Topic: Uniform Dwelling Code
This is the second installment in a series of articles that are being written to highlight the permit application process in the state-contracted areas of WISPECT LLC. The articles are based on Chapters SPS 320 - 325 of the Uniform Dwelling Code and it’s incorporated standards. Reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that this information is current, complete and accurate, however no claim is made that this information is beyond question. For further information on the building permit process and inspections contact the municipality you will be building in. For further information on the state-contracted areas of WISPECT LLC visit our website, www.wispect.com.
First a brief review; Chapter SPS 320 is the administrative and enforcement chapter of Wisconsin’s Uniform Dwelling Code. When a municipality or the county opts to adopt the UDC and enforce it locally as outlined in s. SPS 320.06 (1) (b) and s. SPS 320.06 (2). They have to adopt the code in its entirety. They can’t add to it or take from it unless they have approval from the Department of Safety and Professional Services as outlined in s. SPS 320.06 (1) (a) 2. and 3. As mentioned in the previous article, the goal of the state is uniformity, however, the one area you will find a disparity is in the enforcement of the Uniform Dwelling Code. While the State-Contracted UDC Inspection Agencies may administer and conduct on-site inspections, beyond writing Non-Compliance Orders for code violations, the State of Wisconsin enforces the code on behalf of the Inspection Agencies. It is the responsibility of the assigned Inspector to make recommendations on behalf of the Inspection Agency, however the State makes the final determination as to whether fines will be levied or legal action taken for code violations. SPS 320.22 (1) makes it a violation to construct or alter any dwelling in violation of any provision of the code. One penalty that the State has the option to levy is outlined in s. SPS 320.22 (2) (a), ss. 101.66, and 101.77, WI Stats., which states the forfeiture to the state for a violation of this code shall be not less than $25 nor more than $500 for each violation. SPS 320.22 (2) (b) states that any person violating any rule of this code applying to manufactured homes is subject to the penalties prescribed in s. 101.94 (8), Stats. The State can also pursue legal action or attach a record of all code violations to the deed for the dwelling. It should be noted; a filing with the Register of Deeds for code violations stay with the deed until all non-compliances have been corrected. Any municipality which administers and enforces this code may provide, in accordance with SPS 320.22 (3), by ordinance, remedies and penalties for violation of that jurisdiction exercised under s. SPS 320.22 (3) and s. 101.65, Stats. These remedies and penalties shall be in addition to those which the state may impose under subs. (1) and (2). Here’s why it really pays to comply with the code and correct non-compliances as quickly as possible; each day a violation continues is an additional fine.
The State of Wisconsin defines a dwelling in s. SPS 320.07 (25) as any building which contains one or two dwelling units. A dwelling unit as defined in s. SPS 320.07 (27) is any structure, or a portion of a structure, which is used or intended to be used as a home, residence, or sleeping place by one person or by two or more persons maintaining a common household, to the exclusion of all others. In other words, despite what a structure may be called, if it or a portion of it is going to be used for living and/or sleeping purposes it is a dwelling unit. Then the structure or the portion of the structure that is a dwelling unit needs to comply with all the requirements of the UDC and be permitted by the AHJ. Check with the municipality you will be building in for all of their requirements regarding when a permit is required. The instances when you are required to apply for a Wisconsin Uniform Building Permit in the State-Contracted areas of WISPECT LLC will be covered in a future article.
The Wisconsin Uniform Building Permit Application is fairly simple document to understand and complete. The Wisconsin Uniform Building Permit Application is used to apply for a permit for a site-built dwelling (with or without electricity, HVAC, or plumbing), a UDC compliant modular home, or a federally regulated manufactured (mobile) home. It may also be used in other instances in a municipality or county that has adopted the code and enforces it locally. A breakdown of the plan review submission requirements for each type of dwelling will be covered in a future article. The information that is being requested should be known to permit applicant readily when it is being completed. The procedure for obtaining a Wisconsin Uniform Building Permit is outlined in s. SPS 320.09 (1) which states that an application for a Wisconsin Uniform Building Permit shall be on forms obtained from the department, the municipality or the authorized UDC Inspection Agency administering and enforcing this code. No application shall be accepted that does not contain all the information requested on the form. Ensure you are entering all the required information as to not delay the issuance of the Wisconsin Uniform Building Permit. The AHJ will assign and enter the application number at the top of the Wisconsin Uniform Building Permit Application when the permit application is received.
In most instances a permit applicant has received a sanitary permit when a Private On-Site Waste Treatment System (POWTS) or some other county approved system is being installed. Ensure you entering the sanitary permit number on the application. If you are re-connecting to a POWTS enter that it is a re-connect and the original sanitary permit number. See s. SPS 391 for Wisconsin’s Sanitation Code and the state’s approved methods of providing sanitation for new one- or two-family dwellings. All Wisconsin counties require one- and two-family dwellings to have some form of sanitation. Even if plumbing is not installed in the house. Contact the county you will be building in for further information on Sanitary Permits and their requirements for one-and two-family dwellings. If the dwelling will be connected to a sanitary district, typically arrangements have been made for water and sewage services. Ensure you identify the source of the sanitary and water (if applicable) for the dwelling.
