This program was presented on March 23. The speaker presentation slides are available HERE.

The first conservation code for existing buildings was adopted in March 2003 as the Guidelines for the Rehabilitation of Existing Buildings or GREB.  It was developed as an attempt to uniformly address specific fire and life-safety issues that arose when altering, adding onto or changing the use of existing buildings.  Prior to that, existing conditions were either “grandfathered” into acceptance, or the code official required compliance with the code for new construction and a lot of retrofitting was required.  There was little uniformity in application of the code.  Today, the conservation code provides a much more comprehensive document defining when existing conditions are acceptable as-is and when they need to be modified to accommodate the proposed new changes to the building.  The Minnesota Conservation Code for Existing Buildings can save designers and project owners thousands of dollars and hours of design work by helping them to clearly understand the requirements for existing buildings undergoing change. 

Topics we will cover:

  • Code tracking basics to make sure you’re on the right path
  • What is required for all projects
  • When to use the prescriptive compliance method
  • When to use the work area compliance method
  • Some little known or mis-understood sections of the work area method that can save you time and money.

Learning objectives

  1. Quickly select the most cost effective and expedient code compliance path for their project addition, alteration or change of occupancy project.
  2. Clearly communicate their code compliance path to their building official and clearly defend their compliance position.
  3. Differentiate between levels of alteration and where the work area criteria apply under the Work Area Method.
  4. Quickly and affirmatively determine if a fire-suppression sprinkler system is required or required to be modified in each project.


Greg Metz has been with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry Construction Codes and Licensing Division since February 2015. He has 34 years of experience as a commercial architect specializing in large historic adaptive re-use projects.  He has a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Iowa State University and a Master of Architecture from California State Polytechnic University. Greg co-led the Technical Advisory Groups for adopting the latest Minnesota Commercial Building Code, Conservation Code for Existing Buildings, and Commercial Energy Code. He is also instrumental in development and state adoption of successive generations of these codes. Today, he manages both the Building Plan Review Unit and the Plumbing Plan Review Unit for MN DLI/CCLD overseeing review and approval of construction projects for public buildings and state licensed facilities throughout Minnesota.


Contact Deanna Christiansen, Continuing Education Director