House of Representatives
Office of Program Research
Local Government Committee
This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.
Brief Description: Creating a six-year time frame for substantial building code amendments.
Sponsors: Senators Benton, Schoesler, Bailey, Carrell, Becker, Holmquist Newbry, Sheldon, Ericksen and Dammeier.
Hearing Date: 3/19/13
Staff: Sean Flynn (786-7124).
The State Building Code and Council.
The State Building Code (Code) provides a set of statewide standards and requirements related to building construction. The State Building Code Council (SBCC) is responsible for maintaining and amending the Code. The SBCC consists of local government officials as well as building industry and public representatives. Members are appointed by the Governor to serve three-year terms.
The State Building Code — International Model Codes.
The Code is comprised of various international model codes, including building, residential, fire, and plumbing codes, (model codes) adopted by reference by the Legislature. The model codes are promulgated by the International Code Council, except the model plumbing code, which is published by a separate international plumbing association. The model codes are updated and published every three years, with the latest versions published in 2012.
The SBCC must regularly review the updated model codes to adopt the latest versions or make amendments as deemed appropriate. The SBCC also accepts and considers petitions for amendments to the model codes received from local governments and other interested parties. All decisions to adopt or amend the model codes must be made by December 1 of any year, but cannot become effective until the end of the regular legislative session the following year.
The State Building Code - The State Energy Code.
The Code also incorporates the State Energy Code (Energy Code), created by the Legislature and promulgated by the SBCC to set requirements and standards for increasing energy efficiency in residential and nonresidential buildings. The SBCC must review the Energy Code every three years.
The SBCC may amend the Energy Code to increase energy efficiency in newly constructed residential and nonresidential homes. For newly constructed residential buildings, decisions to amend the Energy Code must be made before December 1 of any year and cannot take effect until after the regularly-scheduled legislative session of the following year.
For newly constructed nonresidential buildings, decisions must be made before December 15 of any year and cannot take effect until after the regularly-scheduled legislative session of the following year. Substantial amendments to the Energy Code for new nonresidential buildings may not be made more frequently than every three years. The Legislature must approve any decision to amend the Energy Code for nonresidential buildings that receives less than a two-thirds majority vote of the SBCC.
Between 2013 and 2031, The SBCC must make incremental changes to the Energy Code in order to achieve a 70 percent reduction in annual net energy consumption for residential and nonresidential buildings, using 2006 as a baseline measure. The measurement of net energy consumption incorporates the embodied energy used in building materials, which includes the amount of fossil fuel consumed to extract and transport raw materials as well as the cost benefits of the materials such as recyclability, energies efficiencies, and life span.
Summary of Bill:
Substantial amendments to the model codes may not be adopted more frequently than every six years.
The SBCC must review the Energy Code every six years, instead of every three years. Substantial amendments to the Energy Code for nonresidential buildings may not be adopted more frequently than every six years, instead of every three years.
The model codes and the Energy Code may be amended more frequently than every six years to account for embodied energy in a building.
Fiscal Note: Requested on March 15, 2013.
Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.