E2SHB 1622

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.

As Passed Legislature

Title: An act relating to the state building code council.

Brief Description: Concerning the state building code council.

Sponsors: House Committee on Appropriations (originally sponsored by Representatives Senn, Springer, Tharinger, Ormsby and Fey).

Brief History:

Committee Activity:

Local Government: 2/7/17, 2/15/17 [DPS];

Appropriations: 2/23/17, 1/17/18, 1/18/18 [DP2S(w/o sub LG)].

Floor Activity:

Passed House: 2/8/18, 73-24.

Passed Senate: 2/28/18, 30-19.

Passed Legislature.

Brief Summary of Engrossed Second Substitute Bill

  • Modifies the administrative processes of the State Building Code Council (Council), including requiring the Council to adhere to statutory requirements applicable to significant legislative rules.

  • Establishes the Council in the Department of Enterprise Services (DES) and specifies that the DES provides administrative support and the Council has rulemaking authority.

  • Creates separate building permit fees for commercial building permits and residential building permits.

  • Creates a new fee for licensing of registered architects and entities engaged in the practice of architecture.


Majority Report: The substitute bill be substituted therefor and the substitute bill do pass. Signed by 4 members: Representatives Appleton, Chair; McBride, Vice Chair; Gregerson and Peterson.

Minority Report: Do not pass. Signed by 3 members: Representatives Griffey, Ranking Minority Member; Pike, Assistant Ranking Minority Member; Taylor.

Staff: Desiree Omli (786-7383).


Majority Report: The second substitute bill be substituted therefor and the second substitute bill do pass and do not pass the substitute bill by Committee on Local Government. Signed by 17 members: Representatives Ormsby, Chair; Robinson, Vice Chair; Bergquist, Cody, Fitzgibbon, Hansen, Hudgins, Jinkins, Kagi, Pettigrew, Pollet, Sawyer, Senn, Springer, Stanford, Sullivan and Tharinger.

Minority Report: Do not pass. Signed by 14 members: Representatives Chandler, Ranking Minority Member; MacEwen, Assistant Ranking Minority Member; Stokesbary, Assistant Ranking Minority Member; Buys, Caldier, Condotta, Graves, Haler, Manweller, Schmick, Taylor, Vick, Volz and Wilcox.

Minority Report: Without recommendation. Signed by 1 member: Representative Harris.

Staff: Meghan Morris (786-7119).


The State Building Code Council.

The State Building Code Council (Council) is responsible for adopting, maintaining, and amending the State Building Code (Building Code) and establishes statewide minimum performance standards and requirements for construction and construction materials, consistent with accepted standards of engineering, fire, and life safety.

The Council is made up of 15 members appointed by the Governor who represent specified entities as follows:

A member who is appointed to represent a specific private sector industry must maintain sufficiently similar employment or circumstances throughout their term on the Council. Employment outside of the specific industry is grounds for termination from the Council.

The Council may employ permanent and temporary staff and contract for services. The Department of Enterprise Services (DES) provides administrative and clerical assistance to the Council.

The State Building Code.

The Building Code is comprised of model codes published by the International Code Council, including building, residential, and fire codes, adopted by reference in statute, as well as rules developed and adopted by the Council. The model codes typically set forth the industry standard. The Council adopted a process for the review of proposed statewide amendments to the model codes and proposed local amendments to the model codes.

Building Permits.

A fee of $5.50 must be paid for each building permit issued by the county or city, plus an additional $2 surcharge for each residential unit, except the first unit, in a building with more than one unit. All monies collected must be deposited into the State Building Code Council Account.

Significant Legislative Rules.

An agency is required to make specified determinations and perform additional analysis during the rulemaking process when adopting any significant legislative rule. A "significant legislative rule" is a rule other than a procedural or interpretive rule that:

An agency is not required to comply with the process for adopting significant legislative rules if the rule is adopting or incorporating by reference, without material change, federal statutes or regulations, state statutes, rules of other state agencies, Shoreline Master Programs, or national consensus codes that generally establish industry standards.

Licensing of Architects.

Individuals engaged in the practice of architecture must register with the Director of the Department of Licensing (Director). The Director must grant a certificate of registration to all qualified applicants and may require payment of fees for issuance and renewal of a certificate of registration. Business entities engaged in the practice of architecture must register with the State Board of Architects (Board). The Director, with authorization from the Board, issues certificates of authorization to practice architecture to qualified business entities. The Director may require payment of fees for issuance and renewal of the certificates of authorization. All fees collected must be deposited into the Architects' License Account.

Summary of Engrossed Second Substitute Bill:

State Building Code Council.

The Council is established in the DES. Rulemaking authority is housed within the Council. The DES, with advice and input from the Council, must hire staff, contract for services for the Council, and provide all administrative and information technology services required for the Council. The DES must contract with an independent, third-party entity to perform economic analysis of code proposals. In addition, the Council must approve the proposed budget submitted by the DES, and may approve contracts for services entered into by the DES.

The member of the Council representing the general public must not be eligible for membership on the Council in any other capacity and may not have previously been nominated or appointed to the Council to represent any other group.

The seven members of the Council representing various areas of specialized fields must represent the private sector or professional organizations. "Professional organizations" is defined as an entity whose members are engaged in a particular lawful vocation, occupation, or field of activity of a specialized nature, including associations, boards, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations. Employment outside of the private sector is grounds for termination from the Council. The Governor is required to select appointees to represent private sector industries from a list of three nominations provided by trade associations representing the industry.

By July 1, 2019, the Council must adopt a revised process for review of proposed statewide amendments to the Building Codes as enumerated in statute and proposed or enacted local amendments to those codes.

