WABO Fall Quarterly Business Meeting

The Heathman Lodge, Vancouver, Washington

October 17 -18, 2019


President's Report - C. Ray Allshouse, AIA, CBO, ACO

I sincerely hope that this Fall finds you all in good health as the general economy seems to be plugging along on a positive note.  Unfortunately, our Fall Business Meeting in Vancouver had to be launched on the sad note that one of our own, Christian Johnson, City of Okanogan Building Official, met his fate as a fallen fire service hero.  Despite a brave fight, he succumbed to serious injuries suffered in fighting the Spring Coulee wildfire in September.  We will all miss him.

Speaking of heroes, in your behalf, the WABO Board stepped up, authorizing $5,000 to support the ICC Region II Military Families Career Path #Cuppy19 fundraiser tee shirt event that was spotlighted at the ICC ABM “Welcome to Las Vegas” event.  The program provides financial support to veterans who want to pursue building safety careers.

We had a great, well attended Fall Business meeting at the Heathman Lodge that included eleven first timers.  Please let me remind you that the professional networking and code related dialog is of value to you personally as well as your jurisdiction.  

WABO took an active role in supporting a previously proposed ICC Bylaw change that would help ensure broader geographic representation on the ICC governance Board of Director’s (BOD) in the years ahead.  The BOD was deadlocked on a recommendation to the membership at their Summer Board meeting in Denver, but was able to take a position in opposition in their meeting immediately prior to the ICC Annual Meeting in Las Vegas.  Undoubtedly, this influenced the membership present at the Annual Meeting to reject the same by a significant margin.  Nevertheless, the WABO Board authorized me to send a personal “thank you” letter to selected empathetic ICC Board Members prior to the meeting.  Although this specific proposal appears dead, we believe that the concept will most likely be resurrected in some form in the months ahead.

I can report that WABO and Washington State. was well represented at the ICC ABM and Group B Public Comment Hearings in Las Vegas.  WABO is pledged to continue support attendance by our active members at ICC Code Development Hearings.  I can personally assure you that we are making a difference.  Your Technical Code Development Committee is developing recommendations to help Governmental Voting Representatives participate in the Group B code change voting on cdpACCESS.  We encourage you to go online and vote your conscious.

We were also very pleased to strongly endorse creation of the budding new ICC Eastern Washington Chapter.

We look forward to seeing you at the upcoming 2020 Winter Committee meeting on January 30th at Pellegrino’s Event Center in Tumwater.  Again, you will have the opportunity to make a trip to meet your legislators at the Capitol in Olympia in the early stage of the 2020 Legislative season.  We took the time to hone and reaffirm WABO’s Legislative positions at the Fall Business Meeting to facilitate anticipated interaction with our elected officials in the coming year.




Committee Reports:

Technical Code Development - Chair Micah Chappell, MBA,CBO

Technical Code Development Committee (TCD) discussed some of the final wording for State Group 2 Code changes before the upcoming SBCC vote on November 8th.  TCD spent a significant amount of time discussing habitable attics, our public comment to the State and for the ICC Public Comment Hearings. This habitable attic discussion included suggestions proposed by WA Fire Chiefs Association that would advance their support for the modified code section. The group was provided information on the concerns shared at the SBCC public hearings about proposed energy code updates and more specifically the in-depth debate on gas fireplace heater efficiencies and the impact to businesses in WA if the proposal moved forward as currently written. TCD attendees were provided with information on our level of success so far in modifying the Group 2 State Codes, with the majority of our almost 20 proposed changes one final Council vote away from being adopted. The TCD Chair will provide an update to the final outcome of the SBCC actions on our proposals at the next quarterly meeting.

TCD also discussed some proposals that the committee has been monitoring (like habitable attics) for the 2021 ICC Group B Codes and a several of the public comments that were submitted (habitable attics). The final topic for the Committee was to discuss strategies for the ICC Public Comment Hearings, how to get support for our comments, and if we want to support public comments from others on topics like habitable attics. I believe the overall theme for TCD at this quarterly meeting, if I didn’t mention it, was habitable attics.

