I hope that you all are enjoying this fantastic summer weather and getting the chance to relax and spend time with friends and family. Now that we’re already in August, the back-to-school advertisements and the start of pre-season NFL football indicate that Autumn is just around the corner! Please be sure to take time to breathe and rejuvenate during these long summer days.

(Insert PAUSE for dramatic effect… )

Alright! On to the business at hand… The WABO Summer Business Meeting (our first as a Quarterly Business Meeting rather than the Annual Business Meeting!) was held in Ocean Shores, WA at the Ocean Shores Convention Center on July 20th & 21st. The event was as well attended with approximately 50 participants in total including 3 newcomer(s) who were attending their first WABO meeting.

Work continued on a number of fronts, including pro-actively forming committees on multiplex housing through a mechanism in the IRC and dealing with kit homes in order to get ahead of the 2024 legislative session, actively advertising and recruiting for the Code Official Accreditation Program for this fall now that the program is officially licensed with the state, appointments to the statewide permitting system committee being driven by the Department of Commerce as directed by SB5290 from this year’s legislative session, preparation for the 2024 WABO Annual Education Institute, efforts to coordinate education partnerships with local ICC chapters, adoption of the 23-24 operating budget, preparation for and kicking off the start of the 2027 ICC Code Development Cycle, and more!

As always, 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. 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 E-Board members to help get you involved where you can contribute. It is both rewarding and fulfilling!

Our Fall Business Meeting will be held in-person on October 26th and 27th, 2023 at the historic (and fabulous) Marcus Whitman Hotel in Walla Walla, WA. I hope to see you all there!

~ Andy

Committee Reports

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

Technical Code Development Committee (TCD) discussed the posted schedule and the workgroups for the upcoming WA 2024 and ICC 2027 Code development cycle. Workgroups will include specific topics proposed by Legislators in anticipation of continued direction from lawmakers. 

TCD discussed some of the recent Emergency and Off-cycle Rules being worked on by the SBCC and encourage all WABO members to read through those. The current emergency rules are located on the SBCC Website. 

TCD went over the upcoming changes to the ICC Code Development process where there will be an additional Committee Action Hearing for Group A and B, and only one Public Comment Hearing and Online Governmental Consensus Vote. Please visit this ICC webpage for additional information and a short PowerPoint on the process change. 

As always, we encourage WABO members to get involved with TCD to provide continued improvement to our State and National Codes. 

Outreach Committee - Stacy Criswell CBO, ACO

What an incredible Summer we are having thus far, at least weather wise. If you are like me, Summertime usually means more permits, more questions, more public outreach, more neighbor-on-neighbor complaints, and figuring out staff coverage so everyone can get in some much-needed vacation… One thing I wanted to talk about specifically is the new codes and public outreach. As you know, the code implementation date was moved back to October 29th, and at first, I was shocked because of all the prep work I was doing, working on my ordinances, conversations about future development, speaking with our contractors and elected officials about timelines, modifying flyers and handouts with the new dates… and the list goes on. After a lot of frustration knowing that I had to rework and resend all that information, it gave me a better chance to focus on public outreach.

For those that know me, public outreach is a passion of mine, and if you and your organization don’t focus on it, the message everyone hears about you and your team is from the community. And we all know that most people get loud when they are upset, not when they are happy. As such, please use this extended timeline wisely and use a couple of the suggestions below for how to reach people to ensure that the community AND your elected officials hear what you want them to hear, instead of complaints.

  • Farmers Market
  • Events like National Night Out (sorry you just missed this one)
  • School resource events
  • Fair days or local community shindigs like movies in the park and fun runs
  • Newsletters
  • Flyers for your front doors or public notice boards
  • Start a once-a-month breakfast meeting with neighboring jurisdictions
  • Ask to speak at your council meeting, or provide an update in your monthly report to council if your shy
  • Attend a local chamber of commerce meeting to speak with local businesses

Lastly, I want to give you a couple ideas for what to say to make it a little easier. For starters I would point them to the State Building Codes website so they can look up the actual implementation date, and you don’t have to redo your work if the date changes again. Also, I have been working with some local jurisdictions around me (I strongly recommend you do this) and we have created some great handouts trying to explain some of the bigger changes. We have the handouts on our website and we have been putting them in our weekly/monthly newsletters, I have also been utilizing them with my monthly council reports, distributing at the farmers market and national night out.   They are also a great tool that we have e-mailed to our list of contractors, local shed builders and our Lowes home improvement store in our community so they are aware of the upcoming changes.

