Department of Safety and Professional Services Announces Regulatory Changes

The leader of the state Department of Safety and Professional Services has announced changes to how the department handles regulation of commercial building construction following criticism from lawmakers and industry groups over delays.

One of DSPS’s responsibilities is to review commercial construction plans to ensure they comply with Wisconsin laws and regulations. Contractors pay a fee to the department for such plans to be reviewed.

Contractors have complained they have experienced delays of up to 10 to 12 weeks for their construction plans to be reviewed. They had been accustomed to six to eight weeks.

Crim announced changes to speed up the plan review process, including encouraging contractors to submit their construction plans early and with payment to have the opportunity to have their plan be reviewed earlier than scheduled.

Crim also plans to prohibit duplicate appointments for plan review and require contractors to pay the department before its reviews a construction plan.

“Our goal is to shorten the amount of time it takes for our customers to have their plans reviewed by our staff,” Crim said in a statement. “We collaborated with industry partners to align our solutions with the way our customers conduct business. We recognize our important role in the construction process and economic development. These changes will enable us to better facilitate both.”

Additional changes are being considered — such as making fees paid by contractors for plan review nonrefundable — but would need legislative approval.