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:

2016 Health Care Built Environment (2016 HCBE) presentations now available on the DQA Webcast web page.

  • 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, 15 KB) outlines the scope of health care plan review provided by our office.

DHS grants “permissions to start” for footings and foundations. The permission to start form, additional fee payment, completed application and construction/remodeling plan must all be submitted in order to grant this permission.

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 for review. Information regarding their plan submittal process is available at:

OPRI Annual Report – 2015

The OPRI Annual Report 2015, P-01449 (PDF, 202 KB) includes information on project costs, life safety code citations and additional plan review related statistics.

OPRI News (last updated 11/3/16)

  • Adoption of the 2012 LSC – Waiver Provisions for Plan Review

On May 4, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) adopted the 2012 edition of the Life Safety Code (LSC). CMS has notified states to begin surveying for compliance with the 2012 LSC on November 1, 2016.  Affected providers include federally-certified hospitals, hospices, nursing homes and facilities serving people with developmental disabilities. These providers are also regulated by Wis. Admin. Code Chapters DHS 124, DHS 131, DHS 132 and DHS 134 which currently adopt the 2000 edition of the LSC. The Department has begun rulemaking to adopt the 2012 edition of the LSC into these chapters. In the interim, Wis. Admin. Code allows for the granting of a waiver to have contract documents reviewed under the 2012 LSC. If a hospital, hospice, nursing home or facility serving people with developmental disabilities wishes to request a waiver, the facility may submit the request to and include the following:

  1. The rule from which the waiver is requested;
  2. The reason for the request;
  3. Justification that the waiver will not adversely the affect the health, safety or welfare of any patient or resident.

If you have questions regarding this information, please contact OPRI at 608-266-0224.

  • CBRF and Hospice Projects Reviewed by Office of Plan Review and Inspection Only

Submittal and review is now streamlined to highlight the Department focus on efficiency. Potential CBRF projects are now addressed from pre-design through construction by a single agency.

CBRF and hospice projects subject to review by OPRI include new construction, additions, alterations or change of use as well as licensure changes. Construction document review by OPRI and conditional approvals shall precede municipal permitting for construction to proceed.  

  • 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 Regional Representative Maps found on the OPRI Plan Intake Staff and Inspectors web page to contact staff representatives and schedule the pre-design meeting.

Last Revised: February 14, 2017