Home Builders Take On Sprinkler Mandate and other Building Code Requirements in Minnesota Court of Appeals

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ROSEVILLE, MN (July 14, 2015) – In its on-going battle against the home indoor sprinkler mandate, the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC) heads to the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Wednesday to challenge the appropriateness of the Department of Labor and Industry’s (DLI) rules creating amendments to Minnesota’s International Residential Code (IRC) and International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). BATC’s petition argues that the unnecessary sprinkler rule and energy code exceed the rulemaking authority granted under Minnesota law.

“Home buyers expect to be treated fairly when government issues new codes,” explained BATC 2014 President Shawn Nelson. “Several parts of the new code are placing a cost on homeowners that far exceeds the benefit of the new code. It is safe to say that the new code may create the largest regulatory tax on home buyers in Minnesota history.”

Despite overwhelming public opposition and multiple legislative votes over the last five years to reject the sprinkler mandate, DLI has moved ahead requiring expensive indoor sprinkler systems in many new homes. The mandate requires home indoor sprinklers to be placed in all single-family homes that are 4,500 total square feet and above. This threshold includes basements (finished or unfinished) and comprises up to 30 percent of all Minnesota new homes. BATC has estimated that the building and energy codes will add nearly $20,000 for a 4500 sq. ft. home (including sprinklers).

“This week’s court hearing is important for Minnesota’s homeowners,” Nelson stated. “For every $1,000 in price increase for a home, another 2,000 potential buyers are priced out of the market. The DLI’s code overreach is unnecessarily impacting the housing market and home ownership access for thousands of Minnesotans.

Joining BATC’s appeal as amicus curiae are the National Association of Homebuilders with Franklin Kottschade, a Rochester, MN area real estate developer, the Builders Association of Minnesota and the Minnesota Association of Realtors.

The Builders Association of the Twin Cities is the leading voice for builders and remodelers. BATC represents nearly 1,100 builders, remodelers, developers and industry suppliers with a mission of helping its members grow their businesses through marketing, advocacy and industry connections. BATC is known for its twice-a-year signature events: The Parade of HomesSM and Remodelers Showcase®. In addition, BATC offers the Artisan Home tour, the BATC Foundation and Minnesota’s Green Path, a growing new home and remodeling certification program providing healthy, durable, energy-efficient homes to buyers and homeowners.