Wisconsin Commercial Building Code Refresher

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Course Overview

What is the Wisconsin Commercial Building Code Refresher?
This annual event has been a valuable forum for professionals from many disciplines since its inception. Get current information to understand and use the Wisconsin Commercial Building Code in your work. This conference will be beneficial to architects, engineers, trade professionals, inspectors, and many others who use the Commercial Building Code in their careers.

Stay Current on the Codes
Learn best practices for implementing the Commercial Building Code on your projects! Wisconsin is currently using the 2015 International Building Codes, with amendments. Learn from nationally-recognized International Code Council (ICC) instructors about the 2015 codes, and hear expert advice from Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services staff that will improve your buildings and help make your plan submittal reviews smooth and successful.

Who Should Attend?

This refresher is designed specifically for people who design, construct, maintain or inspect commercial buildings in Wisconsin. Attendees include:

  • architects
  • planners
  • engineers
  • builders
  • state code officials

Additional Information

Conference Details for 2021

  • This year's conference will be an online event
  • Choose from 12 webinar topics, all available from your home, office, or wherever you have internet access - no travel needed
  • Webinars will take place between February 22 and March 1, 2021

Click here to learn more about the conference speakers. 

Choose Your Sessions

When you register, you’ll be asked to select the webinars you want to attend. You can attend some or all - all webinars are held at different times (no concurrent sessions.)

Want to attend a session but have a schedule conflict? No problem - if you sign up in advance and miss a session, you can still watch the recording afterward and answer the related questions to earn your PDH certificate. Be sure to register at least 24 hours in advance of your desired session - registration will close to ensure sufficient time to set up your "NetID" (please see below for details.)

Pricing to Fit Your Budget

Select just the sessions of interest to you, or sign up for all. Pricing is based on topic length. Webinars on Monday February 22 are free.

Group discounts are available! If you have 3 or more from the same organization per webinar, gather each person's contact information and session selections before registering, then register everyone at the same time. The registration system will automatically apply the discounts when you select the "Add Another Registrant" button on your order.

Conference Website

When you register, we’ll email you a link to set up your access to the conference website. Please be sure to register with an email address that you can access easily!  From the conference site, you can download conference materials, access the live session link, print your certificate, view agendas and speaker biographies, and more. Presentation handouts will be posted to the website during the week before each session in a printable PDF format. Note: If you set up a UW "NetID" login name for the conference in a past year, or any other online UW course, you can reuse the same NetID for this year. 

Registration Information

The full session schedule and descriptions are available for download here. The following topics are scheduled:

  1. 2015 SPS 361 Administration Overview (1 PDH, $0)

  2. COMcheck and REScheck How-to (1 PDH, $0)

  3. K.I.S.S.: Simple Submittal Items for Successful Approvals (1 PDH, $0)

  4. Tech Box Do's and Don'ts (1 PDH, $0)

  5. 2015 IEBC Overview (ICC Course; 2 PDH, $90)

  6. IECC Overview (3 PDH, $135)

  7. IMC Overview (6 PDH, $270)

  8. Emergency Lighting Overview (1 PDH, $45)

  9. Plumbing Systems in IBC Chapter 29: "Toilet Training", Sinks and Lavs (1 PDH, $45)

  10. The International Existing Building Code and Historic Buildings in Wisconsin (2 PDH, $90)

  11. Ethics V: Exploring Problems with Bias, Influence, and Conflict of Interest in Professional Engineering (2 PDH, $90)

  12. Resolving Healthcare Code Conflicts (5 PDH, $225)

Dates and Times for each session are shown below and in the agenda link above. Please be sure to register for your sessions at least 24 hours in advance to ensure sufficient time to set up your NetID and access the conference web site. Registration for each session will close 24 hours in advance.

Earn Continuing Education Credits

Earn professional development hours (PDH) based on which webinars you attend. Your certificate, which will show your hours, can be printed from the conference website after completing each webinar. To unlock your certificate, you must complete a short set of questions about the webinar content. Please note: Each webinar will be recorded, and the recording will be posted to the conference site for that session within 24 hours. If you miss the live session, you can still earn your attendance certificate by watching the recording and completing the questions.

