Government Affairs Monthly Update

Ryan Makinster

Ryan Makinster is the BIA’s Government Affairs Director. Ryan has more than 18 years of non-profit administration, public relations, communications, and government relations experience. You can reach Ryan directly via email or call 360.694.0933.

The Government Affairs Committee meets on the second Monday of the month in the BIA office at 3:30 pm.

Legislative Update – What has legs; What’s dead in the water

Half-way through the legislative session and we have a better idea of what’s moving and what’s not; both good and bad.

Let’s start with the “not so great”.  Unfortunately, HB 2667, the bill that would delay implementation of the state energy code update and send it back to the Washington State Building Code Council to be re-worked died in the first committee of referral. This was an expected outcome. However, a bill we had hoped would die, SB 6492, was signed into law by Governor Inslee on Monday Feb. 10. The bill assesses a 1.75% B &O tax on gross sales for companies classified as “service industry” with $1M+ in gross sales. Although this may not affect our contractors directly, everyone will be affected by the added cost of doing business for our engineers, architects, accountants, etc.

On a more positive note, there have been some wins and some ideas we support continue to move through the political process.

The Washington’s State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Review companion bills, HB 2673 and SB 6470, are moving forward. Currently, infill development is exempt from SEPA review if the development is in an area that is below the projected population levels outlined in the comprehensive plan for said area. HB 2673 extends that exemption to areas where projected population is equal to the project population levels. It also requires a higher threshold of proof for projects that don’t qualify for this exemption would require a SEPA review.  SB 6470 on the other hand, clarifies the current SEPA review categorical exemption statute to prohibit local jurisdictions from requiring a checklist or other paperwork to prove the categorical exemption.

HB 2894, which would eliminate the double taxation of concrete pumping created through a recent department of revenue interpretation, seems to be dead. However, there is a bipartisan effort to include it as part of one of the tax packages being promoted by the majority. This is a possible silver lining to the inevitable tax increases that will be passed this year.

Bills we are glad to see dead, HB 1395, SB 6053 HB 2564 all stalled in committee, although they will most likely rise again next year. HB 1395 is the direct contractor liability bill that would have made general contractors liable for any unpaid wages and benefits of their subs. SB 6053 would have made liens against a contractor’s personal property for wage obligations possible. HB  2564 would have required workers performing construction activity to complete a 10-hour offsite OSHA training program paid for by the employer.

The good and bad bills that died this year will most likely be filed again next year and you can do something about it: We need more allies in the WA state House of Representatives and Senate, but to do that, we need to support the election of those allies. Please sponsor or donate to the 2020 Auction for Action and get involved. Encourage your friends and subs too; you don’t need be a BIA member to support the PAC.

Are you a BIG PAC Trustee? If not contact Ryan and sign-up today!


Update on the Stronger Vancouver

The Stronger Vancouver process continues to drag on although it is still on-track for City Council consideration and final decision in April. Revenue discussions have jumped all over the map from a levy lid lift to a single large bond, or a few smaller bonds. But one thing is for sure, the council, persuaded by staff, is set on raising park impact fees (PIF) substantially. BIA staff is encouraging council to adopt these changes only after any larger funding package is voted on and passed by the citizens of Vancouver, but these discussions continue. The park impact fee schedule that the council has chosen is provided below.


Stronger Vancouver Timeline

  • February 24 — workshop on final package
  • March 9 — work session on complete package
  • March 16 — review legislative documents (resolutions and ordinances); vision and values check
  • April 6 — First reading with hearing
  • April 20 — Second reading with hearing; adoption


BIAW 2020 Legislative Priorities

Permit Timeline Accountability

Clarify when time-loss damages can be brought and ban upfront-timeline extension agreements

Reduce Redundancy for Housing

Integrate SEPA/GMA/Shoreline/CAO for residential construction

Attainable Housing Standards

Add measurable housing metrics to GMA

Streamline Plat Process

Increase short plat thresholds to cut timelines and increase lot supply

Youth Construction Opportunities

Allow youth apprenticeships to 16-year-old juniors in a construction CTE or state-recognized pre-apprenticeship program; Increase qualified CTE teachers by amending instructor qualifications

Ensure Specialized Construction Safety

Clarify specialized contractors are solely responsible for safety while performing specialized work

Building & Energy Code Updates

With HB 2667 dead, the Energy Code as adopted will go into effect on July 1, 2020 so it is important for you to plan under the new code requirements for any project that will apply for permits after July 1.

To help you plan for this change, BIA has created an energy code calculator that you can download. As always, the actual code is the last word on any requirements or prescriptive point comparisons so always refer to it for definitive answers. Please keep in mind the dollar amounts associated with the prescriptive path technique are a state average compiled by BIAW; always check with your supplier to find out the true cost of compliance.  If you use the calculator and update the costs based on your research, please contact Ryan so he can compile pricing specific to Clark County.

The recent Energy Code Update Workshop offered by BIA and BIA’s Green Building Council presented the updated energy code and some routes to achieve the points needed to comply. The BIA is considering hosting another event so please let us know if you would attend so we can gauge interest.

The IRC has also been updated and will go into effect on July 1 as well. You can review the code here.

Ready to learn more about the Significant Changes to the 2018 Codes? Including the International Residential Code, Washington Amendments, Plumbing, Fire, and Mechanical Codes.

Join us for a Codes Update Class on April 16 or April 28.


Hill Climb and the BIAW Winter Board Meeting

Are you planning on attending the BIAW Winter Board Meeting in Olympia 2/24-2/26? Make your voice heard at the capitol! Join your fellow members on Tuesday (2/25) for the BIAW Hill Climb. Buses board at Noon at Hotel Red Lion in Olympia. Join the BIAW at 11:30 am for lunch and a legislative briefing before boarding.

E-mail Ryan for questions and to RSVP ASAP. He will be setting up legislative meetings and this information is needed before a meeting can be confirmed.

You are also encouraged to attend the legislative reception at the Hotel RL on the 25th at 7:00pm as well. This is your opportunity to speak with your elected officials and others to let them know how the actions they take today will affect you and housing affordability tomorrow. Legislators, their staff, and state department staff will be in attendance.



Clark County Permitting Process Changes Update

On January 2, Clark County implemented a new permit application and review process for residential and commercial building construction. This process is established to ensure all applicable construction development within the community is reviewed by the necessary County departments in a timely manner.

Important Dates:

  • March 2: New permitting intake process starts (checklist compliant)
  • March 13: Permit Center Closed
  • March 18: Start of Permit CenterClosed at Noon on Wednesdays

BIA staff has been working closely with the department to understand these changes and will be helping them to communicate the new process to our members. In addition, we are working to provide builder feedback to Community Development Director Dan Young on the new process.

Have you used the new process? Problems, concerns? Successes? Efficiencies? Let Ryan know.