Big opportunity to be able to weigh in on the future of Washington’s state building and energy codes. The Structural Engineer position on the Washington State Building Codes Council (SBCC) is open for recruitment. In addition to the very important work of ensuring that buildings are designed to proper structural and seismic standards, this seat also has the opportunity to weigh in on additional building considerations, such as embodied carbon/energy, energy efficiency and building decarbonization. This year, they will be voting on updating the 2021 Washington State Build Code, which has a large opportunity to forward progress toward the state’s climate goals. If you’d like more info, feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. See more information below.
The Washington State Building Code Council (SBCC or Council) provides independent analysis and objective advice to the legislature and the Governor’s Office on state building code issues. The Council also studies, recommends revision, and provides technical and general assistance to building officials about adopted codes relating to uniform building, energy and barrier-free designs.
The Council is made up of 15 people representing different constituencies and perspectives (e.g., architects, elected officials). Six members must be from eastern Washington. Members are not compensated, but do have any travel or expenses reimbursed. Terms are three years and are generally renewed once.
The State Building Code Council has a managing director and four staff members who support code work and facilitate meetings of technical experts.
Impact on Climate
The SBCC, in coordination with industry experts and stakeholders, develops the residential and commercial energy code, which govern how new and substantially renovated buildings use energy. By legislative statute, Washington’s energy code is required to become increasingly more efficient every revision cycle so that new buildings in 2031 are effectively zero carbon-ready (RCW 19.27A.160). However, the actual implementation toward this mandate is dependent on decisions that the SBCC makes.
Why is the Energy Code Important Now?
Our state has a unique opportunity to adopt the most climate-friendly statewide building energy code in the country. The SBCC is considering proposals that would dramatically reduce emissions. Having a structural engineering voice who is interested in moving towards sustainable construction would be very impactful.
There are approximately nine full Council meetings per year, that are about four hours each. Members are also members of at least one committee, which meet monthly or bimonthly for 2-4 hours. Other time commitment is any preparatory reading and any constituent meetings or outreach. Pre-pandemic, most meetings were in Olympia, with a few in Spokane, but a virtual option was always available. Currently, the SBCC is meeting virtually via zoom.
Current and Upcoming Openings
There will be an opening for a Structural Engineer starting immediately. Interested people will work through the Structural Engineers Association of Washington and must be a member.