144G.45 MINIMUM SITE, PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT, AND FIRE SAFETY REQUIREMENTS.
Subdivision 1. Requirements. The following are required for all assisted living facilities:
(1) public utilities must be available and working or inspected and approved water and septic systems
must be in place;
(2) the location must be publicly accessible to fire department services and emergency medical services;
(3) the location’s topography must provide sufficient natural drainage and is not subject to flooding;
(4) all-weather roads and walks must be provided within the lot lines to the primary entrance and the
service entrance, including employees’ and visitors’ parking at the site; and
(5) the location must include space for outdoor activities for residents.
Subd. 2. Fire protection and physical environment. (a) Each assisted living facility must have a
comprehensive fire protection system that includes:
(1) protection throughout by an approved supervised automatic sprinkler system according to building
code requirements established in Minnesota Rules, part 1305.0903, or smoke detectors in each occupied
a room installed and maintained in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 72;
(2) portable fire extinguishers installed and tested in accordance with the NFPA Standard 10; and
(3) the physical environment, including walls, floors, ceiling, all furnishings, grounds, systems, and
equipment that is kept in a continuous state of good repair and operation with regard to the health, safety,
comfort, and well-being of the residents in accordance with a maintenance and repair program.
(b) Fire drills in assisted living facilities shall be conducted in accordance with the residential board and
care requirements in the Life Safety Code, except that fire drills in secured dementia care units shall be
conducted in accordance with section 144G.81, subdivision 2.
(c) Existing construction or elements, including assisted living facilities that were registered as housing
with services establishments under chapter 144D prior to August 1, 2021, shall be permitted to be continued
in use provided such use does not constitute a distinct hazard to life. Any existing elements that an authority
having jurisdiction deems a distinct hazard to life must be corrected. The facility must document in the
facility’s records any actions taken to comply with a correction order, and must submit to the commissioner
for review and approval prior to correction.
Subd. 3. Local laws apply. Assisted living facilities shall comply with all applicable state and local
governing laws, regulations, standards, ordinances, and codes for fire safety, building, and zoning
Subd. 4. Design requirements. (a) All assisted living facilities with six or more residents must meet
the provisions relevant to assisted living facilities in the most current edition of the Facility Guidelines
Institute “Guidelines for Design and Construction of Residential Health, Care and Support Facilities” and
of adopted rules. This minimum design standard must be met for all new licenses, new construction,
modifications, renovations, alterations, changes of use, or additions. In addition to the guidelines, assisted
living facilities shall provide the option of a bath in addition to a shower for all residents.
(b) If the commissioner decides to update the edition of the guidelines specified in paragraph (a) for
purposes of this subdivision, the commissioner must notify the chairs and ranking minority members of the
legislative committees and divisions with jurisdiction over health care and public safety of the planned
update by January 15 of the year in which the new edition will become effective. Following notice from the
commissioner, the new edition shall become effective for assisted living facilities beginning August 1 of
that year, unless provided otherwise in law. The commissioner shall, by publication in the State Register,
specify a date by which facilities must comply with the updated edition. The date by which facilities must
comply shall not be sooner than six months after publication of the commissioner’s notice in the State
Subd. 5. Assisted living facilities; Life Safety Code. (a) All assisted living facilities with six or more
residents must meet the applicable provisions of the most current edition of the NFPA Standard 101, Life
Safety Code, Residential Board and Care Occupancies chapter. The minimum design standard shall be met
for all new licenses, new construction, modifications, renovations, alterations, changes of use, or additions.
(b) If the commissioner decides to update the Life Safety Code for purposes of this subdivision, the
commissioner must notify the chairs and ranking minority members of the legislative committees and
divisions with jurisdiction over health care and public safety of the planned update by January 15 of the year
in which the new Life Safety Code will become effective. Following notice from the commissioner, the new
edition shall become effective for assisted living facilities beginning August 1 of that year, unless provided
otherwise in law. The commissioner shall, by publication in the State Register, specify a date by which
facilities must comply with the updated Life Safety Code. The date by which facilities must comply shall
not be sooner than six months after publication of the commissioner’s notice in the State Register.
