Washington Association of Building Officials

Governor Inslee Delays Code Implementation Date

WABO and BIAW officially requested Governor Inslee to delay, by Executive Order, the implementation of the coming new building codes in RCW 19.27.031 and RCW 19.27A.020, set to take effect July 1, 2020, for 123 days or until November 1, 2020. A short delay would provide both builders and code enforcement officials the time necessary to make-up the education needed before the new regulations take effect. 
WABO has just received the Governor's official proclamation where he has  suspended the codes current effective dates of July 1, 2020, until November 1, 2020.  The WABO office will continue to monitor the Governor's response to COVID-19 and be sure to send out updates when they occur.



Construction Guidance – Stay Home, Stay Healthy Proclamation (20-25) UPDATE

The WABO office received a response from the Washington Military regarding our request for clarification:

Thank you for your inquiry. The Governor has deliberated on this issue extensively and does not take this decision lightly. Nonetheless, he believes that the best way to control the spread of COVID-19 is to temporarily limit the interactions on construction sites as much as possible. In his review of the issue, the Governor identified what he believes are the most critical activities within construction, and he highlighted those in his memo on March 25, 2020. In this case, projects supporting non-essential activities may be completed to “prevent spoliation and avoid damage or unsafe conditions, and address emergency repairs at both non-essential businesses and residential structures.” Kindly note, however, that damage must be imminent and not remote. The only other permitted residential construction is the work necessary to restore a single bathroom or kitchen in order to preserve access to hygiene and nutrition.

Lastly, please know that all businesses may continue to perform minimum basic operations to a) maintain the value of their inventory, b) preserve the condition of their premises and equipment, c) ensure security, d) process payroll and employee benefits, and e) conduct related functions. However, any activity described above must still adhere to the guidelines around social distancing and sanitation referenced in Proclamation 20-25 or any subsequent proclamation related to essential businesses. 

Please remember to practice social distancing in all of your interactions.


This response is intended only to provide guidance on Proclamation 20-25 and does not grant any other license, certification, or privilege.

Proclamation 20-25 does not require anyone to carry documentation or certification proving that they are in compliance. Similarly, no state or local agency will be providing special certification that an activity is essential.


WABO Administrative Office Closed to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

WABO understands there is much apprehension within the state concerning the outbreak of COVID-19.  We have carefully considered all the practical information shared by public health officials, and we are taking steps to ensure we can continue providing services to our members.

Please contact staff members via e-mail for correspondence as we work from remote home offices:

Thank you for your cooperation, assistance and patience during this pandemic.


State Building Code Council to Consider 2018 Code Effective Date Delay

The Washington State Building Code Council (SBCC) will consider extending the code effective date beyond July 1, 2020 at their April 10, 2020 WebEx/phone meeting.  The SBCC has received the joint WABO/BIAW official request to the Governor's Office. WABO supports code delay for the following reasons:  1) the need for more time for building officials to be trained on the new 2018 codes, and 2) the need for more time to allow design professionals to complete their projects and get them vested under the current code.  Without the postponement the economic consequences for major commercial projects would be significant in larger urban areas.   If you are interested in testifying at the meeting, please e-mail Lee Kranz at [email protected] who is compiling a list to coordinate WABO's efforts.


 Online FEMA Training Opportunities

Right now would be a great time for everyone to consider taking  FEMA ICS-100, -200, -700 and -800 online courses and exams.  Employees should check with their employer to see what is required by their local jurisdiction (many do require some combination of the courses listed).  This will ensure we are all prepared or at the very least understand what we, the jurisdiction, should do during an emergency response.



Construction Guidance – Stay Home, Stay Healthy Proclamation (20-25)

The Washington Association of Building Officials has received several requests for guidance on Governor Inslee’s Executive Order directing all residents to stay at home in order to slow or prevent the spread of the COVID 19 virus.  The Executive Order included a list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers and provides a summary of the industry sectors and a more specific list of essential workers within that category. 

WABO has not received official response from our request to the Governor's office on interpretation.  However yesterday, Gov. Jay Inslee issued official guidance that “construction is not considered an essential activity” in the Stay-at-Home Order he announced on Monday. As a result, all construction – residential and commercial – must shut down during the two weeks in which the order is in place. 

Beginning at midnight, Wednesday, Mar. 25, 2020, when the order takes effect, no construction will be allowed until at least April 8, 2020. 

However, an exception to the order allows for construction in the following limited circumstances:
     a) Construction related to essential activities as described in the order;
     b) To further a public purpose related to a public entity or governmental function or facility, including but not limited to publicly financed low-income housing; or
     c) To prevent spoliation and avoid damage or unsafe conditions, and address emergency repairs at both non-essential businesses and residential structures.

Gov. Inslee is one of only two governors who have issued a statewide “Stay at Home” order that does not designate housing construction as “essential.”

The WABO office will be closed and staff will be working remotely.  

WABO will keep members updated as this issue evolves.



WABO 2020 Annual Education Institute

Due to coronavirus concerns the WABO 2020 Annual Education Institute is being postponed.  The 2020 AEI is rescheduled for June 15 through 19, 2020 at the Lynnwood Convention Center.  

The WABO administrative office will be working diligently to make the postponement transition as smooth as possible.  All current registrations will be applied to the rescheduled event dates.  We are aware the new dates may not work for some attendees and ask patience in the transition as we work out arrangements with our instructors, conference center, and hotel event partners.  Every effort will be made to ensure the event schedule will remain the same.  As soon as the details are finalized we will send out an update notification.    We are temporarily closing the registration page to update.  We thank you for your patience.

Information / Registration Coming Soon!


WABO 2020 Spring Update Virtual Meeting 

As the outbreak of COVID-19 has been changing our day to day operations, the WABO Executive Board has been closely tracking its impact within our building departments.  Now more than ever communication with our members is vital and the Executive Board has decided to offer the first ever virtual meeting.  This condensed meeting will cover important updates from the board as well as discuss issues related to building department responses to COVID-19.  

We encourage members to register for this free meeting that will be held on Thursday, April 23, 2020 from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM. 

Register Today


WABO 2019 Fall Business Meeting

Over 60 members gathered at Heathman's Lodge in Vancouver for the Fall Quarterly Business Meeting on October 17-18, 2019. An impressive number of scholarship winners and first timers attended and were able to network with their colleagues from around Washington.

View Reports / Photos


WABO Membership

The Washington Association of Building Officials (WABO) was incorporated in 1977 to promote building codes and standards that safeguard the public health and safety; advise on legislative matters; assist in the development of national and state codes; provide educational opportunities for its members; and preserve local government control of code administration.

WABO Membership Application

Factory Assembled Structures (FAS) Program

Kelly Mayo - Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries

L & I frequently receives inquiries regarding the rules and requirements for "tiny house(s)." An informative website page has been developed to help assist jurisdictions.

Tiny house(s) resource page