Important Information for School Districts/School Officials

This document updates the information provided regarding school construction issued February 2003.

PA 628 of 2002 amends the School Building Act, PA 306 of 1937 by requiring the inspection of all school building construction, as well as the review of any required construction documents under the Stille-DeRossett-Hale Single State Construction Code Act.

With the enactment of this revision, school construction projects which involve the construction, addition, alteration or repair of any school building must be submitted to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs for required plan reviews, permits, and on-site inspections.

The Bureau of Construction Codes located within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs developed a single application and invoice system for the submission of required construction documents. A coordinated system for the inspection and granting of approvals, including the issuance of Certificates of Occupancy for completed construction is also being developed. Ultimately, all school construction projects must meet both the construction standards under the Stille-DeRossett-Hale Single State Construction Code Act, which includes securing permits, inspections, and final approvals.

The law also provides for inspection by local code enforcement agencies where both the local school boards and the local unit of government certify that the local enforcing agency has full-time plan review and inspection staff and are otherwise qualified to perform these duties in the review and inspection of school buildings.

Submission of Plans and Permit Applications to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs:

The law effects all school construction projects, which are not financed through bonding issues. In communities where the state has not approved delegation of construction code enforcement to local building departments, construction documents must be submitted to the state for approval. Additionally, contractors who intend to perform the work must file all required permit applications with the state.

Special Provision Regarding Bonding:

The statute contains a provision for school construction projects covered by bond issues: (1) School buildings covered by bond issues that were approved by the Department of Treasury prior to July 1, 2003, are not subject to the new construction code requirements but must comply with current requirements for school buildings established by the bureau. (2) School buildings in this state that were covered by bond issues approved by the Department of Treasury after July 1, 2003, which are being constructed, remodeled, or reconstructed are subject to inspections and plan reviews in accordance with the Michigan Building, Electrical, Mechanical, and Plumbing Codes, as well as to the reviews performed for fire safety.

Approval for Local Code Enforcement:

If school districts elect to have school construction projects inspected by local building departments, both the school district and the unit of government(s) must complete, sign, and submit a Request for Delegation form to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. In order for that delegation to be approved by the state, both the school district board and the governing body of the governmental subdivision must certify to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs that full-time code officials, inspectors, and plan reviewers registered under PA 54 of 1986, will conduct plan reviews and inspections of buildings. This certification must be submitted and approved annually. Only those governmental jurisdictions which document full time inspectors and plan reviewers to enforce the complete range of construction codes including the building, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing codes may qualify for delegation of school construction authority.

Absent approval of a completed Request for Delegation form from a school district and local building department, the State of Michigan, Bureau of Construction Codes has responsibility for construction code enforcement of school buildings within that unit of government. The Request for Delegation form may be obtained on the Bureau of Construction Codes' web site at www.michigan.gov/bcc.

Independent Third Party Inspection Option:

School districts may choose to have inspections of its school buildings performed by an independent third party designated in the contract governing the construction, remodeling, or reconstruction of a school building. The independent third party shall be responsible for all inspections required to insure compliance with the codes. The name of the third party shall be submitted to the department for review and approval together with the construction documents. If the department determines that the independent third party is not qualified, it shall disapprove the designation and notify the school authority. If the independent third party inspection option is approved, the state is responsible for conducting plan reviews for the associated school construction project(s). Additionally, this option requires that school construction permits be obtained through the state.

Licensing Laws and School Construction Projects:

Licensed contractors and licensed tradespersons must perform work on school construction projects in accordance with state licensing laws including: Electrical Administrative Act, PA 217 of 1956, as amended; Forbes Mechanical Contractors Act, PA 192 of 1984, as amended; State Plumbing Act, PA 733 of 2002; Boiler Act, PA 290 of 1965, as amended; and the Elevator Safety Act, PA 227 of 1967.

Plan Review Fees and Permit Fees:

A plan review fee will be required with the submission of construction documents as indicated previously. Additionally, licensed contractors must obtain construction permits for school construction projects in accordance with the fee schedule established by the governmental authority having jurisdiction.

If you have questions regarding the new legislation, you can contact the bureau at 517-241-9302. Additional information may be obtained by visiting the Bureau of Construction Codes' web site at www.michigan.gov/bcc.