AIA Learning Units: The full list of AIA LU approvals is available for download here.

WI DSPS License Credentials: The full list of DSPS-approved credits is available for download here.

Need 2015 ICC Codebooks? Try paperless!

The 2015 ICC codebooks can be ordered directly from ICC in a variety of formats, including immediate PDF download. You may order the codebooks online. Soft-cover printed books are also available.

Course Outline

Monday, February 22 to Monday, March 1 2021
(Download the full agenda here)


MONDAY, February 22

9 a.m. to 10 a.m. CST: 2015 SPS 361 Administration Overview

  • Speaker: Randall Dahmen, PE, Commercial Building Plan Reviewer, WI DSPS
  • Description: Learn about the administration and enforcement of Wisconsin's commercial building codes. Topics include the definition of a commercial building (scope of the code), local vs. state rules, petition for variances, plan review processes, construction supervision, inspections, and more.

11 a.m. to 12 p.m. CST: COMcheck and REScheck How-to

  • Speaker: Jennifer Zettler, Architect, Commercial Building Plan Reviewer, WI DSPS
  • Description: An overview of how and when to use COMcheck and REScheck software to demonstrate thermal envelope compliance.

1 p.m. to 2 p.m. CST: K.I.S.S.: Simple Submittal Items for Successful Approvals

  • Speaker: Jack A. Miller, Commercial Building Plan Examiner & Product Reviewer, WI DSPS
  • Description: This session is about the little things that are a huge help to getting plans submitted on-time and complete so that they can be reviewed promptly and successfully by DSPS plan review staff. Taught by someone with 4 years of plan submittal experience and then over 30 years of plan reviewing experience; this class can be helpful for new submitters and a great reminder for experienced submitters. With remote plan review staff, it is often the little things that make a big difference.

3 p.m. to 4 p.m. CST: Tech Box Do's and Don'ts

  • Speaker: Jack A. Miller, Commercial Building Plan Examiner & Product Reviewer, WI DSPS
  • Description: BldgTech, FireProTech, UDCTech, PlbgTech, ElectricTech have been around for 20 years now, so do you know how to use them? This session is going to explore the uses and the abuses of the technical question and answer system that DSPS staff offers for users of the DSPS website. The HOW and WHY for these Techboxes is almost as important as the WHAT that is being asked. We may not have all the answers, but we do offer most of them a timely and accurate reply, if that is possible for the item being asked. Please consider bringing a question or two with you when you attend this session, as interaction is encouraged here.

TUESDAY, February 23

10 a.m. to 12 p.m. CST: 2015 IEBC® Overview (ICC Course)

  • Speaker: John Gibson,MCP, CBO, CPCA, CFM, Technical Manager/ Education, International Code Council
  • Description: This seminar presented by the International Code Council (ICC) discusses critical concepts of the 2015 International Existing Building Code (IEBC®). It will provide a basis for the correct use and application of the code.

1 p.m. to 4 p.m. CST: IECC Overview

  • Speaker: Randall Dahmen, PE, Commercial Building Plan Reviewer, WI DSPS
  • Description: Learn about the energy code requirements for commercial buildings in Wisconsin, including the applicable provisions of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and Wisconsin amendments. Mechanical systems (HVAC, controls) and building envelope energy efficiency requirements are discussed.

WEDNESDAY, February 24

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST: IMC Overview

  • Speaker: Randall Dahmen, PE, Commercial Building Plan Reviewer, WI DSPS 
  • Description: This session covers the requirements for design of mechanical building systems using the International Mechanical Code and Wisconsin amendments. Topics include HVAC design calculations, selection and installation of HVAC equipment, equipment room enclosure and clearances, roof-mounted equipment and vents, ventilation, air and heat exchangers, commercial kitchens, smoke detection and dampers, and more.
    Note: A 1-hour break from 12 PM CST to 1 PM CST is included.

