Legal

BIAW’s legal team provides invaluable legal advocacy and information to members. Our team leads the fight to protect the building industry and small businesses in general. The team files important lawsuits to protect our industry, stays up to date on relevant legal issues, reviews bills during legislative sessions, analyzes government agency actions and provides expert legal resources to help protect you and your business.

BIAW Contract Subscription Service

Available exclusively for builder members in Washington state.

For just $399 plus tax for a two-year subscription, BIAW builders and remodelers can receive unlimited online access to a suite of more than two dozen contracts and addenda. Covering most common construction needs, this subscription could save you thousands of dollars in legal fees.

Prepared by local attorneys familiar with the Washington building industry’s unique needs, these contracts will be regularly updated with the latest legal mandates and case law so your contracts are always up to date. Buy Now

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Overview of Active Litigation

Ongoing Litigation

  • BIAW and Soundbuilt Homes LLC v. The State of Washington and Thurston County Auditor, Mary Hall
    • This lawsuit challenging the state’s document recording fee is currently under appeal in Division II.
  • Northwest Regional Council of the National Construction Alliance et al. v. Washington State Building Code Council (Rule Challenge)
    • BIAW is running point on coordinating a coalition of parties invested in challenging the Washington State Building Code Council’s latest building code rules in state court and is supportive of an effort by a different group of plaintiffs to challenge the rules in federal court.

Amicus Briefs

  • Zimmerly et al. v. Columbia River Gorge Commission et al.
    • BIAW has filed a motion and memorandum with the Washington State Supreme Court to argue that the Columbia River Gorge Commission exceeded its jurisdiction by hearing an appeal of a Clark County Code enforcement action, as well as to highlight the fact that federal land use regulation will exacerbate Washington State’s existing housing supply and affordability crisis.
  • Preserve Responsible Shoreline Management et al. v. City of Bainbridge Island et al.
    • BIAW filed a motion and memorandum with the Washington State Supreme Court to argue that citation to evidence contained in the legislative record should be allowed in order to determine whether the City’s SMP violates the doctrine of unconstitutional conditions, that buffers are conditions that must satisfy the requirements of nexus and rough proportionality, and that the housing affordability crisis in our state would be exacerbated as jurisdictions set buffers based on precautionary principle rather than current and accurate science.
  • Quinn et al. v. State of Washington et al.
    • This case challenging the constitutionality of Washington’s Capital Gains Income Tax was heard in the Washington Supreme Court. While the opinion was not in our favor, options to address this matter are being explored.
  • Noble Ridge Construction Inc. and Wesco Insurance Co. v. Gregory M. Tadych and R. Sue Tadych
    • BIAW filed an amicus brief with the Washington State Supreme Court to argue that essentially overruling decades of precedent that upheld contractual limitations provisions in a statute of limitations will negatively impact the industry as a whole, as well as open the floodgates of litigation on claims that would otherwise be contractually barred. Moreover, changes to the allocation of risk and responsibility in construction projects will lead to an increased cost of construction that will further perpetuate the housing crisis and cause undeniable harm to the most vulnerable people in our state.  The court denied the motion for reconsideration and BIAW has addressed the court’s ruling in its template contracts available through its contract subscription service.
  • Wright v. ExxonMobil
    • This case involves a dispute over whether or not employers can be held liable for injuries to their independent contractors while those contractors are on the job. BIAW argued in their brief that the person in a position to avoid the danger (i.e. the employee) should be held solely accountable for resulting harms. The case was heard in the Washington State Supreme Court and an opinion has not yet been released.

 

Read the latest news on BIAW’s legal work

Support the fight to protect energy choice in Washington

The Washington State Building Code Council recently adopted new codes that not only violate a variety of state laws and regulations, they’re also in conflict with federal law. These changes remove the incentive for natural gas companies to run natural gas into new homes, which essentially eliminates the ability to have natural gas for ranges, fireplaces or other uses.

BIAW has attacked this injustice on several fronts, but we need your support.

Support the state energy code challenge in Thurston County Superior Court: A coalition including BIAW, unions, trades, businesses and homeowners has filed a lawsuit, challenging the new state commercial and residential building codes, the energy code, and the wildland urban interface code.

Support the federal challenge to the state’s codes in US District Court for the Eastern District of Washington: BIAW is also supporting a federal challenge with different plaintiffs, requesting an injunction to block or delay the new codes after a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision found similar actions by the City of Berkeley violated federal law. The Court ruled the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act expressly preempts state and local regulations concerning the energy use of many natural gas appliances, including gas stoves and fireplaces.

How to file a lien and why

A construction lien is an effective way to secure payment for the labor and/or materials you put into a person’s property. In almost all cases, it is less expensive and time consuming than suing for breach of contract