Iowa Department of Public Safety Office of the Commissioner

Regulatory Assistance


Areas of Regulation

Frequently Asked Questions

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Regulatory Assistance

Regulatory Responsibilities of the Iowa Department of Public Safety

Fire Safety Requirements State Building Code
Licensing or Certification of Occupations and Businesses Access to Criminal Justice Information
Other Regulation by
Department of Public Safety
Related Regulation by Other Agencies

Fact Sheets:

  • Accessibility of buildings and facilities available to the public
  • Accessible parking
  • Construction Involving Historic Buildings and Facilities
  • Energy Conservation in Construction


Fire Safety Requirements

The State Fire Marshal has authority, pursuant to various provisions of the Code of Iowa, to establish requirements for the following:

  • Standards relating to exits and exit lights, fire escapes, fire protection, fire safety and the elimination of fire hazards, in and for churches, schools, hotels, theaters, amphitheaters, hospitals, health care facilities as defined in section 135C.1, boarding homes or housing, rest homes, dormitories, college buildings, lodge halls, club rooms, public meeting places, places of amusement, apartment buildings, food establishments as defined in section 137F.1, and all other buildings or structures in which persons congregate from time to time, whether publicly or privately owned
  • Inspection and enforcement by inspectors employed by the Fire Marshal.
  • Designate and assess fees to each building, structure, or facility for which a fire safety inspection or plan review by the state fire marshal is required by law.
  • Enforce all laws relating to fire escapes.
  • Orders requiring corrections of conditions in violation of established fire safety requirements.
  • Emergency orders requiring the immediate correction of conditions in violation of established fire safety requirements which present imminents to public health or safety.
  • Installation of and standarrds for smoke detectors in multiple unit residential buildings and single family residences constructed after July 1, 1991.
  • Periodic fire drills in schools.
  • Fire warning systems in schools.
  • Automatic fire extinguishing systems in high rise buildings.
  • Open burning bans in any area on the request of the local fire chief or chiefs, a city council, or county board of supervisors.
  • Minimum training standards for fire fighters.
  • Training curricula for regional emergency responder training centers (new).
  • Fee schedules for regional emergency responder training facilities (new).
  • Procedures and criteria for line of duty death benefits for volunteer emergency services providers.
  • Administration of funds for fire fighter training and equipment.
  • Certification of fire extinguishing system contractors.
  • Transportation, storage, handling and use of flammable liquids, liquefied petroleum gases and liquefied natural gases.
  • Registration of above ground petroleum storage tanks.
  • Manufacture, transportation, storage, possession, and use of explosive materials.
  • Disposition of explosives.
  • Licensing of commercial explosives operations.

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State Building Code

  • Construction standards
  • Applies to state owned buildings and in local jurisdictions which adopt it, except that these requirements apply anywhere in the state:
    • Accessibility
    • Energy efficiency requirements for new construction
    • Standards for factory built structures (manufactured and modular homes)
    • Lighting efficiency (very large buildings only)
    • Minimum toilet facilities
    • Factory-built structures (manufactured homes and modular homes and other modular buildings)
  • Applies to new construction of buildings and facilities financed in whole or in part with funds appropriated by the State which will not be owned by the State, if there is no local building code.
  • Applies to public school construction, if there is no local building code.
  • Certification of manufactured home installers.

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Licensing or Certification of Occupations and Businesses

  • Licensing of Private Investigative, Private Security, and Bail Enforcement Businesses
  • Licensing of Commercial Explosives Operations
  • Certification of Fire Extinguishing System Contractors
  • Certification of Manufactured Housing Installers
  • Licensing of Manufactured Housing Dealers (effective January 1, 2007)
  • Licensing of Electrician and Electrical Contractors (effective January 1, 2008)
  • Certification of Alarm System Contractors and Installers

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Access to Criminal Justice Information

  • Criminal history records
  • Iowa Sex Offender Registry records
  • Criminal intelligence information
  • Use of the IOWA System (statewide law enforcement computer network)
  • Use of State Police Radio System (under development)
  • Missing persons, including Amber Alert Program (rules under development)
  • Uniform Crime Reporting System (rules under development)

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Other Areas of Regulation by the Department of Public Safety

  • Requirements for Obtaining Weapons Permits
  • Capitol Complex Access Cards (rules under development)
  • Video surveillance systems in casinos.

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Related Areas Regulated by Other Agencies

  • Elevators are regulated by Iowa Workforce Development, Labor Services Division
  • Boilers and pressure vessels are regulated by Iowa Workforce Development, Labor Services Division
  • The State Plumbing Code, which establishes standards for plumbing in cities, is administered by the Iowa Department of Public Health.
  • Drivers licenses are issued by the Department of Transportation
  • Most health care facilities are licensed by the Department of Inspections and Appeals (the State Fire Marshal inspects these facilities for compliance with fire safety standards)
  • Requirements for operations of racing and gaming operations are established by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.
  • Requirements for access to and security of buildings on the Capitol Complex in Des Moines, including the State Capitol Building, are established by the Department of Administrative Services - General Services Enterprise, and enforced by Iowa State Patrol Post 16.

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Created: 05-10-2006
Last Updated: 06-28-2011 (JGL)