Start working on your proposals for the next adoption cycle, we still have work to do making the Codes better, and yes that includes habitable attics.


WA State Delegates at the 2019 International Code Council ABM in Clark County, NV

Education Committee - Chair Todd Blevins, CBO

The education committee was energized in its discussions at the Heathman Lodge, finalizing classes for our Education Institute. As usual, we combined the education committee and the outreach committee, drawing the largest group to our committees that I have seen in a long time. There was discussion on adding more classes for permit techs (which we have accomplished), Haz-mat classes for inspector’s safety in dangerous buildings, grow facilities, distilleries, and wineries (also completed).  Another of the suggestions was an erosion/ sediment lead class. This led to another discussion on providing links to classes offered throughout the state, which we already do in our WABO calendar. Our WABO staff does an excellent job of keeping this updated, so please visit the website frequently and sees what is available. If you have a class your group is offering, please let us know and we can add that for you. The committee also brought in some information on new instructors and classes that we will use in the future.

Our main focus is to bring classes that educate and inform in an interesting and engaging way. We hope this will make our Institute stand out across the state and draw many more jurisdictions to WABO’s great educational opportunities. If you would like to be part of this committee please feel free to contact me. 

Outreach Committee - Chair Stacy Criswell, CBO, ACO

  • Discussed options for upcoming training at WABO conference in March
  • Discussed other trainings that our members would like to see
  • Discussed ways of better communicating trainings from other organizations like MBP, local chapters, Simpson Strong-Tie Etc. on our website
  • Met with first time attendees and the importance of networking with people around them and other cities of their size or in close proximity
  • Pointed out current helpful handouts and tip sheets on our website and asked for new ideas
  • Working on Spanish phrases inspectors can use in the field

 A huge thank you to Clark County and their staff for sharing their interactive trailer!

 Government Relations Committee - Chair Tim Woodard and Lobbyist Amy Brackenbury

The Government Relations committee met at the fall 2019 Business meeting and many topics were discussed.

  • Amy Brackenbury (WABO’s Lobbyist) provided an update on the current political climate and discussed what we might expect to see this coming cycle. Specifically, ADU’s will be a much debated topic in the legislature.
  • A call to the membership was made to solicit volunteers to be on the new subcommittee. We are currently seeking an individual from the east side of the state and an individual from the west side of the state. We had two volunteers step up at this meeting.
  • A discussion on the 2020 Legislative Positions was facilitated. We made modifications to several and also made the decision to add a position on ADU’s in light of Amy’s comments. The modified draft will be posted in the circle soon for final review and then will be presented to the E-Board later this month for final approval.

Emergency Management Committee - Chair Ray Cockerham, CBO

WABO  Emergency management Committee Report

  1. Call for coordinators
    As effort with the WA Safe registration progress, Ray continued effort to recruit Reginal Coordinators any one with interest please contact Ray Cockerham. 

    Coordinators will need State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) Foundations Course (EMD0001) and the pre-requisite FEMA IS-230.D.  WABO will assist in the cost for Coordinators to attend the ½ day course at Camp Murray, WA.  Classes are offered twice a year the next class will likely be held this fall.
  1. Alternate for the Washington State Emergency Management council
    We hare received interest and talked with a few requites, a recommendation will be forwarded to the WABO President for appointment.
  1. King County EMAC
    The chair has received interest, a recommendation will be forwarded to the WABO President for appointment.
  1. News
    1. Washington State Emergency Council meeting  – Next meeting November 12th.
    2. Disaster Resiliency work group (click to weblink)
    3. WASafe
        i.    Website is being developed
       ii.    Formal roll out will follow the completion of the Operational Manual; being developed by the WASafe group
       iii.    First Formal WA Safe training was held in Vancouver on October 16, 2019.

