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BIAW shares permit challenges and solutions with Legislature

October 24, 2022

While the 2023 legislative session is still several months away, BIAW shared permit challenges and solutions at a legislative work session in Olympia last week.

BIAW’s Government Affairs Director Jan Himebaugh and Kurt Wilson, Principal of Soundbuilt Homes, joined local government staff before the Senate Housing and Local Government Committee.

Permit challenges and solutions

Himebaugh shared permitting war stories from BIAW members as well as the results from BIAW’s 2022 report, “Cost of Permitting Delays.”

According to this report, the average permit delay is 6.5 months. This is despite the fact state law requires permits to be issued within 120 days in most cases. A 6.5-month delay adds more than $26,000 in holding costs. These costs include property taxes, insurance, utilities and other expenses that builders while they wait to receive the permit to build.

Barriers to entry

With more than 20 years in the homebuilding business, Wilson spoke on behalf of newer builders and those hoping to someday be able to afford to buy a home.

As an established builder, Wilson said he’s learned how to navigate the state’s complex regulatory system. However, the system creates barriers to entry for newer builders. This contributes to the state’s housing shortage.

“The Legislature needs to help local governments understand that they need to be a facilitator, not a regulator,” said Wilson, an active member of the BIAW Legislative Policy Committee (LPC). “Help guide applicants on the path to approval. Adding friction to a regulatory process does nobody any good. We need to facilitate the issuance of a permit in a timely manner.”

Watch Himebaugh and Wilson on TVW on-demand.

Preparing for the 2023 session

The BIAW LPC meets next at the 2022 Fall Board Meeting to discuss permit reform proposals and other ideas to formulate the BIAW 2023 legislative agenda.

All members may attend BIAW board meetings. BIAW’s government affairs team also holds calls with the LPC and others throughout the legislative session. If you’d like to join those calls, please contact Andrea Smith at 360-352-7800 x 114 or

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