The Wisconsin Legislature undertook revisions of the Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code, changes which took effect January 1, 2016. This was the first time since 2011 that substantial revisions were made to the Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code.

Individuals and business who must comply with the terms and provisions of the Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code are obliged to be up to speed with revisions when they are enacted into law. The long-used adage of “ignorance is no defense” comes into play when it comes to revisions in the Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code and the need to remain in full compliance with the law.

Exit Requirements on First and Second Floors

One section of the Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code that was revised involves the specific exit requirements in residential premises on the first and second floors. These changes can be found at SPS 321.03(1)

The heart of the revised section is that every dwelling must have at least two entrances. At least one of these exists must be directly outside and not through a garage. In addition, a dwelling of over 400 square feet, that has more then one floor, must have at least one egress window on a floor above the first. The law sets forth the functionality of the egress window as well.

Landings at the Top of Stairways

Another are in which revisions to the Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code can be found at SPS 321.04(4) and deal with the landings at the top of residential stairways. The revised statute requires that a level landing shall be provided on both sides of the door located at the top. The same rule applies at the base of a stairway as well. This landing must be in place regardless of which the direction the associated door swings.

There are some exceptions to this regulation. These exceptions are delineated in the same section which sets forth the common requirements regarding landings at the top of residential stairways.

Tankless Water Heaters

The Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code added specific requirements for tankless water heaters. These requirements are now found in the Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code at SPS 325.01(2). According to notes by the Wisconsin Legislature associated with the 2016 Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code revisions, this represents the first time specific directives for tankless water heaters appeared in the Code.

A key provision of the revised Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code as it pertains to tankless water heaters involves flow rates. The calculation set forth in the Code for determining a minimum flow rate is to multiple 0.65 by the amount of hot water gallons per minute.

Appendix B: Residential Deck Standards

The Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code has added an Appendix B. Appendix B is designed to provide the option of utilizing a prescriptive deck standard. This particular deck standard is to be used in the design and construction of decks associated with one or two family dwellings.

Pursuant to the revised Code, lumber used in decking must be pressure as well as preservative treated. The lumber must be either Douglas fir or larch, hemlock fir, spruce fir, pine fir, or southern pine. Lumber utilized in a deck needs to grade #2 or better. The only exception is if a naturally durable species is used. Naturally durable is a species like red cedar is used.

Lumber used in a deck that comes into contact with the ground must be rated as Lumber “ground-contact.” The lumber used in a deck must have the grade rating appropriately displayed.

Basement Insulation

The revised Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code has altered the requirements associated with residential basement insulation. The key to ensuring compliance with the new basement insulation requirement is understanding that the requirement is not uniform across all of the state. The legislature has divided the state into two zones. The legislation governing basement insulation has defined the zones as follows:

Zone Two includes the following counties: Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Florence, Forest, Iron, Langlade, Lincoln, Oneida, Price, Sawyer, Taylor, Vilas, and Washburn. Zone One consists of any country not mentioned in Zone Two. The Zones are designed recognize the weather difference that can be identified between the two geographic classifications.

In summary, the revisions to the Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code are accessible online, via the website maintained by the Wisconsin Legislature. This includes both a thorough summary of revisions and links to the actual statutory provisions governing a particular matter. As an aside, some of the revisions included in the Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code were implemented to remain in compliance to certain national standards.

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Scaffold Store, the favorite and trusted scaffold supplier of the largest contractors.

A Look at Highlights of Revisions to the Wisconsin Uniform Dwelling Code