You are more than welcome to use these resources and modify them as needed (remove our logos and use your own) to help you be successful. Please go to our WABO website and go to the resources tab to view these and other useful resources. And if you have any resources that you would like to share, please send them to me at [email protected] and I will get them added to help others.  Thank you for what you do, and I hope to see everyone at the next WABO business meeting.

Stacy Criswell

Government Relations - Chair Tim Woodard 

During this meeting we discussed items WABO would be seeking funding from the legislature for this next year; including the following: a prescriptive energy code plan set and updates to the “Permitting Best Practices” document (Latimore Reports). Along with the funding we also discussed how every bill that did not pass last year will automatically be reintroduced during the short session of the legislature this year. WABO needs to stay in front of legislation we opposed and continue to engage with legislators on legislation we were able to get to neutral or to support on. Lastly, an update was provided to membership about the work group created to evaluate a standardized permitting system for the state. WABO has two members on that group to represent building officials and the first meeting is in September.

Finance Committee - Chair Angela Haupt, CBO

Angela provided the membership with an overview of WABO's 2022/2023 year end financials. 

Emergency Management Committee - Ryan Mumma, CBO, ACO

The WAsafe Committee is pleased to announce an online WAsafe Refresher training course.  All WAsafe Evaluator cards that have expired within the last 12 months or are about to expire can now easily continue registration in the program by taking the all new online refresher course or take an instructor led WAsafe BSE class. 

WAsafe estimates the online refresher course will take three to four hours to complete along with the accompanying final exam.  Completing the course and scoring at least 80% on the final exam will qualify evaluators to renew their WAsafe Building Safety Evaluator (BSE) enrollment, which will be valid for another five (5) years.

 If you or a staff member are interested in getting involved, please visit the WABO Emergency Management page for more information.

Education Committee - Max Booth

We had a very small education committee meeting in Ocean Shores as TCD got all the love this time. However we did have a very productive education committee meeting. We were able to pencil in a complete lineup for the 2024 AEI. We are now working on making a schedule and confirming instructors for our lineup. As this gets further along we will be sending out a draft to the education committee members. 

We also decided that going forward the AEI will be held exclusively in person (at least for the foreseeable future). We plan to offer virtual classes a couple times of year as one-day or two-day short seminars. WABO is committed to quality education at all of our seminars, and we feel this is the best way to accomplish this. 

WABO and Local Chapters - While we have not had lots of interest, the partnership to offer training in conjunction with local ICC chapters remains on the table. The goal is offer some of the resources that WABO has access to in order to assist volunteer run chapters in providing training close to home.  So chapter leaders, please reach out to me if you have a desire to partner with WABO on such an effort. 

I look forward to seeing you all in Walla Walla this fall!

Accreditation Committee - James Tumelson, CBO, MCP, ACO

The membership was briefed on the actions of the committee and the WABO office on finalizing licensing as a vocational school.  This milestone now allows us to advertise outside of our membership and therefore we ran our first ad on the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (MBAKS).  This is an important step for continued outreach and education of the Code Official Accreditation Program (COAP)Additionally, the WABO office has published business card shaped advertisements that were handed out at the summer business meeting.  There is still time to enroll in COAP for the cohort that begins this fall as registration is currently open. 

Are you a new or even a seasoned building official that subscribes to being a lifelong learner? Then the COAP fourth year is right for you. This fourth year is exclusively tailored towards accelerating the learning opportunities for the role as a Building Official.

Are you looking for additional Washington State plumbing training? Keep your eyes open for further information and future registration options coming this fall.

The Accreditation Committee would urge you to consider joining your peers as an Accredited Code Official (ACO) and/or enroll in the COAP.