WABO Spring Quarterly Meeting 

Enzian Inn, Leavenworth, WA

April 25-26, 2019




A highlight of our Spring business meeting in Leavenworth was the 5th Annual Retiree Luncheon wherein Pete Rambow, recently retired from the City of Tacoma, was presented his Honorary WABO Membership in recognition of some twenty years of dedicated service to the organization.  In graciously accepting this well-deserved tribute, Pete was quick to express his heartfelt appreciation to the WABO staff support who “made it all happen”.  Speaking of the WABO Staff, Tara Jenkins, Executive Director, successfully enticed the Office of the Governor to formally proclaim the month of May 2019 as Building Safety Month throughout the State of Washington.  This year’s theme of the ICC sponsored program is appropriately “No Codes, No Confidence.”

Speaking of codes, our Technical Codes Development Committee Chair, Micah Chappell, City of Seattle, has boldly continued his hands-on effort to involve folks East of the Cascades in the public process for both adoption of WA State Amendments for next year’s State Building Code 2018 model code based update and the nationwide ICC Group B proposed changes for the 2021 I-Codes.  Since the Residential Code is part of the Group B package, please do not hesitate to make your preferences known through committee involvement.  WABO was able to fund seven $1500 scholarships to the recent Committee Action Hearings in Albuquerque.  Next scholarship opportunity is the Fall Public Comment Hearings in Las Vegas.

Tim Woodard, City of Blaine, Government Relations Chair, in conjunction with our contract lobbyist, Amy Brackenbury was able to report a largely successful State Legislative Session effort for this year.  Many thanks to you all, who took the time from your busy schedules to either directly or indirectly participate in this effort.  Please note that we would now like to implement our Legislative Subcommittee Positions Procedures policy and therby need a couple of volunteers from East of the mountains in preparation for the 2020 Legislative Session.

In anticipation of the State early adoption of Mass Timber (Tall Wood Buildings) IBC code provisions as part of the 2018 State Building Code, the Certification and Registration Committee is moving forward on an associated Special Inspector Certification program planned as a subset of Lateral Wood.

In closing, in anticipation of our upcoming Annual Business Meeting at Semiahmoo Resort, in Blaine, do not forget to update your individual “Nomination for WABO Leadership” supervisor endorsement forms for officer and committee chair positions.  Please note that we are looking to fill a vacating Education Chair position.


 WABO Board displays the gubernatorial Building Safety Month 2019 Proclamation  

Committee Reports


Technical Code Development Committee - Chair Micah Chappell


Technical Code Development Committee (TCD) discussed several of the 20 plus proposals we submitted to the State for the Group 2 Codes. The biggest proposal that WABO TCD spent time on was the modification and expansion of Appendix Q addressing legislation to provide some guidance on small size dwelling units and tiny houses. 

TCD also discussed some proposals that the committee had some concerns with or were monitoring at the ICC Committee Action Hearings for Group B Code in Albuquerque.



Education CommitteeChair Rick Prosser, CBO


Education committee discussed the Educational Institute success at the new location.  Attendees loved the Lynnwood Convention Center venue and ample parking that is available.  Annual Educational Institute was successful in attendance, classes offered and vendors present. 

Another agenda item was the discussion of continued training for inspectors in Eastern Western Washington.  WABO will be in Spokane for the Fall 2020 meeting and will host a two-day seminar prior to the Quarterly Business Meeting.  The Education Committee will reach out to our east-side members to coordinate the two classes that they feel will be most beneficial to their members.  

We concluded the meeting with bringing up the 2020 Annual Education Institute and established some code update classes that will be offered.   We tasked the committee to be thinking about additional classes they would like to see offered and any other items they would like to discuss at the summer and fall meetings.


Government Relations - Chair Tim Woodard


The Government Relations committee met at the Spring 2018 Business meeting and many topics were discussed.

