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New Building Codes Go into Effect on July 1, 2013


February 27, 2013
Category: Administration

New Building Codes Go into Effect on July 1, 2013

The Washington State Building Code Council has adopted, with amendments, the newest versions (2012) of the various codes that make up the Washington State Building Code, chapter 19.27 RCW, which contains the minimum construction requirements for the state of Washington. RCW 19.27.031. The newly-adopted codes and amendments include:
  • 2012 International Building Code (Ch. 51-50 WAC), WSR 13-04-067;
  • 2012 International Fire Code (Ch. 51-54A WAC), WSR 13-04-063;
  • 2012 International Mechanical Code (Ch. 51-52 WAC), WSR 13-04-053;
  • 2012 Uniform Plumbing Code (Ch. 51-56 WAC), WSR 13-04-054; and
  • 2012 International Residential Code (Ch. 51-51 WAC), WSR 13-04-068.

In addition, the building code council has adopted the new energy conservation codes, as part of the state building code per RCW 19.27A.020:
  • 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (Residential)  (Ch. 51-11R WAC), WSR 13-04-055; and
  • 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (Commercial) (Ch. 51-11C WAC), WSR 13-04-056.

As of July 1, 2013, the new versions of the above codes and amendments become effective in every city and county regardless of any local action which may or may not be taken. This means that the above codes and amendments will be in effect and must be enforced by that date even if a city or county has not adopted them by reference. The primary reason that we recommend that cities specifically adopt, by ordinance, the state building code is so the municipal court, if a city has one, will have jurisdiction over violations of the building codes. Otherwise, violations of the state building code will have to be prosecuted in county district court.

Note that cities and counties can amend the state building code so long as the amendments do not reduce the minimum performance standards of the codes they have adopted. Amendments that affect the construction of single-family or multi-family residential buildings must be reviewed and approved by the State Building Code Council before such amendments can be enforced. RCW 19.27.040.

For more information, see the Washington State Building Code Council webpage on "Adoption and Amendment of 2012 Model Building Codes."

MRSC is a private nonprofit organization serving local governments in Washington State. Eligible government agencies in Washington State may use our free, one-on-one Ask MRSC service to get answers to legal, policy, or financial questions.

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