As the end of 2023 approaches and the holiday season is upon us, it is time to reflect and give thanks for another very productive and effective year for WABO. WABO members have been very busy and have accomplished a great deal this past year… and for that you should ALL be proud! Thank you to the membership for all of your participation and involvement throughout the year. It is evident that the level of influence and leadership that WABO is developing is continuing to grow significantly, both regionally and nationally. It’s exciting to experience!

WABO, and Region II as a whole, had a great in-person turnout for this year’s ICC Annual Business Meeting held in St. Louis, MO October 8th – 11th. There were no associated Code Development Hearings this time around, but we learned a good deal about the changes to the ICC Code Development Process beginning with the first of two Group A Committee Action Hearings beginning in Spring of 2024. You can find the schedule here and can read more about these changes here. I encourage you to get involved in our WABO Technical Code Development (TCD) Committee and join in on the in-person code development process – there are scholarships available! Our WABO TCD continues to be very successful at the hearings and this could be your chance to “help make the sausage”, or at least experience the process of how it’s made… It’s definitely game-changing to experience it in person!

Our Fall Business Meeting held in Walla Walla at the Historic Marcus Whitman Hotel on October 26th & 27th was also very well attended with approximately 60 participants in total including 8 newcomers who were attending for their very first WABO Quarterly Business Meeting. This turnout, especially by the newcomers, is excellent to see! For those of you reading this that have not yet fully engaged in the work of WABO, I encourage you to take that first step. If you are looking to sharpen or develop your leadership skills, code knowledge, or just want to make a difference in an area that you are passionate about, I challenge you to contact myself or any of our Executive Board members to help get you involved where you can contribute. It is both rewarding and fulfilling!

Our Winter Committee meeting will be held virtually (via Zoom) on Thursday, January 25th 2024 from 9am-Noon. This meeting will be an overview of the 2024 legislative session, and we will go over the WABO legislative talking points in preparation for all the WABO members that have volunteered to meet their district legislators virtually, scheduled for the week of January 29th – February 2nd. In the past few years these virtual meetings have been very successful, and we’ve had greater attendance and undivided attention from more of our legislators than we ever had trying to meet in-person on the hill. If you are interested in attending these virtual meetings with your state representatives and are not currently part of the Government Relations Committee, please email Tara at the WABO office ([email protected]) so she can add your name to the distribution list.

Lastly, I want to thank all our active members for all that you do on our committees, as well as your participation during our business meetings. Without your support and hard work WABO could not be the great organization that it is today. I’m proud to be a part of this great team!

Happy Holidays Everyone! ~ Andy

Committee Reports

Technical Code Development Committee - Chair Micah Chappell, MBA, CBO

Technical Code Development Committee (TCD) discussed the ICC process change for the 2027 Code adoption cycle and the “Periodic Table” of codes, standards , and guidelines available at https://www.iccsafe.org/wp-content/uploads/ICC_Periodic_Table_INFO.pdf

TCD discussed the upcoming 2024 WA Code adoption cycle and proposed schedule provided by the SBCC. Additionally the WA Custom Codes that are now available include the Building, Existing Building, Fuel Gas, Mechanical, and the WUIC being available in a soft cover only currently. The Fire, Residential, Energy and Plumbing Codes are still in the “coming soon” stage. 

TCD also provided updates from the TCD subcommittees on Egress and Fire Safety that are working on ICC level code change proposals. Information was shared about the TCD workgroups that are working on Code change items that have been State legislative topics including Multiplex Structures (up to 6 dwelling units), and Single Exit buildings up to six stories. 

Lastly, TCD discussed the rulemaking from the SBCC on Family Home Childcare to increase the allowable number of children up to 16. Please monitor the SBCC website for upcoming public comment meetings. 

Government Relations - Chair Tim Woodard 

At the fall business meeting in Walla Walla our Lobbyist Marian Dacca provided a brief overview of the legislative cycle. We discussed bills that are being reintroduced next year. These discussions mostly revolved around multi-plex housing and kit housing. We additionally discussed the need for WABO to proactively engage with all stakeholders to achieve the best results. Lastly, all suggested changes to the current WABO Legislative Position paper are due prior to the winter committee meeting (January 25, 2024 via zoom). Please email all proposed changes to the Government Relations Chair.

Outreach Committee - Stacy Criswell CBO, ACO

During our public outreach session, we discussed the idea of having a liaison position within WABO. The ideal function of this person/position would be to actively communicate with a multitude of other state, local and federal agencies where our roles overlap.

As we seen with the latest round of bills in legislation, there are a lot of entities that don’t coordinate before taking a position, and as a result we send out different messages than our partners.

We will continue to look at this option and try to flesh out a more complete draft by the Annual Business meeting.

As always, if you have questions or want to bounce ideas or code questions off a peer… please reach out to me or the WABO office so we can connect you with a member of WABO.

Stacy Criswell

Education Committee - Max Booth

We had a very small joint education / outreach committee meeting at Walla Walla. However; we did have a very productive committee meeting. We were able to finalize the complete lineup for the 2024 Annual Education Institute and confirm that we have solid commitments from instructors.  The WABO office will work on sending out instructor agreements and begin creating the brochure in time for the week one January distribution. 

The Education Committee also discussed the challenges that WABO is facing with rising costs of venues post-covid and have been exploring many options for the Annual Education Institution for 2025.

I look forward to seeing you all in Leavenworth this spring!

Finance Committee - Chair Angela Haupt, CBO

Angela provided the membership with an overview of WABO's 2023/2024 1st Quarter financials. 

Accreditation Committee - James Tumelson, CBO, MCP, ACO

The Accreditation Committee oversees the Accredited Code Official (ACO) and the Code Official Accreditation Program (COAP).  All four years of the program are effectively being taught concurrently and students had the option of enrollment into years one and two simultaneously. Enrollment into COAP opens May 6th, 2024 and space is limited so please keep your eyes open for this future opportunity.  There were lengthy discussions on State Licensing, Accreditation, Certification and enrollment. For more information, please visit the Accreditation Committee tab on the WABO website.

Additionally, we are looking to launch a self-guided course on Washington State plumbing starting at the beginning of 2024.