Legislation Creates Code Clarity for Builders
ABC of Wisconsin Leads Industry Effort


Wisconsin lawmakers recently passed Senate Bill 617 creating a uniform commercial building code in Wisconsin. The legislation now needs Governor Walker’s signature to become law.

ABC of Wisconsin has been advocating for a statewide uniform commercial building code for many years, believing that uniformity simplifies and streamlines construction regulations for architects, builders, and developers.

Although Wisconsin’s commercial building code has been based on national model codes for over a decade, many of the benefits of a uniform code went unrealized because municipalities were allowed to adopt more restrictive building code provisions. These variations prevented uniformity by creating confusing pockets of local regulations.
Leading a coalition of industry partners, ABC of Wisconsin worked with lawmakers to pass legislation to create more clarity for Wisconsin builders. While not strictly creating a uniform statewide commercial building code Senate Bill 617 makes several significant improvements.
  • The bill prohibits a city, village, or town from enacting an ordinance that establishes minimum standards for the construction or alteration of, or addition to, a public building that is different than the state code.
  • Allows grandfathering of existing (adopted before May 1, 2013) municipal ordinances related to fire detection, prevention, or suppression.
  • Creates a central repository of grandfathered ordinances, making it easier for contractors to identify and comply with unique local requirements.
  • Allows certain qualified municipalities to conduct commercial plan review.
  • Ensures individuals who are conducting building inspections are qualified.
  • Creates a code council comprised of industry professionals to assist the state in code development and administration.
This legislative victory marks the (near) end of a long road on this issue. We would like to thank the legislative sponsors, industry partners, and all who worked to make this goal a reality.

For more information on Senate Bill 617, contact ABC of Wisconsin President – John Mielke at 608-244-5883 or jmielke@abcwi.org.

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