Construction/Remodeling Plan Review for Health Care Facilities

This website provides information and instructions on how to submit plan reviews to the Department of Health Services (DHS), Division of Quality Assurance (DQA), Office of Plan Review and Inspection (OPRI) for the construction and remodeling of:

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Facilities serving people with Developmental Disabilities (FDD)
  • Community-based residential facilities (CBRF)
  • Hospice inpatient facilities
  • Other occupancies physically attached to a hospital, nursing home, CBRF, or hospice inpatient facility

The authority for DHS plan review specifically relates to the building, heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and fire protection system construction projects for the above listed health care facilities.

Pre-design meetings for all health care projects are structured to promote compliance with the appropriate codes, familiarize the design team with Wisconsin inspection processes, and establish communication links. As part of the process, it is highly recommended that a pre-design meeting be established with all stakeholders early in the early planning states of any health care project.

OPRI has regulatory authority for CBRF health care plan review. Potential CBRF projects are now addressed from pre-design through construction by a single agency – DHS. The Memorandum of Agreement Diagram (PDF) outlines the scope of health care plan review provided by OPRI.

NOTE: Unique systems not reviewed by DHS for the providers listed above include plumbing systems, private onsite waste treatment, elevators, boilers, and mechanical refrigeration systems. These systems are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) for review. Information regarding their plan submittal process is available on the DSPS Plan Review webpage.

OPRI Annual Report – 2017

The OPRI Annual Report 2017, P-01449 (PDF) includes information on project costs, life safety code citations and additional plan review related statistics.

Health Care Built Environment Conference

Health Care Built Environment (HCBE) conference presentations are available on the DQA Webcasts webpage.

OPRI News (last updated 5/2/18)

Wisconsin Adoption of the 2015 edition of the International Code Council Documents

DSPS recently announced that the proposed code package CR 16-094 has been adopted. This adoption has updated the Wisconsin Commercial Building Code chs. SPS 361 – 366. This rule revision updates the model building codes to the 2015 edition. Chs. SPS 361 to 366 contain further provisions that modify each model code to adapt the code to Wisconsin’s unique public safety and building needs. This rule revision incorporates the 2015 edition of the following model building codes:

  • International Building Code®, with modifications in ch. SPS 362.
  • International Energy Conservation Code®, with modifications in ch. SPS 363.
  • International Mechanical Code®, with modifications in ch. SPS 364.
  • International Fuel Gas Code®, with modifications in ch. SPS 365.
  • International Existing Building Code®, with modifications in ch. SPS 366.

The effective date for the updated rules is May 1, 2018.

OPRI will align the submittal process with the DSPS model.

  • Health care project construction documents submitted for review to OPRI on or after May 1, 2018 will be reviewed based on the updated rules.
  • Health care projects and all subsequent components and related construction documents submitted before May 1, 2018, will be subject to the Wisconsin Commercial Building Code chs. SPS 361–366 and adopted 2009 editions of the model codes in effect prior to May 1, 2018.

Community-Based Residential Facility Building Code Occupancy Classification

DSPS has recently adopted the 2015 edition of the International Building Code (IBC) as part of the Wisconsin Commercial Building Code.

Chapter 3 of the IBC classifies commercial buildings in relation to use and occupancy. Depending on the number of people being cared for, and the extent of their physical condition, community-based residential facilities (CBRFs) will typically be classified I-1, I-2, R-4 or R-3.

DHS CBRF licensing categories are based on size and classification as found under Wis. Admin. Code § DHS 83.04.

CBRF sized is based on the following criteria:

(a) A CBRF for 5 to 8 residents is a small CBRF.

Regulated under Wis. Admin. Code § DHS 83.04 specific to the UDC and chs. SPS 320 to 325.

(b) A CBRF for 9 to 20 residents is a medium CBRF.

Regulated under Wis. Admin. Code § DHS 83.04 specific to chs. SPS 361 – 366 and adopted 2015 IBC.
Occupancy grouping R-4, I-1 or I-2 based on size and classification.

(c) A CBRF for 21 or more residents is a large CBRF.

Regulated under Wis. Admin. Code § DHS 83.04 specific to chs. SPS 361 – 366 and adopted 2015 IBC.
Occupancy grouping I-1 or I-2 based on size and classification.

The classification of all CBRFs is based on the following criteria found under DHS 83.04.

(a) Class A ambulatory (AA). A class A ambulatory CBRF serves only residents who are ambulatory and who are mentally and physically capable of responding to a fire alarm by exiting the CBRF without any help or verbal or physical prompting.

(b) Class A semi−ambulatory (AS). A class A semi−ambulatory CBRF serves only residents who are ambulatory or semi−ambulatory and who are mentally and physically capable of responding to a fire alarm by exiting the CBRF without any help or verbal or physical prompting.

(c) Class A non−ambulatory (ANA). A class A non−ambulatory CBRF serves residents who are ambulatory, semi−ambulatory or non−ambulatory and who are mentally and physically capable of responding to a fire alarm by exiting the CBRF without any help or verbal or physical prompting.

(d) Class C ambulatory (CA). A class C ambulatory CBRF serves only residents who are ambulatory but one or more of whom are not mentally capable of responding to a fire alarm by exiting the CBRF without any help or verbal or physical prompting.

(e) Class C semi−ambulatory (CS). A class C semi−ambulatory CBRF serves only residents who are ambulatory or semi−ambulatory, but one or more of whom are not physically or mentally capable of responding to a fire alarm by exiting the CBRF without help or verbal or physical prompting.

(f) Class C non−ambulatory (CNA). A class C non−ambulatory CBRF serves residents who are ambulatory, semi−ambulatory or non−ambulatory, but one or more of whom are not physically or mentally capable of responding to a fire alarm by exiting the CBRF without help or verbal or physical prompting.

CBRF occupancy grouping based on the 2015 adopted IBC:

  • CBRF serving 9 – 16 residents
    R-4 condition 1 license category AA
    R-4 condition 2 license category AS and ANA
  • CBRF serving 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

Pre-Design Meetings Continue to Promote Project Success

Pre-design meetings for health care projects are structured to promote successful outcomes. The pre-design meeting, facilitated by OPRI representatives, brings together the owner/provider, designer(s), builder(s) as well as the local building and fire officials. The meeting addresses project scope, schedule, expectations, communications and responsibilities. Pre-design meetings for all the stakeholders are highly recommended for any health care project early in the planning stage. Reference the OPRI county maps found on the OPRI Plan Intake Staff and Plan Intake webpage to contact staff representatives and schedule the pre-design meeting.

Last Revised: May 31, 2018