  • An update was given on all legislation that WABO was currently following. Of special note: SB 5795 Contractor Bonding was passed and requires a work group be created to consider additional safeguards for consumers who engage contractors. WABO will have a member on that work group.
  • A new procedure was approved by the WABO Executive Board and presented to the membership. This procedure is called the “WABO Government Relations Legislative Subcommittee”. This procedure seeks to create a standing subcommittee with members from both sides of the mountains with the goal of making recommendations to the Executive Board for review.
  • A call to the membership was made to solicit volunteers to be on the new subcommittee. We are currently seeking two individuals from the east side of the state and two individuals from the west side of the state. 

TCD Scholarship Reports on the ICC Committee Action Hearings (Group B), April 2019, Albuquerque, NM:

Shane Nilles  - City of Cheney

Report of Experience

“The purpose of this code is to establish minimum requirements to provide a reasonable level of safety, public health and general welfare…”- the intent of the code, every code officials’ fallback phrase, and the tried and true fundamental language that every provision thereafter is striving to achieve. That is, unless it changes.

The ICC Action Committee Hearing was completely new to me. Honestly I never believed that I would attend one, let along get involved. In addition to the common “lack of time”, my fear was that it would be too overwhelming. After all, like many others, there’s enough on my plate as it is. But the experience opened my eyes to the realization that like most things, dipping your feet into the water is the first step to seeing beneath the surface. After an hour or two the first day I attended, I found myself in awe at the pace everything moved, and the passion and knowledge of those speaking for or against the various proposals. It was intimidating. Code proposals went by and I struggled to keep up with what the currently discussed proposal was trying to accomplish, let alone what the upcoming one was going to be. It was shortly thereafter that, with a little guidance from a fellow WABO member, I had the materials on my IPAD organized, and I was beginning to get a grasp on the orchestra playing before me.

Observation led to understanding of the process, which inevitably led to me formulating my own opinions on what a good argument for or against each proposal would be. Then I got the itch; one that could only be scratched by getting to the front of the room to take my thoughts and share them with the room. I’ve dabble in public speaking, but this generated a nervousness that I hadn’t experienced since the first time I asked a girl to dance when I was in middle school. Luckily my voice didn’t crack this time. Honestly I don’t recall what the first proposal was that I spoke on, because after getting over my nerves, the 2nd became a 3rd, and a 4th, and many, many more. The best part was my testimony was appreciated and supported, even by those whom I spoke in opposition of. While I would like to say that it was because I was so great at speaking- the reality is this process needs more voices. It amazed me how there were a few “familiar faces” at the mic, speaking over and over (sometimes because of their affiliation with an entity trying to benefit from the code), and the rest in attendance remained in observation mode 99% of the time. Certainly not because they had no opinions…

The biggest surprise was that there appeared to be no consistency in why a proposal would, or wouldn’t, be recommended for approval by the committees. There were some reasoning that carried from proposal to proposal such as “code provisions don’t belong in the definition”, “the code shouldn’t read like an exception”, and “the provisions of one code should affect another code where it is more appropriately prescribed”, but many times it seemed like it was a matter of what sounded better based on testimonies. This is where it became a thrill. While not in every case, getting to hear the reasoning for a committee member’s voting referencing “the testimony made that…” (Testimony I had made) was the reason why they would vote a certain way and the majority of the committee also voted in agreeance; it doesn’t get much better than that. I was able to truly feel like I was heard, and I was having an influence on the code.

I can say with complete truthfulness to any community member in my jurisdiction that I’m not just enforcing the code, but I played a part in its development and represented them in the best way I could. I was able to get off of the sideline and speak for the people I care about. That it something that is more valuable than a million speeches where I had to say “that’s just what it says and I’m responsible for enforcing it”. I believe that every code official would benefit from the same experience, and would go so far as to say it should be their duty. If anyone believes that it is not important to get involved in some way with the code development process I would ask one question: are you okay with the purpose of the code changing? Because it too can be subject to change, and it might just happen if we sit on the sideline.


