[ The latest news for Minnesota Housing design and construction partners ]
2018 Building Standards Updates
The following guides and standards have been updated for the 2018 Consolidated RFP/2019 Housing Tax Credits and are effective for projects applying for funding as of April 2018.  Projects applying for 4% Only Housing Tax Credits will continue to be subject to the 2017 Building Standards. This process is described more in depth later in this eNews. These documents are available on Minnesota Housing's Building Standards webpage and summaries of changes are listed below.
2018 Version of the MN Overlay to the 2015 Enterprise Green Communities
  • Criteria 2.1: Sensitive Site Protection. The 100' setback from wetlands or streams has been omitted from requirement number one. Setbacks from all wetlands, streams, lakes, etc. shall be per local and regional watershed requirements, ordinances, etc.
  • Category 5 Energy Efficiency: An Identity of Interest (IOI) is not allowed between a Contractor and HERS Rater.
Identity of Interest between Owner and Contractor
Rental Housing Design/Construction Standards (RHD/CS) 
Chapter 2. Added and clarified requirements:
  • Minnesota Housing encourages site designs that don't require heated exterior driveways. However, an exterior parking garage entrace driveway with a slope greater than 7% must be heated
  • All building owner provided thru-wall or window type AC units must be ENERGY STAR rated to promote energy efficiency. Tenant provided AC units are exempt.
  • A door viewer (peep hole) or sidelight must be provided at all new dwellling unit main entrances. This is added as a low cost life safety improvement, wich helps residents identify who is at their door before opening it.
  • The 2015 Minnesota Building Code has an exception which allows replacement windows to be exempt from including window fall protection. Minnesota Housing considers this exemption a safety threat to small children and has omitted it.
Architect’s Guide 
  • Architecture Compensation: Chapters 3 and 5 are revised to clarify that all required and known pre-development architectural services must be included in the lump sum Owner Architect Agreement.
  • Electronic Plans and Specifications Submittals:
    • Chapters 7, 9, and 10 are revised to omit hard copy plan and specifications submittals at conceptual, design development, 50% plan review, and 90% plan review phases.
    • Chapter 11 will require a hard copy for the final 100% contract documents.
    • All submittals must be PDFs for achiving purposes.
Radon Policy
  • Our Radon Policy is revised to require radon testing of all existing buildings before moderate rehabilitation. Before this updated policy, radon testing was voluntary unless otherwise required by Minnesota Housing or another entity.
  • Our Radon Policy also includes updates about Minnesota Department of Health's (MDH) Radon Licensing Program.
  • Visit our Radon Policy webpage to review the full policy.
2019 Building Standards - Upcoming Revision
To help ensure construction costs are reasonable and requirements are generally consistent across our funding programs, effective April 2019, for the 2019 Consolidated RFP/2020 Housing Tax Credits (Rounds 1 and 2 and 4% HTC Only), a Construction Cost Certification will be required whenever there’s an identity of interest (IOI) between the owner and contractor (as defined in Chapter 2 of the Contractor’s Guide). Currently a Contractor’s Certification of Actual Cost is required for end loan deferred funded projects and projects with HUD Risk Share when there’s an IOI. In April 2019, it will be required for all funding sources including Housing Tax Credits when there’s an IOI.

When it becomes effective, the contractor must submit a Contractor’s Certificate of Actual Cost HUD Form 92330A audited by an independent public account in accordance with requirements established by HUD, as follows:
  • At the end of construction after final contractor payment, but before the final draw clos-out for projects with:
    a) HUD Risk-share Program
    b) Minnesota Housing's end loan
    c) Minnesota Housing's deferred funding
    d) Minnesota Housing's first mortgage
  • At the end of project and before IRS Form 8609 issuance for 4% and 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credit projects.
2018 Building Standards - Applicability and Updates
The current Building Standards, which includes the Minnesota Housing’s Rental Housing Design/ Construction Standards (RHD/CS), are applicable to multifamily rental housing developments selected by Minnesota Housing for this year. This includes projects selected through the 2018 Consolidated RFP, 2019 Housing Tax Credit (HTC) allocations through Round 1 or Round 2, and 2019 4% HTC Only projects. Allocations of 2018 4% HTC Only (without any other source of Minnesota Housing financing) will continue to be subject to the 2017 Building Standards. This allows for consistent application of standards by tax credit year.

Developments selected for financing on a year round basis are generally subject to the building standards in effect at the time of selection. If the year round funding request is combined with tax credits, the tax credit year determines the building standards. If a newer version is released after selection, the developer and architect may generally use the standards that were current at the time of the initial funding award.
Refer to the beginning summary section of each chapter to learn whether the standards are applicable to your project. The project activity or funding source generally dictates when and how a standard applies. Projects involving Adaptive Reuse or “gut” rehabilitation of rental housing must comply, to the maximum extent feasible, with standards for rehabilitation and new construction. When strict compliance to these standards is not feasible, contact the Minnesota Housing staff architect assigned to your project to discuss whether a waiver or variance is warranted.

Unless specifically excluded elsewhere, projects receiving funding from Minnesota Housing must comply with Minnesota Housing’s typical process for design, construction, and submittals noted in the Minnesota Housing Architect’s Guide and the Minnesota Housing Contractor’s Guide, as applicable.

Project Spotlight: Balsam Hill Apartments, Mound MN 
(formerly known as Indian Knoll Manor)
This project is a comprehensive rehabilitation of an apartment building built in 1970 that included adding a total of six new units to the existing 50 unit building, new exterior insulation with stucco finish, windows, roofing, dwelling unit upgrades, and other energy efficiency improvements. The new construction portion of the project included two separate town home buildings for a total of ten new family units. Site improvements were extensive with a storm water filtration system to filter runoff from the watershed district, parking lot re-design, landscaping, and a play structure for the family housing.
  • Developer: Aeon
  • General Contractor: Frerichs Construction
  • Architect: Cermak Rhoades
  • Construction Costs: Rehab: $3.7 million/New: $3.2 million
  • Dwelling Units: 56 apartment units/10 town home units
If you have questions about this eNews or other rental housing design and construction topics, contact one of our staff architects. Find out which architect works in your region.
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