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.

What the bill?

As many of you know, we had a great win this year with the death of the direct contractor liability bill that got stalled on the house floor due to efforts of the BIA, BIAW and you along with a little help from our supporters in the house minority. Like a zombie, this bill will be back next session so we must remain vigilante. On a positive note, the condo liability reform bill, a major initiative supported by a partnership of the building and real estate industries passed both bodies unanimously.

Another bill, HB 1923 (1923-S2.E HBR SA 19), regarding urban density was amended favorably to encourage local jurisdictions to adopt a number of solutions, from a broad menu offered , to increase capacity and address affordability in communities planning under the GMA. The original bill had some provisions that would have allowed local cities to adopt inclusionary zoning and other mandates that have been proven to be ineffective and sometimes counter to the intended purposes. The current version of the bill also exempts regulations, that are made in order to implement the residential building capacity and housing affordability elements of the act, from SEPA. Certain projects with transportation impacts will be exempt from SEPA appeal as well, under the amended bill.

Unfortunately, there are also bills such as SB5498 (5489-S2 HBR APP 19) that would create a non-elected task force without business representation to adopt and promote the precautionary principle for any development in communities deemed highly impacted. The BIAW is working diligently to stop this bill and after months of hesitation other groups are joining us in the fight.

And as always, the 1,000 lb gorilla is the budget. Although the house and senate majorities have been reducing their “total additional” budget increase request, they still need ways to fund the additional revenue required to support their spending spree. Unfortunately, the vehicles that will most likely be adopted are a REET and statewide B&O increase. The BIAW along with our allies continue to push for an “undeveloped’ land exemption for the REET increase, as well as a minimization of any increase to the B & O tax.

With only a few days left in session, it looks like the legislature will not gavel out on time; the battle rages on.

Code Breakers

In our industry, building codes are our the “law of the land;” what we must abide by, from general building codes to electrical, plumbing and energy. And, as laws, products, techniques and even the marketplace changes, so do the codes. Every three years to be exact, for the International Building Code (IBC) which our state and local codes are based on.

As builders we know this, but do we understand it? The first point to understand is the update process and timing.  As you read this in 2019, the current IBC is 2018, while we are operating under the 2015 IBC and its amendments adopted and implemented in 2016. Got that?  To add even more confusion, before the 2018 code was even adopted the consensus committees were already working on the 2021 code.  To say the IBC and its progeny are living documents is an understatement. Due to this complicated nature and the slow gears of government most jurisdictions allow the adoption of either of the most recent two IBC versions of the code with state and local amendments.  Currently the 2015 and 2018 codes books.

Why is understanding these things important? Besides compliance, of course? It is important for multiple reasons.

1.       The process of code change is ongoing with many opportunities for our members through the NAHB to comment and help guide code amendments and adoption.

2.       It is sometimes counterintuitive that we may be operating under older codes, 2015 IBC, while 2018 is the most current version.

3.       Codes are not standard nationally,by state or local jurisdiction. All have their own versions based on what was adopted, amended or excluded.

4.       Ongoing education is a must to stay in compliance with and plan ahead for changes with the next set of codes.

The BIA, BIAW and NAHB are all resources for your questions regarding code change, compliance and timelines. In addition, BIACC also regularly offers classes including overview of new codes, the code crafting process and code refresher course such as the one being offered on May 8 at the BIA.

2015 International Code Refresher
Wednesday, May 8
10:00 – 12 noon
BIA of Clark County
$50 members, $100 non-members

WUCIOA? Why Should I Care?

The Washington Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act (WUCIOA) took effect on July 1, 2018 and governs all Common Interest Communities (CIC), including condominiums and plat communities, created after July 1, 2018.

The challenge facing residential home builders is having to revise and re-write virtually all of the traditional documents involved with the creation, management, sales, marketing and financing of homes in new condominiums and plat communities. Documents such as survey/plat maps, HOA articles of incorporation, public offering statements and more are all affected. Coupled with a lack of guidance from the state and limited legal resources to understand and comply with these changes, builders and developers are in a precarious position in terms of liability and compliance.

BIA has partnered with member company, Horenstein Law Group PLLC, to offer a free event providing an overview on the changes and how they will affect you, your business and the consumer.

May 2, 2019
7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Vancouver Community Library, Columbia Room
901 C Street

REGISTER NOW: or 360-696-4100

For more information on any of the articles above, please contact Ryan Makinster at or 360.694.0933.