Subd. 6. New construction; plans. (a) For all new licensure and construction beginning on or after
August 1, 2021, the following must be provided to the commissioner:
(1) architectural and engineering plans and specifications for new construction must be prepared and
signed by architects and engineers who are registered in Minnesota. Final working drawings and specifications
for proposed construction must be submitted to the commissioner for review and approval;
(2) final architectural plans and specifications must include elevations and sections through the building
showing types of construction, and must indicate dimensions and assignments of rooms and areas, room
finishes, door types and hardware, elevations and details of nurses’ work areas, utility rooms, toilet and
bathing areas, and large-scale layouts of dietary and laundry areas. Plans must show the location of fixed
equipment and sections and details of elevators, chutes, and other conveying systems. Fire walls and smoke
partitions must be indicated. The roof plan mustshow all mechanical installations. The site plan must indicate
the proposed and existing buildings, topography, roadways, walks and utility service lines; and
(3) final mechanical and electrical plans and specifications must address the complete layout and type
of all installations, systems, and equipment to be provided. Heating plans must include heating elements,
piping, thermostatic controls, pumps, tanks, heat exchangers, boilers, breeching, and accessories. Ventilation
plans must include room air quantities, ducts, fire and smoke dampers, exhaust fans, humidifiers, and air
handling units. Plumbing plans must include the fixtures and equipment fixture schedule; water supply and
circulating piping, pumps, tanks, riser diagrams, and building drains; the size, location, and elevation of
water and sewer services; and the building fire protection systems. Electrical plans must include fixtures
and equipment, receptacles, switches, power outlets, circuits, power and light panels, transformers, and
service feeders. Plans must show location of nurse call signals, cable lines, fire alarm stations, and fire
detectors and emergency lighting.
(b) Unless construction is begun within one year after approval of the final working drawing and
specifications, the drawings must be resubmitted for review and approval.
(c) The commissioner must be notified within 30 days before completion of construction so that the
commissioner can make arrangements for a final inspection by the commissioner.
(d) At least one set of complete life safety plans, including changes resulting from remodeling or
alterations, must be kept on file in the facility.
Subd. 7. Variance or waiver. (a) A facility may request that the commissioner grant a variance or
waiver from the provisions of this section or section 144G.81, subdivision 5. A request for a waiver must
be submitted to the commissioner in writing. Each request must contain:
(1) the specific requirement for which the variance or waiver is requested;
(2) the reasons for the request;
(3) the alternative measures that will be taken if a variance or waiver is granted;
(4) the length of time for which the variance or waiver is requested; and
(5) other relevant information deemed necessary by the commissioner to properly evaluate the request
for the waiver.
(b) The decision to grant or deny a variance or waiver must be based on the commissioner’s evaluation
of the following criteria:
(1) whether the waiver will adversely affect the health, treatment, comfort, safety, or well-being of a
(2) whether the alternative measures to be taken, if any, are equivalent to or superior to those permitted
under section 144G.81, subdivision 5; and
(3) whether compliance with the requirements would impose an undue burden on the facility.
(c) The commissioner must notify the facility in writing of the decision. If a variance or waiver is granted,
the notification mustspecify the period of time for which the variance or waiver is effective and the alternative
measures or conditions, if any, to be met by the facility.
(d) Alternative measures or conditions attached to a variance or waiver have the force and effect of this
chapter and are subject to the issuance of correction orders and fines in accordance with sections 144G.30,
subdivision 7, and 144G.31. The amount of fines for a violation of this subdivision is that specified for the
specific requirement for which the variance or waiver was requested.
(e) A request for renewal of a variance or waiver must be submitted in writing at least 45 days before
its expiration date. Renewal requests must contain the information specified in paragraph (b). A variance
or waiver must be renewed by the commissioner if the facility continues to satisfy the criteria in paragraph
(a) and demonstrates compliance with the alternative measures or conditionsimposed at the time the original
variance or waiver was granted.
(f) The commissioner must deny, revoke, or refuse to renew a variance or waiver if it is determined that
the criteria in paragraph (a) are not met. The facility must be notified in writing of the reasons for the decision
and informed of the right to appeal the decision.
(g) A facility may contest the denial, revocation, or refusal to renew a variance or waiver by requesting
a contested case hearing under chapter 14. The facility must submit, within 15 days of the receipt of the
commissioner’s decision, a written request for a hearing. The request for hearing must set forth in detail the
reasons why the facility contends the decision of the commissioner should be reversed or modified. At the
hearing, the facility has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the facility satisfied
the criteria specified in paragraph (b), except in a proceeding challenging the revocation of a variance or