C. Ray Allshouse, AIA, CBO,ACO - City of Shoreline

I was able to attend 5 and a quarter days of the Hearings in Albuquerque including the bulk of the IRC-B and IBS-S proposed changes as well as all of the IEBC-S changes. 

I kept personal notes on changes of interest (personal and TCD focused) in preparation for upcoming TCD Meetings that  I plan to attend.  During these meetings we will determine the necessity for any public comments, formulate testimony and strategize positions for the Las Vegas PCHearings. 

The experience was also helpful for me to gain a more thorough understanding of pending code changes, a number of which will not be brought up at the PCH other than being on the consent agenda.  Specific knowledge gained will also help in my daily application and interpretation of code provisions prior to formal adoption.  I always appreciate the interpretive debates that ensue as part of these deliberations.  As a result, my confidence in my code application efforts is significantly improved.  Given the sheer size of the code, I regularly observe that “I learn something new every day” --  in this context, attending the code hearings are tantamount to this observation “on steroids”

The experience also puts the code in context.  From the enforcement perspective, clarity and consistency are very important, so we push in that direction.  Industry stakeholders are not surprisingly motivated by their market share and pursue changes to improve the same.  The Fire Service can be counted upon to press life-safety measures “to the max.”  Home builders are understandably strongly resistant to change due to impact on their bottom line.  One can see how the process results can sometimes go awry as part of this interplay (unintended consequences).

I provided testimony on S-100 (in support) and S-101(opposed) regarding Special inspection requirements for Tall Wood Buildings.  Our preferred position prevailed by Committee votes of 13-1 and 1-13 respectively.  I believe that my testimony may well have influenced these outcomes.  


Lee Kranz,CBO,ACO - City of Bellevue

I attended the ICC Committee Action Hearings in Albuquerque and listened to several concepts that were new to me.  I always learn something that helps me in my daily work in the Building Department at the City of Bellevue.  For instance, code change S21-19 dealt with adding a protective parapet on flat roofs using rock ballast in high-wind zones to prevent the rocks from becoming missiles in areas prone to heavy wind.  There was also S100-19 that deals with periodic special inspection for the new Tall Wood Buildings type of construction.  We are just at the beginning stages of learning about how tall wood buildings will perform in wind, seismic and fire events so listening to the testimony on this innovative and environmentally sensitive construction was super educational. 

I also testified on a couple of code changes to improve IBC Table 1604.5 related to how the occupant loads are calculated for daycare and assembly occupancies; both were supported by the ICC Structural Committee and, if they pass muster at the ICC Public Comment Hearings this fall will be published in the 2021 IBC. 

I encourage all WABO members to take advantage of the TCD Scholarship opportunity and attend one or more ICC Code Development Hearings.  You will improve your knowledge of the codes by taking the time to experience how the codes are developed.

Thank you to WABO for letting me participate in the code development process.


James Tumelson, ME, CBO/MCP - City of Kirkland

I had the opportunity to participate in the code development process in Albuquerque New Mexico from April 30th – May 3rd.  There are countless conversations that are happening in preparation for the testimonies.  These where continuously unfolding around us as the process developed.  It was very exciting to witness the very controversial topics occurred and equally tedious when product manufacturing goes tit for tat on their specific products. 

The IRC code changes directly impacts the work that I conduct on a regular basis.  These modifications to the base code guide and shape future previsions of the code and understanding the, “how it got there” question is quite exciting.  This definitely helps in interpreting the code. One of the most interesting code proposals had to do with “write and site.”  This topic had very passionate debate in support and opposition.  I personally see that the greatest draw back with writing a code reference to every correction item would be a staffing concern.  I’m also of the opinion, that if a code official has been requested to furnish a code reference they should be able to provide it. 

I am constantly astonished at the tremendous effort that WABO exerts to influence with International Code development.  With that said, it is concerning to me the limited quantity of folks that actually participate in the code development process that impacts hundreds of millions of people. Attending this code development cycle was a privilege to participate in and I appreciate and look forward to future opportunities. Thank you WABO for your continuance in excellence for the future of the built environment.


