Governor Reynolds Signs Into Law Additional Bills Affecting the Construction Industries

This month, Governor Kim Reynolds signed into law two more laws affecting the construction industries: House File 2581, which makes changes in the notice period and other aspects of the law regarding location of underground utilities; and HF 2388, relating to the regulation of exterior cladding and finish materials used on residential buildings. A summary of each law is contained herein, but readers should review each bill in its entirety.

House File 2581 (Location of Underground Utilities)

On May 1, 2024, Governor Reynolds signed House File 2581. This new law effectively enlarges the required notice period for a planned excavation and the time within which a utility operator has to locate and mark underground utilities in the excavation area.

Generally, Iowa law currently requires at least 48 hours of advance notice prior to beginning excavating—more if a weekend or holiday falls within that period. Iowa law similarly requires utility operators to locate and mark their underground facilities in the area planned for excavation within 48 hours of receiving the notice.

House File 2581 amends existing Iowa Code Chapter 480 to effectively enlarge the notice period by providing that the 48-hour period does not begin until 6 a.m. on the next business day after notice is received, excluding weekends and holidays. The new law also extends the time the notice is effective from 20 calendar days beginning on the date the notice is received to 25 calendar days after the 48-hour period ends. Additionally, the amendments permit excavators to submit complaints about an operator’s failure to locate and mark the planned excavation area within 48 hours directly to the utilities board, and it subjects locators who violate the time limit to a civil penalty.

The law remains unchanged that once locating and marking is complete and notice of completion has been received, excavation can begin even before the 48-hour period has expired.

The new law is set to take effect on July 1, 2024.

As a reminder, before you dig, you must call Iowa One Call at 8-1-1 or create a ticket online.

House File 2388 (Residential Building Exteriors)

On May 17, 2024, Governor Reynolds signed into law HF 2388, an Act relating to the regulation of styles and materials used for residential building exteriors. The law provides that cities and counties shall not adopt, enforce or otherwise administer an ordinance, motion, resolution or building code that prohibits or limits, either directly or indirectly, the use of a specific style of exterior cladding or finish materials for residential buildings in a manner that is more restrictive than the state building code as adopted pursuant to section 103A.7. Pursuant to this law, cities and counties, for example, would no longer be allowed to prohibit vinyl siding on residential buildings. The law also provides exceptions for areas designated as historic districts or homes in special purpose zones.

The new law is set to take effect on July 1, 2024.

Senate File 455 (Topsoil and Stormwater Regulations)

As noted in our recent legal update, Governor Reynolds signed Senate File 455, which limits the ability of cities and counties to regulate topsoil and stormwater on construction sites. Under the law, counties and cities cannot adopt or enforce any regulation relating to the preservation, compaction, placement or depth of topsoil at a construction site that is more restrictive than the requirements contained in the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permit no. 2 issued by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Further, counties and cities may adopt and enforce stormwater regulations concerning water runoff from upstream properties adjacent to construction sites only to the extent such runoff is allowed to pass through downstream stormwater basins at the same flow rates as off-site runoff entering the construction site. Stricter regulations are allowed only if:

  1. the city or county pays for all related study, design, and engineering costs,
  2. the city or county pays for the difference in any added equipment costs, and
  3. the city or county compensates private property owners for any impact caused by the regulations (without imposing any other penalty or assessment on the property owner).

The new law is set to take effect on July 1, 2024.

If you have questions regarding on these new laws or construction law in general, please contact Jodie McDougal (, 515.242.8971).

  • Jodie Clark McDougal

    In her construction work, Jodie counsels clients within the commercial and residential construction industries including general contractors; homebuilders; construction management companies; architectural, engineering ...

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