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AGC, BIAW file suit over building-code appointments

AGC, BIAW file suit over building-code appointments

The state’s two largest construction trade associations, the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) and the Associated of General Contractors of Washington (AGC) have filed a lawsuit to hold the governor accountable for not following the law in making his most recent appointments to the State Building Code Council (SBCC)

The groups allege Gov. Jay Inslee illegally appointed two individuals to fill vacancies on the council specifically reserved for nominees provided by the residential and commercial construction industries.

“This law was carefully negotiated to require the governor to appoint people nominated by their industry,” said BIAW’s Executive Vice President Greg Lane. “The Building Code Council makes critical decisions that impact not only our industries but hundreds of thousands of homeowners and businesses. The law was designed to ensure industries directly affected by the code have a voice in changes made and the timing of their implementation for the good of those we serve.”

The lawsuit filed Sept. 9 in Thurston County Superior Court asks the court to require Inslee to appoint two new members to the SBCC from the list of nominees provided by the two associations earlier this year as required under the law.

“State law dictates who serves on the council to ensure representation by our industries,” said David D’Hondt, Executive Vice President of AGC of Washington.  “It’s also crystal clear how council members are to be appointed. Our members have crucial expertise and knowledge to contribute to decisions made by the Building Code Council. We must have representation on the council—and our appointees must truly represent the depth and breadth of our industries.”

The law reserves one of the two general contracting positions for residential construction and another for commercial construction. It also requires the governor to appoint only people who have been nominated by those specific industries unless the industry fails to submit nominees. This ensures that groups impacted by the code have a role in changes made to the code and the timing of their implementation.

As required under the law, both BIAW and AGC submitted nominees to fill the vacancies.

The governor appointed a King County builder who was not on the list of three BIAW provided to fill the residential construction appointment. The governor then appointed a member of the plumbers’ union to the commercial construction position. This appointment was not only unqualified as a representative of the industry, it also was not the nominee provided by AGC.  

The lawsuit asks the court to declare these appointments unlawful and to require the governor to appoint the two representatives from the lists of nominees provided within 60 days. It also asks the court to prohibit the governor’s appointees from serving as voting members of the council.

”Gov. Inslee needs to follow the law,” Lane said. “It’s not only his duty – it’s also good policy to make sure that everyone impacted by the building code has a seat at the table.

For more information, contact AGC Chief Lobbyist Jerry VanderWood, 425-279-3755.

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