THURSDAY, February 25

9 a.m. to 10 a.m. CST:  Emergency Lighting Overview

  • Speaker: Randall Dahmen, PE, Commercial Building Plan Reviewer, WI DSPS
  • Description: Learn about the Wisconsin requirements for emergency egress lighting in commercial buildings. The session covers lighting under both normal and standby power, calculation of lighting paths, creating an emergency lighting plan checklist, and testing the installed system. 

11 a.m. to 12 p.m. CST: Plumbing Systems in IBC Chapter 29: "Toilet Training", Sinks and Lavs

  • Speaker: Randall Dahmen, PE, Commercial Building Plan Reviewer, WI DSPS
  • Description: In this session, learn about the requirements for toilet facilities in Wisconsin. Requirements discussed include minimum number of facilities, enclosures, access, lavatories and surrounding materials, and alterations for applications such as child day care.

1 p.m. to 3 p.m. CST: The International Existing Building Code and Historic Buildings in Wisconsin

  • Speaker: Chris Rute, AIA RIBA, CRDesign
  • Description: A presentation of the basics of the International Existing Building Code with a look at the interplay of the IEBC® and the International Building Code, with an emphasis of the Code's impact and application for Historic Buildings being altered, renovated, and adapted for new uses.

FRIDAY, February 26

1 p.m. to 3 p.m. CST: Ethics V: Exploring Problems with Bias, Influence, and Conflict of Interest in Professional Engineering

  • Speaker: Laura Grossenbacher, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Description: In this fifth version of the popular engineering Ethics series, the first half of the workshop will explore this question: What strategies can we use to better identify when our own judgment may be biased by pre-existing relationships or influences that may compromise our objectivity? The second half of the workshop will be outward-looking, focused on practical strategies for communicating with others about problems that have ethical dimensions.

MONDAY, March 1

9 a.m. to 3 p.m. CST: Resolving Healthcare Code Conflicts

  • Speaker: David Soens, PE, RA, Life Safety Engineer, WI Department of Health Services (DHS)
  • Description: Explore key code requirements for health care facilities, and evaluate multiple methods to resolving code conflicts. Understand procedures available to effectively deliver innovative projects and participate in scenarios of common health care regulatory challenges. 
    Note: A 1-hour break from 12 PM CST to 1 PM CST is included.

Updated 2/3/2021


Joy Altwies

Joy Altwies, Ph.D., P.E., LEED AP+, is a program director for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Office of Engineering Professional Development (EPD).

For over 15 years, Dr. Altwies has developed and taught continuing education courses emphasizing high-performance building design and construction, mechanical system design and operation, energy efficiency, and commissioning. She also develops and teaches graduate courses in the Master of Sustainable Systems Engineering (SSE) degree program.

Prior to joining the University, Joy worked as a consulting engineer focusing on green building projects and commissioning. She is an active member of ASHRAE and the US Green Building Council. Joy holds a Bachelor and Master's degrees in Mechanical Engineering, and earned her Doctorate in Environment and Resources at UW-Madison. Her interdisciplinary research investigated the impact of building energy code policies on technology adoption in the commercial and residential building sectors.

Randall Dahmen

Randall R. Dahmen, PE, is an advanced engineering consultant in the Division of Industry Services (formally the Division of Safety and Buildings) of the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services. A Wisconsin registered professional engineer as well as licensed commercial building and UDC HVAC inspector, Dahmen has been employed by the Division since 1995. Prior to that he was a private sector project engineer involved in the design, fabrication, testing, field installation, and troubleshooting of various types of HVAC equipment. Dahmen was a finalist for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Jeffrey Johnson Award for his energy conservation efforts.

John Gibson

John is the Technical Manager/ Education and an Instructor for the International Code Council (ICC). A certified Master Code Professional and Certified Fire Marshal; he has forty-five (45) other certifications, including thirty-six (36) from the ICC. Having earned a B.S. in Engineering from the University of Delaware, he has also studied Architecture at Georgia Tech and completed courses in Emergency Management and Fire Prevention at the National Emergency Training Center.

