The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) has released a new fact sheet on frost-protected foundations in Northern Minnesota. This new document stems from legislation in 2021 that sought to conform Minnesota’s frost-depth standard with that required in neighboring North Dakota.
While the legislation did not become law, it prompted DLI to form a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on the issue at the urging of a coalition including Housing First Minnesota, the City of Moorhead and the Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead.
This new fact sheet informs homebuilders and building officials that the Minnesota Residential Code and the Minnesota Building Code allow a less traditional method of reducing the required foundation depth. By utilizing ASCE 32 – Standard for Frost Protected Shallow Foundations, homebuilders can save their buyers money. This method saves construction costs by reducing the excavation depth, the amount of concrete and the size of foundation forms.
Contractor Recovery Fund annual report
According to its annual report, the Contractor Recovery Fund’s revenue decreased 13% in the fiscal year 2021 to $2.03 million. Minnesota’s fiscal year (FY) 2021 began on July 1, 2020 and ended on June 30, 2021.
In FY 2021, homeowners filed 33 claims for payment from the fund, with payouts totaling $970,000 in the 29 claims approved by the state. Claims were filed against 29 contractors, with payment being made in cases involving 27 contractors.
The Contractor Recovery Fund’s operating balance was $10.7 million at the end of FY 2021, an 11% increase from FY 2020’s ending balance.
Hire licensed contractors campaign
DLI released a report on its public awareness campaign educating Minnesotans on the importance of hiring a licensed contractor. This multi-channel campaign uses a mix of online, social media, print, radio and billboards. From April through August 2021, 11 billboards were placed across greater Minnesota to reach regional audiences in Bemidji, Grand Rapids, Detroit Lakes, Brainerd, Duluth, Sauk Centre, Little Falls, Hinckley, St. Cloud, New Ulm and Worthington.
Ads ran on 98 radio stations and in 210 newspapers across greater Minnesota. The campaign’s website, hirelicensedmn. com, has had more than 36,000 visits. According to the report, DLI will continue the campaign through September 2022.
DLI updates annual reporting tool
DLI has updated its public access to the annual reporting data for building permit fees, development, and infrastructure. These reports are required for Minnesota municipalities whose cumulative fees collected exceed $5,000 in a calendar year.
A new public access section of the annual report’s website allows users to view and compare data across multiple municipalities within a predefined category. In previous years, access was limited to viewing only one report from a single municipality at a time. Public interest has grown in recent years as municipalities have substantially increased their revenue on building permit fees.
The new access tool is available at: secure.doli.state.mn.us/municipal/RepMain.aspx