The permit applicant by this time has also obtained a zoning or land use permit as well. Since the UDC and the zoning office will require a site-plan, this should be ready for submission to both agencies. SPS 320 09 (5) (a) requires a site plan to show the location of the dwelling, dispersal systems on the site with respect to property lines and any surface waters adjacent to the site. It should also show the areas of land-disturbing activities and the location of all erosion and sediment control measures to be employed to show compliance with s. SPS 321.125, the soil and sediment control requirements of the code. For this reason, a permit applicant may use the Standard Erosion Control Plan for 1- & 2-Family Dwelling Construction Sites to complete the site plan for the project. In some instances a permit applicant believes soil erosion control measures are not necessary for their project. The permit applicant should then ensure they are also completing pages 2 and 3 of the worksheet to show why they feel soil erosion control measures are not necessary. On-site inspections for soil erosion control are conducted throughout the building process. If an Inspector determines soil erosion control are needed on your site, your project will be issued a Stop Work Order until proper erosion control measures have been installed. You should also check that you are requesting a soil erosion permit even if you feel soil erosion measures are not necessary. If an acre or more of land is being disturbed there are special rules regarding soil erosion control measures in this instance. According to s. SPS 321.126, storm water management practices shall be employed in accordance with s. NR 151.12 and maintained when the land disturbing construction activity involves one or more acres. Per s. SPS 320.09 (5) (d) 1. and 2., a storm water management plan shall be prepared for a site where one acre or more of land will be disturbed. The storm water management plan should describe the post construction storm water management practices to be employed to comply with s. SPS 321.126. There are instances that measures are needed as a project proceeds and the permit applicant would need to update the Standard Erosion Control Plan for 1- and 2-Family Dwelling Sites - DNR WT-458-96 to show the appropriate measures being taken. Completing the Standard Erosion Control Plan for 1- and 2-Family Dwelling Sites - DNR WT-458-96 will be covered in a future article.
Now to the documentation a permit applicant for a Wisconsin Uniform Building Permit should have ready when starting to submit for the various permits required to build a new one- or two-family dwelling in Wisconsin. It is highly recommended, that when applying for zoning, land use, and/or sanitary permits that you also have the following documentation ready for submission to the authority having jurisdiction for the plan review process when submitting for a Wisconsin Uniform Building Permit. Ensure you are checking each type of permit(s) you are requesting. Keep in mind, obtaining a Wisconsin Uniform Building Permit is a much more detailed process than it is for any of the other permits you will seek. The earlier you begin the process of submitting the plan review materials, the faster the plan reviewer can identify potential problems and work with you get them corrected while the other permits are being processed. Since you won’t be able to start construction until you have secured all the required permits, it is reasonable that you submit for them all at the same time. Keep in mind; the UDC states in s. SPS 320.08 that a Wisconsin Uniform Building Permit shall be obtained from the AHJ prior to commencing any on-site work on a new one- and two-family dwelling. This includes excavating for a structure.
When submitting the Wisconsin Uniform Building Permit Application to the authority having jurisdiction you should have all the documentation required by s. SPS 320.09 (4), (5), and (6), and any other plan review requirements the AHJ may have, ready for review and conditional approval. All plan submissions for a Wisconsin Uniform Building Permit should comply with all the requirements of the 2009 Uniform Dwelling Code and it’s adopted standards as outlined in s. SPS 320.24. In accordance with s. SPS 320.09 (8), if a municipality or authorized UDC Inspection Agency administering and enforcing the code determines that the plans submitted for a one− or 2−family dwelling substantially conform to the provisions of this code and other legal requirements, an approval shall be issued. The authority having jurisdiction is required to approve or deny a uniform building permit application within 10 business days of receipt of all forms, fees, plans and documents required to process the application, and completion of other local prerequisite permitting requirements. The 10 business day requirement officially begins when all the forms, fees, plans and documents required to process the application have been received.
Note: the State of Wisconsin does allow a permit applicant to apply for a One- and Two Family Dwelling Permit to Start Construction. Making an application for this permit will be covered in the next article. The requirements for plan review submissions in the State-Contracted areas of WISPECT LLC, a breakdown of the code requirements for new one- and two-family dwellings, and the code updates for 2011 will be covered in future articles in the series.
