The Blueprint: Advocacy Day ‘19, Guidance Documents, & More


ALSO: Guidance Released on Multifamily Egress Code Update • Cabinet Secretaries Announced • DSPS Concrete Document Posted • Wetland Guidance Document Now Available • New Members Appointed to Joint Committee on Finance • Thoughts on 1/1/16 Deck Code and Footing Size Worksheet Now Available • Jagler Returns as Assembly Housing Chair • Check out the Latest in NAHB Legal Advocacy

Advocacy Day in Madison Set for Tuesday, March 5th

Republican Attorney General Association Has Schimel Up 3

We have just confirmed the date and location for our annual WBA Advocacy Day.  The lobbying event will again be held at the Best Western Premier Park Hotel on the capitol square in Madison on Tuesday, March 5th.  Cost of the event will again be $75 per attendee which can be paid by each person online or paid by local HBA staff online (if you are a member of a local that pays this fee).

Registration for the event is now up and running.  If you want to get ahead of the game and register for the event early, you can do so by clicking here.  You can find parking information here.

We are also pleased to announce that the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago is generously sponsoring our event again in 2019.

The format will be very similar to last year with two speakers/panels in the morning along with an issue briefing on our agenda items followed by lunch, capitol visits, and a cocktail hour to conclude the day’s event. Our tentative itinerary is:

·         8:00 AM - 8:30 AM - Check-In & Continental Breakfast

·         8:30 AM - 9:15 AM - Speaker 1 (TBA)

·         9:20 AM - 10:00 AM - Issue Briefing by WBA Executive Director Brad Boycks

·         10:15 AM - 11:15 AM – Speaker 2 (TBA)

·         11:15 AM - 12:15 PM - Lunch

·         12:30 PM - 2:30 PM - Capitol Visits

·         2:00 PM – 4:00 PM - Cocktail Hour

More information to come as we continue to plan for this event, especially with regard to confirmed speakers. 

Guidance Released on Multifamily Egress Code Update

Recently, the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) reissued guidance concerning egress requirements for multifamily units as they relate to the 2015 International Building Code (IBC) and the recent update of the state commercial building code.

That updated guidance can be found by clicking here.

This fall, there were several members who reached out to WBA and DSPS directly to get additional information on this topic.  This new guidance should provide some additional information to clarify current codes relating to egress requirements in multifamily units and the interaction with state statutes on sprinkler requirements.

Please note that there is one issue that is not addressed in the enclosed guidance, but that we were recently informed of regarding egress requirements on townhomes.  We have asked that the guidance document be updated with the enclosed information, but wanted you to also be aware of this provision as well. A recent email from DSPS on 1.2.19 stated:

As I started gathering code sections and formulating my thoughts for the response, I dug deeper into how the WI amendment applied originally in the 2009 code and how the exit access/common path of travel requirements and requirements for # of exits from a story are logically coordinated and applied in the code (both in ’09 and ’15 editions). 

After further research and consideration and a meeting with the team here in Green Bay, I have come to a different conclusion than I previously communicated.

If a building or in this case a townhouse dwelling unit meets the limitations to allow a single exit from the story or building in accordance with 1006.3, by the very nature of 1006.3 allowing a single exit it also allows a common path of travel and so the common path of travel requirements or limitations in s. 1006.2 are not also applicable.  In other words, compliance with s. 1006.3 or in this case SPS 362.1006(1) stands alone and the building does not also have to meet IBC s. 1006.2 unless specifically referenced or required by s. 1006.3.”

The exception is valid but applies ONLY to townhouse dwelling units that are separated with pseudo 2 hourr firewalls from adjacent townhouse dwelling units.”

We have been directed to let members know if they need additional information on any of the above topics that members should contact Mr. Steve Dobratz, P.E., Department of Safety and Professional Services Section Chief, Division of Industry Services, 920-492-5611 or

Cabinet Secretaries Announced


Since his election on Tuesday, November 6th, Governor-Elect Tony Evers has been slowly announcing members of his staff and cabinet secretaries.  Today, Evers made the additional selections for his cabinet that included the secretaries of safety and professional services, revenue, workforce development, children and family, and health services.  

