior balconies and ground-floor patios serving dwelling units in buildings of Type V construction and protected by a 13R sprinkler system
5D. Fire Safety
Some of the current Wisconsin modifications to the IBC relating to fire safety, under sections Comm 62.0706 to 62.0715, are being eliminated because they are covered under the latest edition of the IBC. No new Wisconsin modifications are being added in this topic area.
5E. Means of Egress and Accessibility
The major change starting with the 2003 edition of the IBC relating to means of egress (IBC chapter 10) was the reorganization and renumbering of the requirements to be more user-friendly.
Many of the current Wisconsin modifications to the IBC relating to means of egress are being eliminated because they are covered under the more recent editions of the IBC. Since most of the section numbers changed with the renumbering of the IBC, the current Wisconsin modifications that will be maintained have been repealed and recreated using the new IBC numbering system. No new Wisconsin modifications are being added. [See sections Comm 62.1004 to Comm 62.1018.]
The major change starting with the 2003 edition of the IBC relating to accessibility was the inclusion of fair housing design requirements, for consistency with the federal fair housing law. The Wisconsin modifications to the accessibility requirements are repealed and recreated, since the reprinting of the entire chapter to include the federal fair housing requirements is no longer necessary. Many of the retained Wisconsin modifications are those based on Wisconsin fair housing laws and other requirements relating to clear floor space and maneuverability within bathrooms in dwelling units and sleeping units. No new Wisconsin modifications are being added. [See Comm 62.1101 to Comm 62.1110.]
5F. Structural
Some of the current Wisconsin modifications to the IBC relating to structural requirements are being eliminated because they are addressed under the more recent editions of the IBC; or they are no longer needed, for other reasons. One current modification that is to be eliminated will result in the adoption of requirements in IBC sections 1711 to 1714 for structural tests. These tests do not duplicate the supervising-professional process under s. Comm 61.40, and provide information and assurance when utilizing unusual construction practices or components.
5G. Energy
Many of the current Wisconsin modifications to the IECC are being eliminated, because the 2006 edition of the IECC and the 2004 edition of the ASHRAE 90.1 standard reflect these requirements. The 2006 edition of the IECC has been significantly revised in comparison to the 2000 edition. Proposed by the U.S. Department of Energy, the energy conservation requirements for residential buildings have been simplified in order to achieve greater compliance and enforcement. The IECC energy conservation requirements regarding commercial buildings reflect the 2004 edition of the ASHRAE 90.1 Standard, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings. In light of these IECC revisions, the Department is proposing to eliminate many of the Wisconsin modifications currently under chapter Comm 63, subchapter III. The 2006 IECC provisions and proposed Wisconsin modifications include:
Prescriptive envelope requirements for low-rise residential buildings with no limit on the amount of glazed openings.
A new residential energy performance section.
For commercial buildings, the required use of energy recovery ventilation systems in certain situations where individual fan systems have a design supply air capacity of 5,000 cfm or greater.
For commercial buildings, the triggers for using economizers is equal to or greater than 33,000 Btu/h for simple cooling systems and equal to or greater than 54,000 Btu/h for complex cooling systems.
The 2006 editions of the IMC and the IFGC are proposed to serve as the basis for the Commercial Building Code's requirements under chapters Comm 64 and 65 concerning heating, ventilation and air conditioning. A number of current Wisconsin modifications under these chapters are being eliminated in light of the 2003 and 2006 revisions for the IMC and IFGC. The proposed rules do not significantly alter the current Wisconsin modifications regarding ventilation. However, the proposed rules do provide some flexibility in allowing the use of engineered natural ventilation as an option. Other IMC revisions, IFGC revisions and proposed Wisconsin modifications include:
Expanding the time period defining seasonal buildings from May 1 through October 15 with respect to not having to provide heat.
Referencing the 2001 edition of the American Institute of Architects Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospital and Health Care Facilities regarding heating and ventilation requirements.
Providing the option to determine the minimum kitchen hood exhaust quantities through engineering analysis.
Incorporating chapter 12 of the IMC regarding hydronic piping.
Establishing provisions for gaseous hydrogen systems.
5I. Alteration and Change of Occupancy
The Department is proposing to incorporate the 2006 edition of the International Existing Buildings Code ® (IEBC) as part of the WCBC. The IEBC provides clarity in identifying which code provisions apply for repairs, alterations, additions and changes in occupancies to existing buildings or portions thereof. The IEBC and the associated Wisconsin modifications will be incorporated as chapter Comm 66 under the Commercial Building Code. The IEBC also includes provisions concerning historic buildings. In light of this, the current administrative rules under chapter Comm 70, Historic Buildings, are proposed to be eliminated. The IEBC also provides an evaluation methodology as an option to determine compliance for repairs, alterations, additions and changes in occupancy.
5J. Fire Prevention
The major change from the 2000 edition of the NFPA fire prevention code, NFPA 1, to the 2006 edition was to enroll numerous requirements from other NFPA codes and standards that previously were included only through cross-references to those codes and standards. In addition, many of the current Wisconsin modifications to NFPA 1 are being eliminated because they are covered under the 2006 edition, or they are no longer needed, for other reasons. For example, much of the administration portion of NFPA 1 that was previously deleted by Comm 14 is now retained, and merged with Wisconsin-specific administrative elements which devolve from statutory directives to the Department and local fire chiefs.
6. Summary of, and Comparison with, Existing or Proposed Federal Regulations
General Building Code
Code of Federal Regulations
An Internet-based search for “federal commercial building code" and “building code regulations" in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) did not identify any federal regulations pertaining to these topics.
Federal Register
Links to Admin. Code and Statutes in this Register are to current versions, which may not be the version that was referred to in the original published document.