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MNLPB Opinion: EIFS in Minneapolis

This past Summer and into Fall, the Lath and Plaster Bureau, the Plasterers and Laborers Locals, the MN State Building Trades Council, Distributors, Manufacturers and other outside interested parties; were embroiled in a battle with the Minneapolis Planning Department on a proposed exterior building material ordinance which would have effectively eliminated EIFS in Minneapolis. By some accounts it would appear that we won that battle, but did we? The unsubstantiated and frankly erroneous argument by planning staff that EIFS is not durable or “high quality” was thoroughly shot down in public comments.  But according to a memo by Chair Goodman of the planning commission, the new ordinance that passed “would not limit the use of any individual exterior material…The provisions would be subject to the flexibility offered through alternative compliance.” Chair Goodman goes on to say “The code text would also address situations where a project is presented to the public and the City Planning Commission utilizing high quality materials but then those materials are substituted with inferior, less durable materials when submitting plans to obtain a building permit.” Reading between the lines then, it would appear that nothing has changed. While the planning department doesn’t get to rubber stamp “EIFS unapproved” it does still appear to be the final arbiter of what exterior cladding materials are used, regardless of what the design professional has specified in the construction documents.