News Release: Building Association seeks pause of costly new energy code requirements
August 26, 2021
OLYMPIA… In response to the supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which are contributing to the dramatic increase in new home prices in Washington, the Building Industry Association of Washington has asked the Governor to suspend implementation of the costly new Energy Code to April 2022.
Since its implementation in February, homebuilders have seen an average of $15,000 to $20,000 in increased construction costs, all of which add to the price families pay for new homes. Aside from the added costs from the new energy code requirements, builders are now experiencing the massive product supply issues confronting other industries, delaying construction projects and increasing the costs even further.
Substantial delays, rising costs
Builders are reporting substantial delays in products like HVAC components, such as furnaces and heat pumps, energy-efficient windows and insulation. Builders are also struggling to source the 400-amp service panels now required due to all the additional electrical components required and delivery times are no longer even being provided by manufacturers.
BIAW President Tracy Doriot of Doriot Construction added that insulators are also running behind, which delays projects even further.
“While we recognize the challenges the Governor has faced during these tumultuous times, we are asking him to take a serious look at supply chain disruptions and housing costs and provide much needed relief,“ said BIAW President Tracy Doriot of Doriot Construction. “Homes are more important than ever. Providing relief from these changes will help stabilize the supply chain and save current homebuyer tens of thousands of dollars.”
Installing a compliant heat pump is particularly difficult as suppliers struggle to keep up with demand. Lead times have increased from 30 days to 90 days, and costs for those systems have increased up to $6,900, according to one residential contractor.
That same contractor shared that windows compliant with the new code are taking up to 30 weeks for delivery, as there is only one NW manufacturer producing them. Windows compliant with the previous code are available in just eight weeks. Prices for the new code-compliant windows are also 40-50 percent higher.
The average new home price in Washington is over $522,000—meaning roughly three-quarters of families are priced out. For every $1,000 increase 2,500 families are priced out of new home ownership opportunities.
Pause will ease price increases
“Pausing implementation until April will benefit local governments that are facing strained revenue and staffing shortages, businesses related to the supply chain of residential home building, and the burgeoning affordable housing deficit,” said Greg Lane, Executive Vice President of the Building Industry Association of Washington. “Granting this pause allows builders and industry leaders to make the necessary adjustments to their operations without hasty decision-making and less than thorough implementation, saving time and money.”
Washington’s Building Codes went into effect for most residential contractors on Feb. 1, 2021, with the exception of those in the City of Seattle where the codes were delayed until March 15, 2021.
The Washington State Building Code Council in January voted to delay code implementation until July 1, 2021, but the Governor repealed the extension shortly thereafter.