Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
April 2007
Economic Growth and the Role of Safety in Our Built Environment

A recent report filed by the National Conference of States on Building Codes & Standards, Inc. (NCSBCS) states that over 70 percent of the national wealth is in buildings, stimulating the nation's economy while sheltering residents where they live, work and play.

To help assure the economic viability of our nation and provide adequate public safety, the building regulatory system that oversees construction must be both effective and efficient. Over 44,000 jurisdictions adopt and enforce building codes in this country, protecting and serving over 95 percent of the population and regulating the nation's $1.1 trillion domestic building construction industry. Together, the real estate and construction industries comprise the largest single component of our economy, representing 20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.

Recognizing those same values in our state, the Department of Commerce Safety and Buildings Division (S & B) continues to support a number of initiatives geared toward an effective and efficient construction regulatory system. Through adoption of model codes - the International Code Council's building, energy, mechanical and fuel gas codes - the State of Wisconsin continues to improve on standard building regulations allowing business leaders, designers, suppliers and builders greater opportunity to contribute to Wisconsin's economic growth.

Based on the premise of education before enforcement, S & B continues to provide training at various levels from informative seminars to structured classes. Having adopted the model codes, which were effective July of 2002, the state has experienced a rather smooth transition from a 90-year history of Wisconsin maintaining its own commercial building code. Key elements of the adoption were minimizing the number of amendments, providing introduction and early training and maintaining a support network for all end users. As a result of those efforts, Wisconsin has taken great strides toward being one of the leaders in building regulations.

For more information regarding any of the programs offered by the Department of Commerce Division of Safety and Buildings please contact Henry Kosarzycki at 608-212-0138.

-- Henry Kosarzycki

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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