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Construction/Remodeling Plan Review for Health Care Facilities

Health care facilities must submit construction project plan reviews to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS). This includes, but isn’t limited to, the following project types:

  • Building
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems
  • Fire protection systems

These rules apply to:

  • Hospitals.
  • Nursing homes.
  • Facilities serving people with developmental disabilities.
  • Community-based residential facilities*.
  • Hospice inpatient facilities.
  • Other spaces attached to a health care facility.

*The Regulatory Authority for Health Care Construction Plan Review, P-00746 (PDF) outlines plan reviews provided by the Office of Plan Review and Inspection (OPRI).

Contact us

Notice of requirements for digital document submissions

Plan submittals must be submitted to the OPRI as PDF files. Submittals should include the following:

  • Construction plans, with the seal and signature of the designer
  • Completed Plan Approval Application
  • A copy of the plan submittal fees checks

Send plan submittals to

Mail the following to the plan intake coordinator at DHS:

  • Payment for the plan submittal fees (in the form of a check)
  • A copy of the completed Plan Approval Application
DHS Division of Quality Assurance
ATTN: Plan Intake Coordinator
819 N. 6th St., Room 609B
Milwaukee, WI 53203-1606

This will ensure the plan intake coordinator matches payment to the correct construction project. Once you pay the fees, we will process the plans and send you an email.

Preliminary project meetings

Preliminary project meetings are important. These meetings should be scheduled early in the planning stages of a building project. All stakeholders should be included. OPRI facilitates these initial project meetings. Contact OPRI to schedule a meeting.

These meetings bring together:

  • OPRI employees.
  • Building owners/providers.
  • Designers.
  • Builders.
  • Local building and fire officials.

The goal of these meetings is to address:

  • Project scope.
  • Schedule.
  • Expectations.
  • Communications.
  • Responsibilities.

These meetings promote:

  • Compliance with codes and regulations.
  • Familiarity with Wisconsin inspection processes.
  • Effective communication.

Note: The following systems are reviewed by the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS):

  • Electrical
  • Plumbing systems
  • Private on-site waste treatment
  • Elevators
  • Boilers and pressure vessels
  • Mechanical refrigeration systems

For more information, visit the Division of Industry Services Plan Review webpage.

OPRI news

On May 5, 2023, DQA released memo 23-001 titled CBRF: Requirements for Newly-Licensed Existing Structures. The purpose of this memo is to provide the regulatory requirements regarding the conversion of an existing building or structure to a newly licensed CBRF.

If you have questions about CBRF plan review and construction, please contact the Office of Plan Review and Inspection.

If you have questions about CBRF licensing, please contact the Bureau of Assisted Living.

DHS published an updated edition of the hospital Wis. Admin. Code ch. DHS 124, on July 1, 2020, pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 50.36 (1m) (a), (b), and (c). This code affects hospitals that are licensed by the state of Wisconsin. The update includes new information about:

  • Plan review fees and applications.
  • Plans of correction.
  • Waivers and variances.
  • Maternity.
  • Patient rights.
  • Freestanding emergency departments.
  • Physical environment.

Hospitals must design, construct, and operate facilities based on:

  • The Life Safety Code, including Life Safety Codes in the federal Conditions of Participation.
  • Wisconsin Commercial Building Code.
  • National standards on construction and fire safety.

New rules also affect the design of patient rooms. Patient rooms must:

  • Be of sufficient size.
  • Have sanitary support.
  • Give the patient privacy and ways to contact staff.
  • Have fire safe finishes.

Emergency and fire incident reporting must be clearly outlined.

See Wis. Admin. Code ch. DHS 124 for more information.

CBRFs are grouped into categories based on certain requirements. This includes size and rules listed in Wis. Admin. Code § DHS 83.04.

CBRF categories include small, medium, and large.

  • Small CBRF—Five to eight residents (Wis. Admin. Code § DHS 83.04, Uniform Dwelling Code, and chs. SPS 320 – 325)
  • Medium CBRF—Nine to 20 residents (Wis. Admin. Code § DHS 83.04, chs. SPS 361 – 366 and adopted 2015 International Building Code. Occupancy grouping R-4, I-1, or I-2)
  • Large CBRF—21 or more residents (Wis. Admin. Code § DHS 83.04, chs. SPS 361 – 366 and adopted 2015 International Building Code. Occupancy grouping I-1 or I-2)

CBRF occupancy grouping:

  • CBRF with nine or more residents:
  • CBRF with nine to 16 residents:
    • R–4 condition 1 license category AA
    • R–4 condition 2 license category AS and ANA
  • CBRF with 17 or more residents:
    • I–1 condition 1 license category AA
    • I–1 condition 2 license category AS and ANA
    • I–2 condition 1 license category CA, CS and CNA
Last revised August 15, 2023