Much of the information presented in this summary is drawn from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building Energy Codes Program and the Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP). For more detailed information about building energy codes, visit the DOE and BCAP websites.
Changes to the state energy code are submitted to the State Building Code Council (SBCC) on standardized forms. Code changes must be received by March 1 of each year. The SBCC sends the change to a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for review. The TAG members have varying expertise in the construction industry related to the proposed change. After completing the review, the TAG submits its recommendations back to the SBCC. The SBCC then determines which proposals will be sent forward into rulemaking for public hearing. The final decision is made by the Council prior to December 1 each year, but approved changes only go into effect when the new editions of model codes are adopted every three years. Legislative oversight is provided through two Senators and two Representatives serving as ex-officio non-voting council members and a legislative session must pass before the changes go into effect.
Changes are instituted on a three-year cycle corresponding with the International Code Council (ICC) International Building Code cycle. Once final approval is granted by the SBCC, the rule is filed with the Washington State Code Reviser and then published in the Washington State Register.