The Blueprint: "Plain English" Summaries on Recently Passed Reforms

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ALSO: DSPS Update on Electrical Code: Attention Electricians • New Commercial Building Codes Goes into Effect May 1st • More WHEDA Loans Coming for New Construction as a Result of 2017 WI Act 277 •  Madison Mayor Paul Soglin Claims Democrat Primary is a "Two-Person" Race •  Senator Roth Gets an Opponent • 2017 Wisconsin Act 330: Safe Buildings with Fewer Carbon Monoxide Detectors • From NAHB: Safe, Affordable Homes Win at Code Hearings


"Plain English" Summaries on Recently Passed Wetlands and Statute of Repose Reforms

 Executive Director Brad Boycks and Immediate Past President David Belman attended bill signing.

Recently, Governor Walker signed into law two pieces of legislation strongly supported by the WBA.  One bill, now 2017 Wisconsin Act 183, will allow greater flexibilities to develop and build in areas that have state regulated and artificial wetlands.  2017 Wisconsin Act 235 will also change the numbers of years a builder and remodeler can be exposed to a lawsuit from 10 to 7 years.

After each piece of legislation is signed into law and receives an Act number, a summary of the new law is written by the Wisconsin Legislative Council.  “Wisconsin Legislative Council Act Memos” provide lawmakers and the general public a “plain English” summary of all recently passed legislation to provide guidance on how this law change can now be implemented.

To get a greater understanding of all of the items contained in the wetland reform bill, now 2017 Wisconsin Act 183, you can click here for the Wisconsin Legislative Council Memo on 2017 Wisconsin Act 183.

Finally, you can click here for the Wisconsin Legislative Council Memo on 2017 Wisconsin Act 235, which changes the number of years for the “statute or repose” for building and remodeling projects along with a number of other significant reforms.

We are still waiting for the final memo on the development bill that contains a number of big wins for housing, and are hoping to publish that information in the next edition of The Blueprint.


DSPS Update on Electrical Code: Attention Electricians

The Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) - Division of Industry Services wishes to update you on the status of the SPS 316 Electrical Code Package (CR 16-093). The proposed code package has been adopted and is awaiting publication at the end of June 2018.

Here is a timeline of effective dates related to several parts of the code update:

  • August 1, 2018: 2017 NEC adopted for commercial structures 
  • August 1, 2018: DSPS may begin accepting applications for registration as an electrical inspection agency.  More information will be posted here in July 2018. 
  • March 1, 2019: Only registered inspection agencies may provide plan review, permit issuance, or inspections 
  • January 1, 2020: 2017 NEC adopted for one- and two-family dwellings 
  • January 1, 2020: statewide requirements for permits and inspections go into effect

The rules may be accessed on our website or on the Legislative Reference Bureau’s (LRB) website here.

Questions regarding the code update can be sent to DSPSSBElectrictech@wi.gov


New Commercial Building Code Goes into Effect May 1st

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As we have mentioned in the past, revisions to the Wisconsin Commercial Building Code will go into effect on May 1, 2018.  These changes reflect the work that has been done by volunteers who represented a large cross section in the commercial building industry.  This code package has been in the works since January 2016 with an extended review process that concluded with a passive review by three standing committees of the Wisconsin Legislature.

Please click here to see the final version of the changes that were adopted and will go into effect on May 1, 2018.

The code changes reflected in this revision will be in place for any plan submitted for approval on or after May 1, 2018.  Any plan that was approved prior to May 1, 2018 will be constructed to the code that was in place at the time the plan was approved.


More WHEDA Loans Coming for New Construction as a Result of 2017 WI Act 277

Another bill that members talked to their legislators on during WBA’s Advocacy Day at the Capitol event in February was recently signed into law after receiving bipartisan support by members of the legislature.

2017 Wisconsin Act 277 will now allow the Wisconsin Housing Authority (WHEDA) to issue more loans for the down payment on a new home that were not being used in the housing rehabilitation loan fund.  The recent law change also allows WHEDA to issue home mortgage loans for refinancing in certain areas in Milwaukee.

Thank you again to all of the members from across the state that helped make this common-sense law change during WBA’s Advocacy Day at the Capitol 2017.


Madison Mayor Paul Soglin Claims Democrat Primary is a "Two-Person" Race

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Current Madison Mayor and Democrat candidate for governor Paul Soglin recently released a poll showing that he was in second place to current Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers.  The poll, conducted by Paul Maslin and Rick Sklarz of the firm FM3 Research, showed Evers leading 30% to 17%, but that margin tightened to 25% to 23% with Soglin still in the lead after survey respondents were given a description of each candidate.

