Property owners gain voice on council

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Sen. Janéa Holmquist-Newbry, R-Moses Lake, listens to a presentation in Olympia. Legislation expanding the State Building Code Council passed in the Senate Tuesday.

OLYMPIA - The state Senate passed a bill Tuesday to give rental property owners a voice for upcoming code changes by expanding the State Building Code Council.

Sen. Janéa Holmquist Newbry, R-Moses Lake, sponsored the bill.

"Currently, the State Building Code Council is composed of 15 members who are appointed by the governor," said Holmquist Newbry, R-Moses Lake. "This bill would help fill present and future needs of the council by adding two positions - one representing small landlords and one representing large landlords - to bringing more perspective to council."

Holmquist Newbry is an ex-officio member of the council.

The council is responsible for providing analysis and objective advice to the legislature and the Governor's Office on state building code issues. The council also establishes the minimum building, mechanical, fire, plumbing and energy code requirements to promote the health, safety and welfare of the state's residents.

Holmquist Newbry noted there are currently no representatives for small and large landlords on the council. Beginning in 2015, the new International Building Code will have a new, separate code for existing buildings and the council will be responsible for updating the state building codes based on the new code. More than 1 million rental properties will be affected by the new code, according to Holmquist Newbry.

"The landlords who own these buildings will be directly impacted by these upcoming SBCC changes and this is why I wanted to make sure they had a voice on the council," Holmquist Newbry said.

She said the bill will address the knowledge gap by bringing experts of existing buildings onto the council. The council is primarily focused on new construction.

The bill advanced to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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