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AGC and partners file suit over natural-gas restrictions

AGC and partners file suit over natural-gas restrictions AGC is part of a coalition of trade unions, businesses and homeowners that has banded together to file a lawsuit to challenge the State Building Code Council‘s new codes restricting the use of natural gas and propane in new residential and commercial construction.

AGC is a named plaintiff in the lawsuit that was filed Feb. 28. The lawsuit is directed at three rules passed by the State Building Code Council late last year amending the state residential building code, the energy code, and the wildland urban interface code.

As an example of the impact of the new changes, builders will be required to install heat pumps for space and water heating in all new buildings built after July 1, 2023. These changes remove the incentive for natural gas companies to run natural gas into new homes, which essentially eliminates the ability for home and property owners to have natural gas for ranges, fireplaces or other uses. The council also passed a new wildland urban interface code with real impacts on building new homes affordably.

They also adopted a rule requiring builders to equip all new homes with carports and garages with 40-amp, 208/240-volt branch circuits for electric vehicles. The lawsuit filed in Thurston County Superior Court attracted a broad coalition of more than 15 plaintiffs representing union tradespeople, home builders, remodelers, HVAC installers, potential new homeowners and energy companies. The suit alleges the State Building Code Council approved the rules without legislative authority and in direct violation of the state’s Administrative Procedures Act. It further alleges the council ignored cost studies and feasibility reports in making its decisions. The state will have 20 days to file a response.

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