With the release of the polling data by his campaign, Soglin stated at a Wispolitics.com event that “it’s a two-person race.”

Other candidates coming in after Evers and Soglin included State Senator Kathleen Vinehout at 12%, attorney Matt Flynn at 6%, and fire fighter union leader Mahlon Mitchell also coming in at 6%.  All other candidates that were polled (McCabe, Roys, Wachs, and Gronik) all came in at percentages ranging from 4% to 2%.  16% of those polled are still undecided on their vote.

The polling summary sheet, which can be read here, also attempts to dispel the narrative that, in order for a Democrat to be elected governor, they would need to be from somewhere outside of Madison.  The memo reports that “by more than a 3 to 1 margin, Wisconsin Democratic voters chose “the rest of Wisconsin would benefit from a Governor from Madison” as opposed to “if Democrats nominate someone from Madison for Governor, we will lose.”


Senator Roth Gets an Opponent

State Senate President and WBA builder member Roger Roth now has an opponent for his first reelection campaign for the state senate seat he was first elected to in November 2014. 

Outagamie County Democratic Party Chair Lee Snodgrass announced recently that he would be challenging Roth for his state senate seat in November 2018.  Snodgrass currently works as the Director of Communications for the Girls Scouts of Northwestern Great Lakes.

In his announcement press release Snodgrass stated, ““The people of the 19th Senate District deserve a Senator who will fight for well-funded, safe schools, decent roads, access to affordable healthcare, a living wage, and environmental protections to preserve what we all love about Wisconsin.”

Mr. Snodgrass went on to state, “For too long, I’ve watched my friends and neighbors struggle to afford even the most basic comforts. There is something wrong in Wisconsin when hard working families are forced to choose between the expense of new tires or dental check-ups. I love our state, and I want to help make it a place where all our citizens have equal opportunity to thrive.”

Senator Roth has been a champion of WBA-supported bills during his time in the state senate and was the lead author of the wetland reform bill that will help to reduce development costs and the cost of housing for Wisconsin families. Roth’s reelection campaign will be a top priority for WBA’s election efforts this fall.

Anyone wanting to make a contribution to Senator Roth’s campaign via the WBA Builders Direct Fund Conduit can do so using a personal credit card and directing the funds to “State Senator Roger Roth” in the “Special Instructions” box by clicking here.


2017 Wisconsin Act 330: Safe Buildings with Fewer Carbon Monoxide Detectors

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Sometimes legislation makes too much sense not to pass.  That was the consensus around 2017 Assembly Bill 904, a “clean up” proposal advocated by the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS).

Each of the past few sessions, DSPS has worked with members of the legislature to tweak some laws and eliminate some that are either no longer relevant or outdated. 

2017 Wisconsin Act 330 makes a number of changes, but most notably it changes the requirements for carbon monoxide detectors in multifamily buildings.  This law change, supported by the WBA and another organization with a diverse membership that includes those in fire service, will reduce the number of detectors required in multifamily buildings while continuing to keep those who live in new units safe.

The updated law recognizes technological improvements that have been made to detect carbon monoxide, as well as a better understanding about the harmful gas than what was known when the law was first passed on this topic several years ago.


From NAHB: Safe, Affordable Homes Win at Code Hearings

Nine days of hearings on proposed amendments to many of the International Code Council’s (ICC) building codes governing the construction of single- and multifamily homes have resulted in a series of victories for safe and affordable housing.

NAHB Construction, Codes and Standards volunteers and staff attended the ICC board of directors meetings and testified at the Committee Action Hearings in Columbus, Ohio, April 15-23. Their arguments against the changes were quite persuasive: All 10 of the proposed changes that the association deemed most critical to home builders, developers and their customers were ultimately rejected by committee members.

Construction, Codes and Standards Committee Chair David Sowders said the results are a testament to being well prepared.

“These NAHB volunteers and staff who testified on these proposals provided well thought out, reasoned arguments that rely on a strong understanding of building science,” Sowders said. “They’re hard work is helping to ensure families are not priced out of their homes.”

It’s also another indication of the “maturing” of building codes, he said. What was at one time a patchwork of competing codes – or no building code at all – 20 years ago, is now a much stronger, consensus-based document that produces notably better construction. While tweaking the code to reflect technological advances will continue, “major changes aren’t as necessary as they used to be. New homes are safer. They are energy efficient. They work. They’re resilient,” Sowders said.

Building officials, industry representatives and other advocates can submit comments on the results of the hearings until July 16. The comments may suggest modifications to the original proposals based on the testimony from the hearings or present additional arguments for or against their passage. Final votes will take place in October.

For additional information, contact NAHB Construction, Codes and Standards AVP Craig Drumheller.


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