TCD Scholarship Reports on the ICC Public Comment Hearings, October 2019, Clark County, NV:

Shane Nilles Report

Group B 2019 ICC Public Comment Hearings
Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas is known for a lot of things. Wild nights, impulse weddings, high rollers and scantily dressed distractions, a place where you can pretend to be someone else and later leave that temporary persona behind in the infamous “Sin City”. Not quite as lavish or intriguing but the Group B ICC Public Comment Hearings at least provided the platform to take at least one more roll of the dice on a code change proposal.

Like the Committee Action Hearings early this year, this was my first time attending a Public Comment hearing. Anticipating that it would be similar, I was quite honestly surprised as to how some differences, which would otherwise seem minor, actually made the whole experience feel very unique. No committee to persuade this time but instead a sea of attendees with the freedom to make their vote in anonymity. The pace was even faster as most of the proposals had only minor revisions to be considered and the basis of them had already been debated at the Committee Action Hearings. The procedures were more convoluted as they bounced from voting for or against what the Committee had previously decided, to hand raising vote to move one or more Public Comments forward, to a formal vote on the newly modified proposal should such Public Comment be accepted. 15 seconds to tap your vote on your voting device while music played over the speakers got your foot tapping along and it’s done. Then the results are displayed, the crowd murmurs in various reactions, then on to the next.
While not as enticing as the Committee Action Hearings where all of the proposals are being heard for the first time, I made the effort to speak on a few of the proposals where I felt that additional testimony would be needed to help influence the voters the way I wanted them to, and I also put in a Public Comment to attempt to modify a proposal that had been previously accepted by the Committee. I was not successful in getting a two-thirds majority in order to modify that proposal, but it did get over 50% support which was at least a re-assurance that I wasn’t alone in my thoughts. I was also reached out to afterwards by that proponent to discuss future changes to address my concerns which, along with witnessing WABO representatives coordinate with other proponents to successfully overturn the Committees decision and have the WABO TCD’s Public Comment amendment included in its passage, clued me into the fact that the power to succeed at the hearings does not necessarily occur on the stage, but on the sidelines where negotiations are made to get others to back you up. Like being on another version of “Survivor”, building a strong alliance will keep you “on the island” better than trying to simply be the strongest persuader on your own.
This is where WABO is the most successful. I’ve heard for years that WABO has one of the strongest influences in the country over the ICC code development. Attending the Public Comment Hearings was where it became apparent why. WABO brings a unity of dedicated individuals who show up in substantial numbers compared to any other entity. And while there is absolutely no pressure by any WABO member to another to vote in any particular way, the WABO members in attendance are very good at sharing their thoughts and individual expertise which leads to an agreeance in how to vote a lot of the time. Why is this so powerful? Because based on the amount of people voting in the room, often times roughly 10% were WABO members. That’s incredible especially when you consider that those votes are altering a code to be applied nationwide.
When I left there were still several days of hearings remaining so like the flashing lights on the casino floor, the excitement of winners and losers carried on despite my non-attendance. But unlike the money-sucking slot machines, the presence of other WABO members still in attendance provided for the opportunity to change the odds, to represent the ideals of Washington, and to have a positive influence over a process dominated by the minority of individuals who are just crazy enough to share their obsession. And while reflection on some of the proposals that had gone through that I personally did not agree with gave me a slight hangover, I am proud to say that I left Las Vegas with the same wife, an unscathed bank account, and a comfort knowing that if a future day comes where a cumbersome code change is giving a customer heartache, I can at least say I took a gamble on their behalf.

Angela Haupt Report

I recently attended my 3rd ICC Public Comment Hearings and Annual Business Meeting in Clark County Nevada. I’m learning that you can tell when something big and controversial is being proposed by a major group.  The attendance tells all. The hearings appeared to be attended fairly well this time around, but nothing like when sprinklers were being proposed to the IRC or Tall Wood Construction was being proposed for the IBC. The atmosphere seemed a bit more relaxed. The proposals seemed to move along rather swiftly these hearings.  It seemed like the Committee decisions were being upheld more often than not and public comments were not being heard. In the time that I was there, it appeared that our proposals were being well received.

