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Builders rally against bill increasing code requirements

February 21, 2022

Several BIAW leaders joined BIAW lobbyist Brent Ludeman in testifying against ESHB 1770, which, among other things:

  • Requires new buildings to be net-zero ready by Dec. 1, 2034;
  • Requires the State Building Code Council to adopt a statewide residential reach code.
  • Requires each city, town, and county to enforce the Washington State energy code for residential buildings or adopt the statewide residential reach code.
  • Requires a home affordability cost analysis to be conducted for any change to the Washington State energy code for residential buildings.

This misguided measure makes building homes even more costly at a time when the state is facing a housing crisis. New requirements add over $39,000 onto the price of a home, which prices out another 97,500 potential homeowners.

Builders speak

In his testimony before the committee, BIAW Legislative Policy Committee Chair Aaron Marvin, Certified Builder, and co-owner of A.C.T. Builders in Vancouver, said, “The requirements of this bill are vague and it’s unclear on what the metrics are for the reduction.”

Marvin, a member of the Building Industry Association of Clark County, encouraged legislators to engage builders who are involved with the day-to-day work of building homes and paying for these changes.

Kurt Wilson of Soundbuilt Homes, a member of the Master Builders Association of Pierce County, also testified, sharing his concern that the vagueness of the bill would add unnecessary costs to new homes in the middle of a housing crisis.

Troy Schmeil of Sapphire Homes, a member of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, also testified opposed with similar concerns.

Builders already must meet current state requirements to be 70% more efficient by 2030. It’s unfair to move the goal post again by changing targets and adding new carbon reduction goals.

While BIAW green builders strive to meet a net-zero standard for their clients, even they struggle to source compliant materials and appliances, no matter how much their clients are willing to pay.

With many potential homeowners already priced out of median-priced new homes, requiring all new homes to meet these exceedingly high standards is unrealistic and irresponsible. Read more in our HB 1770 Fact Sheet.

Heavy opposition

Overall, 788 people signed in as opposed to this measure, and 427 signed in to support it. Despite this, the bill is scheduled to be voted out of committee on Feb. 23.

Thank you to all our members who signed in and who testified. Your voice matters.

Watch the entire hearing on ESHB 1770.

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