The current listing of cabinet secretaries is:

Department of Natural Resources: Preston Cole (current member of the DNR Board who was first appointed by Governor Jim Doyle and reappointed by Governor Scott Walker)

Department of Safety and Professional Services: Dawn Crim (current assistant state superintendent for the Division of School Success at the Department of Public Instruction)

Department of Administration: Joel Brennan

Department of Transportation: Craig Thompson

Department of Corrections: Kevin Carr

Department of Tourism: Sara Meaney 

Department of Veterans Affairs: Mary Kohlar

Department of Financial Institutions: Kathy Blumenfeld

Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection: Brad Pfaff

Department of Health Services: Andrea Palm

Department of Revenue: State Representative Peter Barca

Department of Workforce Development:  State Senator Caleb Frostman

Department of Children and Families: Emilie Amundson

Commissioner of Insurance Commissioner: Mark Afable

Public Service Commission Chair: Rebecca Cameron Valcq

Chief of Staff: Maggie Gau

Budget Director: Brian Pahnke  

Once the above appointees begin work prior to their confirmation vote in the state senate, we will be reaching out to key secretaries to make them aware of issues that WBA is advocating for in the upcoming legislative session.  We stand ready to work with these new secretaries to continue to advance polices to reduce the cost of housing for Wisconsin families.

DSPS Concrete Document Posted

During the meeting of the Uniform Dwelling Code Council (UDC Council) in December, it was announced that the department has now posted additional information and guidance concerning the current UDC concrete requirements and how those interact with standards of the American Concrete Institute (ACI).

A big thank-you to WBA member and Chair of the Uniform Dwelling Code Council Mike Coello is in order for working with DSPS staff to put together the enclosed guidance document.  Without Mike’s years of expertise on this issue, the guidance document issued by DSPS would not have been possible.

That new guidance on residential concrete standards can be found here. A specific portion of the guidance worth highlighting is below:

Shall a contractor or home owner refer to both the ACI and UDC for designing a concrete foundation? Yes. The UDC does have criteria that differs slightly from ACI 332-14; however, provisions within the UDC have minimum requirements that are greater than ACI 332-14. All concrete foundation standards and design shall follow the standards within ACI 332-14 or ACI 318-14 unless specific foundation standards are addressed within the UDC that override ACI 332-14 or ACI 318- 14 criteria.

Wetland Guidance Document Now Available


You may recall the passage of 2017 Wisconsin Act 183 to close out the 2017-2018 legislative session which made major reforms and allows for greater flexibilities when building and developing land near wetlands.

After the passage of legislation, it has become commonplace for state agencies such as the Department of Natural Resources to issue guidance documents to provide additional background to implement new laws. 

The documents that are now available include one explaining the new artificial wetland exemptions that can be found here and another on nonfederal wetland exemptions that can be found here.

New Members Appointed to Joint Committee on Finance

After the inauguration of Governor Evers and the other constitutional officers on Monday, January 7th and the swearing in of the 99 members of the state assembly and 33 members of the state senate, everyone will be anxiously awaiting Governor Evers’ 2019-2021 state budget bill.

In a recent interview, Evers hinted that he may request additional time to put together his first budget as governor.  Traditionally the state budget has been introduced in February, but the legislature has also been accommodating to newly elected governors to allow more time to put the finishing touches on their state budget.

Once the budget is introduced, it will then be sent to the Joint Committee on Finance where the GOP still has a 12-4 majority on the committee due to both houses remaining in republican control. 

With some members of the committee from last session changing legislative houses (Kooynega), retiring (Vukmir), moving into a leadership position (Felzkowski), or being replaced by leadership (Shankland), there will be four new faces once the committee meets after January 7.

The new members of the committee include State Representatives Terry Katsma (R-Oostburg), Shannon Zimmerman (R-River Falls), and Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee).  Two of the three new state representatives on the committee, Katsma and Goyke, served last year on the Assembly Committee on Housing and Real Estate, where we had great working relationships with both legislators.

State Senator Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) is the only new member of the committee from the state senate.  It was also recently announced that LeMahieu will also serve as the chair of the Committee on Utilities and Housing this session, in addition to his seat on the Joint Committee on Finance.