I had a scheduling conflict and did not get the opportunity to testify on any of our watchlist items, but I look forward to doing that next time. We didn’t seem to have a large number of proposals to present this time around. I look forward to continued participation with the TCD at both the State and national level. Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this process.

Angela Haupt

City of Kirkland Senior Plans Examiner

WABO Technical Code Development Committee


Steve Wilson Las Vegas Report

I attended the ICC Public Hearings in Las Vegas this past month and I would recommend attending future events if you can. This is the 3rd public hearings that I have attended with the others in Richmond, VA. and Kansas City, MO. But this is the 1st time I spoke on Proposed changes. I gave testimony in support of RB90 which specifies the height of EERO devices on egress window. The vote was close but did pass which is a testament of how important it is to vote on code changes. Some code changes were decided by less than 5 votes and 1 was approved by only 1 vote. It was great to attend with other members of WABO and help promote interest which are important to the WABO membership. Micah Chappell provided a Power Point of public hearings process which is quite useful in showing the process which is required to make code changes. I attended this year’s hearings with the assistance of the WABO scholarship otherwise I would not have been able to attend; in the past I received scholarships from ICC and IABO which allowed my attendance. I am looking forward to attending public hearings in the future to help in steering the direction of the I-codes.

Tim Woodard Report

While attending the Public Comment Hearings in Las Vegas, NV our group from WABO made assignments on who would testify on the items we were concerned with. I testified on a total of three topics.

One particular code change (RB 58) really allowed me to participate in the entire process. Initially I stumbled explaining why WABO TCD was not in favor of the proposal. Something about looking out into a sea of over a 1,000 people made me clam up. After fighting through the initial testimony the proponents of the public comment did receive enough votes to overturn the committee and next was testimony on both of the public comments. The first public comment was with the Building Code Action Committee. With WABO’s concerns I testified against it and went through two rounds of rebuttal. That public comment narrowly didn’t pass. Then the next public comment was much easier. I was essentially able to rely on my previous testimony and that also didn’t pass. With no other public comments I was successfully able to represent WABO’s TCD’s interest. In the end I feel like my stumbling in the beginning was the only reason I ended up having to testify against both public comments; however, I felt accomplished due to the final outcome being in our favor. What a learning lesson this all was.

Stacy Criswell Report

I want to thank you for allowing me the opportunity to represent the Washington Association of Building Officials at this year's code hearings in Las Vegas. I have been in the inspection industry for over 20 years and "thought" I knew how codes were adopted... I can now say that with this opportunity that my eyes were opened wide and my level of understanding has greatly increased.

I used to think that code official experts got together and had long but productive discussions to better protect life and property. Some of this brought on by catastrophes, better testing, and advancements in the industry, but while a lot of this is true, I was able to witness firsthand that code professionals are not the only ones at the microphone pushing for change. There are a lot of manufacturers, builders, developers, and other parties with a vested interest in reducing costs as a driving force for change... not safety.

With this experience, I am better prepared to represent our industry to the contractors, design professionals and my elected officials. It also makes me want to be more devoted to "the process" of code adoption, and not just accept whatever comes down from the top.

Again, thank you for this opportunity and I hope more people will step up and be more involved!

James Tumelson Report

I had the opportunity to attend the Public Comment Hearings in Clark County, Nevada from October 25th-29th. The bulk of the hearings that I attend were the energy code. I listened to days of testimony from manufacturing, technical experts and code officials.
My first thought, when I knew that I would be attending the energy code hearings was this information may not be relevant because, I live in Washington State. Ironically, I found these energy code hearings very informative and interesting. There were many parallels to the other codes that I didn’t specially consider at first. There were also proposals at the hearings for the 2021 code that I have since heard again at our local level for the 2018 codes. What an excellent way to enable informed discussion to be tracking the changes locally and internationally.
One of my biggest take-aways was the awareness that the people in the rooms voting at the code hearings not only set the stage, they scope what will be voted on. Therefore, attending the code hearing is such a critical piece of the process.
Attending this code development cycle was a privilege to participate in and I appreciate and look forward to future opportunities. Thank you WABO