Formerly the Director of the Department of Permits and Inspections for Frederick County Maryland, he is an ICC Honorary Member, has served on the ICC- Evaluations Services (ICC- ES) Board of Directors, the ICC Code Correlating Committee, the Board of Directors for BOCA International, Inc., Maryland’s Governor’s Smart Code Strategy Group, Chaired the ICC Board for International Professional Standards and is an Honorary Member and Past President of the Maryland Building Officials Association.

He currently teaches ICC administrative, building, residential, existing building, permit technician, property maintenance, zoning, green building, fire, wildland/urban interface, energy courses, and is a contract instructor at the Dept. of Homeland Security, United States Fire Administration, National Fire Academy, Emmitsburg, MD. He received the ICC Educator of the Year award in 2010.

Laura Grossenbacher

Laura Grossenbacher, PhD, is the Director of the Technical Communication Program in the College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has been teaching courses in engineering communication for over twenty years. Dr. Grossenbacher has been an active member of the Association for Practical and Profession Ethics, serving as a judge at the National Ethics Bowl Intercollegiate Competition for several years. She has served a three-year rotation as an NSF proposal reviewer for the Ethics in Engineering and Science Education panel, and actively develops cases for her undergraduate capstone course, Contemporary Issues in International Engineering.

Jack Miller

Mr. Miller graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in December 1985 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Engineering – with a structural emphasis.  He previously had worked for Morton Buildings, Inc. submitting plans for almost four years in the engineering & design department.  He has worked as a commercial building plan examiner for the State of Wisconsin since 1989 in the Hayward & La Crosse offices.  He also reviews new products for approval, as well as duties in telephone consultation & BldgTech group e-mail box.

Chris Rute

Chris is a licensed Wisconsin Architect and began his career in architecture in 1981 after graduating from The School of Architecture and Urban Planning at University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.  He has worked in traditional architectural offices of varying size, a design-build firm, and corporate architecture in Dallas, Texas and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  In 1993, his career path pivoted from architectural design to code official as a plans examiner and, later, as the manager of Milwaukee’s Development Center until his retirement from the City of Milwaukee in 2017.  During that time, he participated in the Wisconsin Commercial Code Council just prior to, and for several years after, the adoption of the ICC codes by the State.  He also served on the Existing Building and Change of Occupancy Code Council and was involved with the adoption of the ICC Existing Building Code in Wisconsin.

Chris has taught building code classes at Milwaukee School of Art and Design, Milwaukee School of Engineering, as well as to University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee architecture students, and to building inspectors and plans examiners at the City of Milwaukee.

Chris currently is the principal at CR Design providing code consultation and preliminary code plan review services and assistance to architects, developers, building owners, and business operators as they navigate their way through plan approval and building permit processes. His experience on both sides of the plan review desk has provided a balanced and in-depth understanding of the building regulatory process and requirements.  Beside Building Codes, Chris is passionate about Historic Preservation and Adaptive Reuse of Historic Buildings. 

David Soens

Dave is the Wisconsin Department of Health Services' fire authority, physical environment technical consultant, federal surveyor, state building inspector, and liaison to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). He previously served as the director of the Department’s state-wide engineering construction and survey team for hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living providers. He continues to serve as an active member of ASHE, NFPA, FGI, and WHEA. A licensed professional as both an engineer and architect, he continues to serve the overall building industry in both the private and public sectors for over 25 years.

Jennifer Zettler

Ms. Zettler graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA and M. Arch. She is a licensed architect in Wisconsin and Minnesota and maintains a LEED-AP certification. Additionally, she is a licensed commercial building inspector and UDC inspector (construction, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing) for the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services. Prior to work with the Department, she was a project architect working in the private sector. Ms. Zettler has been employed by the Division of Industry Services since 2017, starting as a UDC Consultant before transferring to her current role as a commercial building plan reviewer.

Upcoming dates (1)

Feb. 26 - Mar. 1, 2021

Course in progress

Program Director

Joy Altwies