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About Variances

Pursuant to Indiana Code 22-13-2-11, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (the “Department”) may grant a variance to any rule adopted by the Indiana 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 Process

To submit a request for a variance, please complete the online application provided below. Please be advised, you must submit your request by completing the online application, unless you are submitting a boiler or pressure vessel variance or you are unable to file electronically due to a qualifying hardship. To request a paper application, provide an overview of your hardship to IDHS by calling 317-232-2222 or mailing to:

Indiana Department of Homeland Security
Indiana Government Center-South
302 W. Washington St., Room E208
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Apply for a variance

Notice to Local Officials

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. 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.

To submit a written comment about a variance application, please complete the form below.

Make a written comment

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.

Variance process flow chart

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 at its Meeting Materials page. 
Note: The agenda may not be posted until three business days before the 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.


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 Databases

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


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 below.

Request variance sanctions