The Council, in consultation with the Office of the Chief Information Officer, must assess the costs and benefits of the potential acquisition and implementation of open public access information technologies to enhance the Council's code adoption process. The Council must report to the Legislature by November 15, 2018.

Building Permits.

An applicant for a building permit must pay a fee of $6.50 for each residential building permit, and $25 for each commercial building permit. A "residential building permit" is a building permit issued by a city or a county to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish, or change the occupancy of any building containing only dwelling units used for independent living of one or more persons including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation, and structures accessory to dwelling units such as detached garages and storages buildings. A "commercial building permit" is a building permit issued by a city or a county to construct, enlarge, alter, repair, move, demolish, or change the occupancy of any building not covered by a residential building permit.

Significant Legislative Rules.

The Council is added to the list of agencies required to adhere to additional statutory requirements for significant legislative rules.

Licensing of Architects.

The Director must collect a new fee of $6.50 for each issuance and renewal of a certificate of registration for a registered architect and each issuance and renewal of a certificate of authorization for an entity engaged in the practice of architecture. This fee is in addition to other fees that may be collected by the Director. All monies collected from the new fee must be deposited into the Building Code Council Account.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect on July 1, 2018, except for sections 9 and 10, relating to creating a new fee for licensing of architects and entities engaged in the practice of architecture, which take effect October 1, 2018.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony (Local Government):

(In support) This substitute bill incorporates comments and questions from the Senate hearing and adds clarifications around rulemaking, which was an important piece of feedback. It clarifies the DES's role and clarifies that the Council has ultimate rulemaking authority. This bill also adopts reforms to ensure the Council is responsible and supported. Incorporating them within the DES gives the Council administrative support that they have been lacking. The fee increase is modest, and fees have not been increased since 1999. The fee increase will give the Council the resources necessary to make improvements in the operation of the Council and do the work that the Legislature is asking them to do. It is important to ensure that there is a strong Council as we are dealing with earthquakes and making sure our schools are earthquake proof. The Council is also critical in ensuring our marijuana industry is operating safely. We need the Council to be strong and supported to keep our facilities safe and sound.

(Opposed) There is concern regarding the fee increase; not with the dollar amount of the fee, but rather how the Council has been conducting its affairs. The Council needs to function better. Clarifying membership in the Council, placing the Council in the DES, and clarifying who has rulemaking authority are good. However, the Legislature did not authorize fees last year as a message, and the Council was able to secure funding from three different agencies. Therefore, there is a concern with the management style of the Council. The task force created in the bill is meant to look at what the Council's budgeting needs are, and how many staff and what type of staff are needed. It should be left to the task force to decide budget needs, rather than implement a fee increase. There are ways to move the Council forward without raising the fees at this time. Moreover, this bill does not include provisions to allow innovative technologies to be evaluated and vetted by more comprehensive code standards at the national level.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony (Appropriations):

(In support) The Building Code Council (Council) serves an important function, but needs both reform and account solvency. There is a history of complaints and frustrations about the Council's function and unmet goals. In response, multiple stakeholders have reached a balance between new reform and fee increases. The key reform is requiring economic analysis on proposed codes. The Council plays an important role for our state to ensure strong, well-reasoned, and earthquake-sound codes. With the current housing and school construction boom, this is the time to make sure good building codes are in place. Additionally, the Council was critical last year in allowing the marijuana industry to function and generate state revenue. Furthermore, energy efficiency is one of most cost-effective forms of energy we can acquire. Building energy codes have been the most effective policy in reducing energy use in buildings. The Council handles critical updates to the state's building codes, including plumbing, fire, earthquake safety, as well as other building components. The Council has been tasked by the Legislature to substantially improve the code and increase energy efficiency by 2030. While the Council performs critical and complicated work, funding for the Council has not increased since 1989. The fee increases are a modest step to securing sustainable funding for the Council, as opposed to the need for additional state general funds. Thousands of volunteer hours help to develop the codes, but more resources are necessary for the Council to be productive to ensure predictable and reliable codes.

(Opposed) None.

(Other) It has taken three or four years to agree on substantive reforms with appropriate fee increases to manage the Council's workload. The fees should be used to focus solely on the core activities of the Council. Unfortunately, the Council adopted a rule change that focuses on activities outside the Council's core activities. They should return the focus of this bill's budget component to the Council's core activities.

The Council spent the last two years addressing stakeholder concerns to refine the process, yet there are changes in section 2 that have not gone through that process. There are also some concerns with definitional issues on page four. Some of the language regarding trade organizations needs to be clarified for consistency.

Persons Testifying (Local Government): (In support) Representative Senn, prime sponsor; Amy Brackenbury and Tom Phillips, Washington Association of Building Officials; Tim Herbert, Washington State Association of Plumbers & Pipe Fitters, and HVAC Mechanics; Kraig Stevenson, International Code Council; Ann Larson, Department of Enterprise Services; Gerald Scheuermann, International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials; and Bruce Chattin, Washington Aggregates & Concrete Association.

(Opposed) Steve Gano, Business Industry Association of Washington; and Jeanette McKague, Washington Realtors.

Persons Testifying (Appropriations): (In support) Representative Senn, prime sponsor; Amy Brackenbury, Washington Association of Building Officials; Amy Wheeless, Northwest Energy Coalition; Mike Ennis, Association of Washington Business; Doug Orth and Richard Brown, State Building Code Council; and Jerry Vanderwood, Associated General Contractors of Washington.

(Other) Bill Stauffacher, Building Industry Association of Washington; Tim Herbert, Washington Pipe Trades; and Michael Transue, Washington State Conference of Mason Contractors.

Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying (Local Government): None.

Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying (Appropriations): None.