Advocacy Update – January 2021

This month in advocacy: the state building code (again); the state legislative session kicks off; Rico Quirindongo AIA hits city hall; Seattle updates its green building incentive; your opportunity to meet the state Legislature's only architect; and more!


State Code Returned to Feb. 1 Implementation Date  
On Jan. 12, Governor Inslee reversed a Jan. 8 decision by the State Building Code Council which delayed the implementation date of the 2018 building codes from Feb. 1 to July 1, 2021. The governor’s decision returns the implementation date to February 1. AIA does not anticipate further changes to this much-amended date. You may read Gov. Inslee’s letter on his decision here.

The 2018 Seattle codes will maintain an effective date of March 15, 2021, pending Council approval of the Seattle codes in February. Starting February 1, SDCI will accept permit applications using either the 2015 or 2018 codes. After March 15, SDCI will only accept permit applications that use the 2018 codes.

State Legislative Session Kicks Off
A state legislative session like no other – nearly entirely conducted online – began on January 11 and will run for 105 calendar days. AIA Washington Council will be reporting on the session regularly. You can also follow along at AIA|WA’s Legislative Center. Key issues for AIA include:

  • Practice: alternative project delivery reauthorization for state contracting; efforts to reduce the threshold for predesign work on state contracts.
  • Climate: building electrification; embodied carbon requirements for state contracts; reducing emissions from HFCs; water quality standards for gray water systems; environmental justice.
  • School construction: amending Washington’s constitution to lower the threshold for voters to pass school bonds.
  • Tax: capital gains tax; eliminating state tax on COVID-related financial support.
  • Growth management: adding climate, equity, and more robust housing elements to planning requirements under the Growth Management Act.
  • Housing: housing benefit districts; facilitating ADUs; fully funding the state’s Housing Trust Fund; eviction prevention; affordable housing funding mechanisms for local governments.

For more information, contact Kirsten.


Seattle Seeks Green Building Incentives Feedback
The City of Seattle is updating its green building incentives, which encourage energy savings and reduced greenhouse gas emissions beyond the code to support Seattle’s clean energy future. These incentives include the Green Building Standard, which allows projects in certain zones to achieve extra floor area, and Priority Green, which allows expedited permitting. OPCD and SDCI are seeking comments on its initial proposal, available here. Please direct your comments by Jan. 29 to:

Brennon Staley
Strategic Advisor | OPCD | 206.684.4625

Permanent Supportive Housing New Land Use Code
On January 27, the Seattle City Council’s Select Committee on Homelessness Strategies will consider legislation by Councilmember Andrew Lewis to create a new land use code that will exempt permanent supportive housing from Design Review and eliminate some space requirements like onsite bike parking. The proposal also exempts floor area used for on-site supportive services from calculations for FAR limits and allows for certain SDCI waivers to be made as an administrative decision. AIA Seattle sent a letter to councilmembers expressing support for the overall legislation while expressing mixed opinions about the provisions related to bike parking. If you would like to comment on the legislation, contact your councilmembers.

Rico Quirindongo AIA joins Seattle OPCD
AIA member Rico Quirindongo has joined Seattle OPCD as the agency’s deputy director. In this role he will manage OPCD’s Community Planning, Long Range Planning, and Land Use Policy Divisions; help to align City planning functions and prioritize the City’s capital investments; expand cohesive community outreach strategies to reach traditionally underrepresented populations; and develop the department’s annual work program. Congratulations Rico!


AIA Seattle Committee Meetings
The Center for Architecture and Design is closed until the governor’s Stay Home Stay Healthy order is lifted. All meetings and events are either canceled or moved to an online or conference call format. Check AIA’s events page for more details on specific events.

  •  AIA Seattle’s Housing Task Force continues to meet monthly on the second Thursday of each month at noon via Zoom.
  • AIA Seattle’s Transportation Task Force meets on the second Tuesday of each month from 5:30-6:30 pm via Zoom.

For info on how to access either meeting, contact Kirsten.


Lighting Design Lab’s Cost Effective Code Compliance Classes
These classes are free and cover the Washington and Seattle energy codes.

  • Jan. 26: Building Envelope
  • Feb. 2: Lighting
  • Feb. 9: Water Heating

AIA Washington Council Webinar of the State Commercial Energy Code
Feb. 10, 3:00-4:30pm
This session will cover the significant changes to the 2018 Washington State Energy Code for Commercial Buildings. We will explore the new code in the context of Washington State Energy Code goals, alignment with the new state energy strategy, and the state’s implementation timeline.  More info here.

AIA Washington Council Q&A with State Rep. Davina Duerr
State Representative Davina Duerr (D-Bothell) will be speaking to AIA members as part of AIA|WA’s Capital Connections event. Rep. Duerr is the only current architect in the State Legislature and this will be her first opportunity to speak with AIA members as a group. All members are invited. Rep. Duerr will speak to what it’s like to bring architect thinking to the Legislature; her experiences from her first year and a half in Olympia; and her priorities for 2021. She’ll also answer your questions. Register here.

UDF: Equitable TOD w/ King County Council Chair Claudia Balducci
Claudia Balducci, King County Regional Council Chair and former Bellevue Mayor, will join UDF to discuss King County’s approach to transit oriented development (TOD), specifically related to the expanding light rail and bus rapid transit in the ST2 and ST3 packages, through the lens of the King County Equity and Social Justice Strategic Plan.  More info

King County Stakeholder Meeting: C-PACER
Jan 27, 2-3:30pm, Register
Join King County for an online workshop about the development of the County’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy + Resilience (C-PACER) program. Staff will provide a brief overview and context of the C-PACER program, highlight resources and King County’s process, and hold a facilitated discussion to get input from stakeholders.


We’d love to hear from you! To comment or for more information on these or any other topics, please contact:

Kirsten Smith
Manager of Policy & Advocacy
AIA Seattle & AIA Washington Council
206-957-1926 |