Gary Lampella, ACO - City of Warden - City of Bridgeport

First of all, thank you for selecting me for a Scholarship award enabling me to the attend the recent ICC Committee Hearings in Albuquerque. Although I have been to numerous ICC code hearings, I learned a lot about how the WABO Technical Code Committee prepares, organizes and testifies on the changes they have interest in. They are very prepared for the hearings and provide excellent oral testimony.  

I spoke a on a number of code changes unrelated to WABO’s positions. I spoke in opposition on RB-88 that would permit infill residential construction to not have emergency escape egress openings that did not provide access to a public way in certain instances. This code change was disapproved by the committee. I also testified in support of RB-189 that revised Tables R403.1(1), R403.1(2) and R403.1(3).  This was a proposal to correct a footnote in the table that effectively required any structure with trussed roofs to either have the footings designed by an engineer or have the trusses designed as multi-bearing point trusses. It also amended the footing sizes in the tables. This proposal was recommended for approval by the committee.

What I did find interesting was the Energy Code track went surprisingly uneventful. One of the energy committees actually finished ahead of schedule, which I don’t believe has happened very often.  What I will take from the hearing experience in my everyday work is to remember that there are reasons why a particular provision is in the code. It is evident that a lot of debate, research and testimony is considered for a proposal to ultimately find its way into a code provision.

I would highly recommend that newer building officials, plans examiners, inspectors and permit technicians attend at least one of these hearings. It is truly a highly educational opportunity to see how
codes are actually developed.

Angela Haupt - City of Kirkland

I recently attended the ICC Committee Action Hearings in Albuquerque, NM. I was mostly interested in the IRC portion, but did observe portions of the IEBC and some structural provisions. There did not seem to be as many big debate items at this hearing as there have been at past ones.
My favorite thing about the hearings is that even for codes that I don’t utilize on a daily basis, knowing the background on changes is so interesting. Some people can be so passionate about the most random and minor things. It appeared for the portion of the hearings that I was at, WABO did pretty well with our proposals. I look forward to working on our Public Comments and attending the PCH in Clark County.


Hoyt Jeter, PE - City of Tacoma / Clarity Consulting Engineers


This was my first time attending the ICC Code Action Hearing.  I have been to the Final Action Hearing before where the proposed code was either approved or not, but had not been to the preliminary hearing. This hearing is where you get your purpose approval or disapproved for public comment to hopefully get in the next code cycle at the final action hearing.  The items I attended was IBC-General, IEBC, IBC –Structural, IBC– Fire Safety, IRC-Building and ICC- Performance code changes.

                I heard a total of 717 code change proposals. The break ups was the following:

  • 10 proposals for the performance portion,
  • 302 proposal for the building portion.
  • 19 proposal for the fire safety portion,
  • 200 proposal for the structural portion,
  • 21 proposals for the general portion, and
  • 165 for the existing building code portion.  

This sound like fun don’t you think? I do!

I found that many of the proposals do not get approved, and many are duplicate ideas that are trying to come to a better written language to deal with that particular issue.   There may be 2 or 3 that is trying to deal with identical issues.  The various proponents for each code change meet with the other proponents and try to come to a consensus on which one is the best or deal with the issue more completely. One of the code changes I proposed was disapproved but did not withdraw it. The reason for this is to give one more chance to review and modify to hopefully get consensus by the time the final action hearing come into play. The process shows that no matter how long the code been in use there are similar issues throughout the country that we’d like to resolve.  

One of the greatest benefits that I found in attending is that I now have notes for all the code proposals along with some of the reasons for the proposals’ approval or disapproval. What was the reasons for approval or disapproved. I loved that the ICC Code Action Hearing brings in people from jurisdictions around the country with different perspectives based on their experiences and regions and it is one of the best ways to better understand the code and what issues others are having. Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to explore Albuquerque as the hearings take up the full day and into the evenings (including weekends), so I’ll have to visit New Mexico on my own someday.