The owners name, address, and phone number should be entered where requested. Be sure that this information is correct and current. All correspondence for the owner will be forwarded to the address given on the permit application. It is reasonable that you would know who you intend to hire for the construction of your new home. Keep in mind, only individuals and companies credentialed by the Dept. of Safety and Professional Services may install HVAC and plumbing systems in Wisconsin. Pursuant to s. 101.63 (7), Stats., the name and license number of the Wisconsin master plumber responsible for the installation of plumbing shall be entered on the permit by the issuing entity at the time of issuance. Also, on April 1st, 2013 only individuals credentialed by DSPS will be allowed to install electrical systems in Wisconsin. Homeowners, unless credentialed by DSPS, will no longer be allowed to install electrical systems in Wisconsin. It is reasonable to assume that the permit applicant will need to enter the information on the Master Electrician that will supervise the installation. However, we consider this situation fluid and one that may evolve over time. We will do our best to keep the individuals and contractors who build or will be building in our state-contracted areas up to date on this situation. In any event, you may utilize the Division of Industry Services website to search for credentialed individuals and companies at: http://apps2.commerce.wi.gov/SB_Credential/SB_CredentialApp/SearchByMultipleCriteria.
If you the homeowner will be building your new home you will need to read, sign, and submit the Cautionary Statement to Owners Obtaining Building Permits. You need to also check-off on the statement on the Wisconsin Uniform Building Permit Application vouching that you will be the owner-occupant and are applying for an erosion control or construction permit and do not possess a dwelling Contractor certification. In the areas that are served by the state-contracted inspection agencies you will also need to read, sign, and submit the Uniform Notice to Permit Applicants Served by State-Contracted Inspection Agencies. Both of these documents must be signed and returned with the building permit application before a Wisconsin Uniform Building Permit will be issued. On the permit application it should be entered that the owner is the dwelling contractor. The dwelling Contractor Qualifier certification is not required when an owner is building their own home. If you have retained the services of a contractor but they will not be acting as the permit applicant you may enter their name and certification number.
Since the dwelling contractor will not be submitting the permit application it is not necessary to enter their Dwelling Contractor Qualifier certification information. But, if the dwelling contractor or anyone other person or entity is applying for the Wisconsin Uniform Building Permit, they must possess both certifications and they must be current. There is no requirement that a dwelling contractor have either certification, however, if your are retaining the services of an un-credentialed contractor you need to read the Cautionary Statement to Owners Obtaining Building Permits carefully.
The zoning district should be entered as the municipality and county you are building in. Enter the address for the new dwelling, if you building in the county and haven’t been issued an Emergency Services (Fire) number as of applying for the permit ensure you are including a map to the construction site for the Inspector that will be assigned to your project. If you are building in a subdivision or the city ensure you are completing the sections asking for this information. The parcel number, legal description, and the setbacks can be obtained from the land use/zoning permit issued by your local zoning office. The size of the lot area that needs to be entered will be discussed further in a future article.
The remainder of the permit application is seeking information on your new home. Ensure you are entering the square footage for an unfinished basement (if applicable), living areas, garages, and decks. The plan reviewer will calculate these areas as well as your permit fee will be based on the square footage of the finished and unfinished areas. UDC Inspection Agency fees are determined by contract between the municipality and the agency or between the department and the agency, where the agency has been authorized to conduct inspections on behalf of
the department in accordance with s. SOS 320.09 (3) (b) 1. When entering the estimated building cost, enter only the cost of the dwelling itself. By signing the Wisconsin Uniform Building Permit Application you are agreeing to follow all applicable codes, regulations, and statutes. You are also agreeing to allow the Inspector or an authorized agent of WISPECT LLC access to the dwelling for the purposes of inspection. Do not complete any of the permit application below the signature line, the AHJ will complete this when the Wisconsin Uniform Building Permit is conditionally approved and issued.
If you will installing heating or air-conditioning enter the type and the fuel source for heating and water heating. Ensure you are checking that you’re seeking a permanent occupancy of the dwelling as well. The heat-loss calculation will be covered in a future article on submitting the REScheck Compliance Certificate to show compliance with s. SPS 322, Wisconsin’s Energy Conservation code for new one- and two-family dwellings. If you will not be installing heating then you will need to check that you are seeking a seasonal use occupancy. Seasonal use occupancies will be covered in a future article. Also enter whether the dwelling is a one- or two-family dwelling, the construction type, and wheter the dwelling is a one or two story structure. If you are installing a full basement check this as well. This is not necessary for a crawl space foundation. Enter the size of the electrical service and whether the service entrance cables will be overhead or underground. Also enter the type of exterior walls that will be constructed.
It is the intent of these articles to ensure anyone applying for a Wisconsin Uniform Building Permit in the state-contracted areas of WISPCECT LLC is complying with the Uniform Dwelling Code. Our goal is to eliminate the disapproval of permit applications, for any reason, and ensure construction projects for one- and two-family dwellings in our state-contracted areas are permitted in a timely manner.
Next Article: Submitting a One- and Two-Family Dwelling Permit to Start Construction Application
Future Article: Submitting a Wisconsin Uniform Building Permit Application Part 2 - Submitting Code Compliant Construction Plans