News Release: Governor to appoint BIAW and AGC nominees in important legal victory
April 6, 2022
OLYMPIA…Two statewide construction trade associations announced today a significant legal victory in their fight to secure representation on the Washington State Building Code Council.
The Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) and the Associated General Contractors of Washington (AGC) and others have agreed to resolve a legal dispute with Gov. Jay Inslee over his handling of appointments last summer to the Building Code Council.
Under the settlement announced today, the two members of the Building Code Council the governor appointed will resign. Then the governor must replace them with nominees from BIAW and AGC. The governor’s office must also pay BIAW $70,000 in connection with a separate Public Records Act lawsuit.
An important legal victory
BIAW Executive Vice President Greg Lane said the settlement is important not only for builders, but for government accountability and for future home buyers.
“This is a tremendous victory for the members of our association, for protecting the cost of housing and for holding elected officials accountable to following the law,” Lane said. “The Building Code Council makes critical decisions that impact hundreds of thousands of homeowners and businesses. The law was rightfully designed to ensure industries like residential construction, that are directly affected by the code, have a seat at the table when changes are considered.
“Our position has been consistent from the very beginning,” he said. “The governor needed to follow the law in the appointment process by selecting from the nominees put forward by our two associations so that we could be represented on the building code council.
“It’s disappointing that it required us taking legal action, but this is exactly the outcome we were seeking,” he said. “He will appoint from a list of our nominees and our industry will now again have representation on the council, as the law intends.”
In two separate lawsuits filed last fall, the groups alleged the governor violated the law in selecting appointees to positions representing the residential and commercial construction industries and in responding to a related public records request.
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 trade associations representing those specific industries unless no names are put forth by the trade associations. This ensures that trade associations impacted by the code have a role in changes made to the code and the timing of the implementation.
Under the terms outlined in the settlement, the two members appointed to the council by the governor last year to fill the residential/multi-family and general/industrial general construction positions will resign, but continue serving on the council as full voting members until the governor finalizes the new appointments.
BIAW and AGC must each nominate three candidates to replace those positions. However, the associations may not nominate anyone who has already served two terms on the council. Within five weeks of receiving the associations’ new lists of nominees, the governor will appoint a nominee from each of the new lists and each nominee will serve until Jan. 5, 2025. At that point, each will be eligible for reappointment.
“These suits were about making sure the governor’s office followed the law,” said BIAW General Counsel Jackson Maynard. “Today’s agreement is important not only to our industries but to home owners and businesses across our state.”
The Building Industry Association of Washington is the voice of the housing industry as the state’s largest trade association with nearly 8,000 member companies. The association is dedicated to ensuring and enhancing the vitality of the building industry so more Washington families can enjoy the American Dream of owning a home. Learn more at: www.biaw.com