The co-chair and vice-chair of the committee remain the same in the state senate with Senator Alberta Darling returning as co-chair and Senator Luther Olson once again serving as vice-chair.  Representative John Nygren will continue to serve as assembly co-chair with Representative Amy Loudenbeck moving up to vice-chair (replacing Representative Kooyenga who served in that post last session and has now moved on to the state senate).

Other returning members of the committee include Representatives Born, Rohrkaste, and Taylor.  Additional returning State Senators are Marklein, Tiffany, Stroebel (appointed summer of 2017), Erpenbach, and Johnson.

Thoughts on 1/1/16 Deck Code and Footing Size Worksheet Now Available

As of January 1, 2016, builders and remodelers have been operating on the most recent update to the state’s one and two family building code, the Uniform Dwelling Code (UDC). 

One of the updates contained in the most recent version of the UDC was consolidating all sections of the code relating to decks into one section and providing better guidance for builders and inspectors to follow the code.  During the deliberation on the code update, several members of the UDC Council and DSPS staff stated that there were few major changes to the actual deck code, but the major change in the last update was better organization of the various provisions into one section with greater details available to follow the code.

We wanted to also point out a “Footing Size Worksheet” that is posted on the DSPS website that hopefully will make complying with the footing section of the updated code easier.  That worksheet can be found here.

Finally, do you have any specific thoughts or concerns regarding the deck code that has now been in effect since January 1, 2016?  If so, please email specific concerns (with reference to the current UDC if possible) to

Jagler Returns as Assembly Housing Chair


In mid-December, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos announced that Representative John Jagler (R-Watertown) would again serve as the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Housing and Real Estate for the third session.

In a statement announcing the appointment Jagler stated, “I am grateful for the trust the Assembly has placed in me to continue to chair the Committee on Housing and Real Estate.  These two industries are often a barometer of the estate’s economy as a whole.  When people are buying and building homes, it’s an indicator of how we, as a state, are doing.  It’s very important that we keep these sectors thriving.”

Also returning to the committee as vice-chair is Representative Scott Allen.  Other returning committee members on the GOP side include Representatives Robert Brooks, Dave Murphy, and Treig Pronschinske.  One new member on the GOP side is State Representative Romaine Quinn of Rice Lake.

We are still awaiting the announcement of the democrat members of all the standing committees of the state assembly by Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz.

Check out the Latest in NAHB Legal Advocacy

The NAHB Office of Legal Affairs has published the first in a quarterly series of legal updates for members to stay current on the issues the legal team in Washington is pursuing. The Spotlight on NAHB Litigation for Winter 2018-19 features updates on active court cases in which NAHB has direct involvement.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that the Department of Labor can cite general contractors for workplace safety violations that put subcontractors’ workers in danger. The case explored the legality of OSHA’s multi-employer citation policy NAHB has been challenging the multiemployer worksite doctrine for years, and filed an amicus brief, along with the Texas Association of Builders and other construction groups, in the case, Acosta v. Hensel Phelps Construction Co.

Other topics covered this quarter include: Endangered Species Act, Land use, Americans with Disability Act, Regulatory procedures in a rulemaking agency/.

In other news from the Office of Legal Affairs:

  • On Dec. 13, NAHB Vice President, Construction Liability David Jaffe presented to the Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Boston a webinar addressing the changing laws and legal concerns related to opioids and medical marijuana in the workplace. The webinar covered recent court decisions, the interaction between state law and potential conflicts with federal laws and other legal challenges for employers, and what NAHB is doing to address the opioid epidemic in the home building industry.

  • On Dec. 3, NAHB Senior Counsel Devala Janardan delivered a land use presentation at the Indiana Builders Association’s 2018 Leadership Conference and Board of Directors Meeting. The overview provided an update of the legal cases NAHB is currently involved and how members can tap into NAHB resources for legal action support.

  • NAHB recently filed comments on a Department of Homeland Security proposed rule that would limit legal immigration at a time when labor markets are exceedingly tight. Because the proposal also references federal housing programs, NAHB recommended that DHS remove federal housing programs, like Section 8 vouchers and project-based assistance, from the rule.

For more information on the activities of the Office of Legal Affairs, email

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