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Division Variances

Overview

Pursuant to IC 22-13-2-11, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (the “Department”) may grant a variance to any rule adopted by the Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission (the “Commission”). To qualify for a variance, you must pay a fee and submit facts demonstrating that:

  1. compliance with the rule will impose an undue hardship upon the applicant or prevent the preservation of an architecturally significant or historically significant part of a building or other structure; and
  2. either:
    1. noncompliance with the rule; or
    2. compliance with an alternative requirement approved by the body adopting the rule;

will not be adverse to the public health, safety, or welfare.

Application

To submit a request for a variance, please complete the application provided below. Please be advised, staff strongly encourages that you submit your request by completing the online application. However, if you are completing a paper application, submit the application to the address provided on the top corner of the application.

Notice

In addition to submitting your application to the Department, you must also provide notice of your application for a variance to your local building official and local fire official. Generally speaking, if you file your application online, notice is automatically provided upon submission of your application to the Department. The notice will be delivered to the email addresses you provided for your local building official and local fire official. To look up the email address for your local building official and local fire official, see the information below. If you are a local building official or local fire official and you would like the Department to update your contact information in the lists provided below, please notify the Department by sending an email, requesting an update, to variances@dhs.in.gov. Beginning September 1, 2019, the contact information provided below can be relied upon by applicants for providing notice. Please be aware, failure to provide notice to your local building official or local fire official may result in sanctions.

Consideration and Comment

Upon receiving a complete variance application, the Department must wait at least five business days before making a decision on the application. This delay is to provide a period for local building officials, local fire officials, and any interested party to comment on the variance application. All comments will be reviewed and considered by the Department, prior to making a determination on the application. If you are interested in submitting a written comment concerning a variance application, please complete the form located at the link below and deliver to variances@dhs.in.gov.

To make a written comment, click here.

After receiving a completed variance application and any written comments, the Department may request additional information or a meeting in order to make a determination on a variance application. For an overview of the process on how variances are processed and determined, see the flow chart below.

To view the Variance Flow Chart, click here.

Consideration by the Commission

If for any reason the Department defers its authority to make the determination on a variance request to the Commission, the Department will notify the applicant, the local building official, the local fire official, and any interested party of this decision. In addition to receiving notice from the Department, you may also verify the date that your request will be considered by the Commission by reviewing the Commission’s meeting agenda. To access the Commission’s meeting agenda, visit the following link: https://www.in.gov/dhs/3878.htm. (This link is updated monthly so please be patient and check back frequently if the webpage does not provide information concerning the upcoming meeting.) If your application for a variance will be considered by the Commission, it is advised that you or a representative be present at the Commission meeting and be prepared to respond to questions the Commission may have concerning your variance request. If additional information is needed for determination of your request and you are not present, the Commission may table consideration of your variance request until the next meeting or deny it based on the substance of the application. If your request is tabled, please be prepared to appear and provide additional information at the next scheduled Commission meeting.

Determinations

Following the Department’s or the Commission’s action on a variance request, a variance action letter will be delivered to the applicant that explains the action taken. Action on a variance request is final, subject to the administrative review process outlined in the action letter.

Variance Database

Variance applications and previously issued variance action letters can be viewed using the databases below:

Sanctions

In addition to the power to grant variances, the Department may also impose sanctions on previously issued variances. If you believe a previously issued variance should be sanctioned, you may submit a request for sanctions on the form found at the link below.

To view Variance Sanctions, click here.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the above processes, please email variances@dhs.in.gov or call (317) 232-1402.