IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Governor Declares Housing Construction “Not Essential”
Click here for information from the Building Industry Association of Washington.
STAY AT HOME ORDER CLARIFICATION
Gov. Jay Inslee issued official guidance on March 25 that construction is an essential activity in certain circumstances under the Stay-at-Home Order he announced on Monday. Beginning at midnight on Wednesday, Mar. 25, only certain activities will be allowed until at least April 8, 2020.
Section 3 (d) of the Order does allow businesses to secure their jobs sites and equipment following the order taking effect tonight: “For purposes of this Proclamation, minimum basic operations are the minimum activities necessary to maintain the value of the business’ inventory, preserve the condition of the business’ physical plant and equipment, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences, and related functions.”
- In the list of essential services: Construction workers who support the construction, operation, inspection, and maintenance of construction sites and construction projects (including housing construction) for all essential facilities, services and projects included in this document, and for residential construction related to emergency repairs and projects that ensure structural integrity.
- Click here for the Proclamation.
- Click here to link to the Govenor’s Memo. (Construction Guidance Memo)
- CIick here for the Essential Services List. If you have and questions or need more clarity, please contact Executive Officer Angela White at email@example.com or Government Affairs Director Erin Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org or by cell at 360-888-5532.
Member Company Essential Worker Letter Template
On Monday when the Stay Home order came out it was suggested that employees of essential businesses would need a pass or license to conduct essential services. According to the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) these will not be needed. See article below: https://washingtonstatewire.com/how-stay-home-stay-healthy-will-be-enforced/ . BIAW has put a pass template together for employers to utilize, (Member Company Essential Worker Letter Template downloadable file) just in case some companies feel better utilizing them.
COVID-19 PERMITTING & INSPECTION STATUS UPDATES
(updated Wednesday, March 26, 2020 at 1PM)
AS OF MARCH 25, WE HAVE NOT HEARD THAT ANY JURISDICTION HAS HALTED PERMITTING IN RESPONSE TO THE GOVERNOR’S STAY HOME ORDER.
BECAUSE MOST BUILDING DEPARTMENTS ARE ENCOURAGING STAFF TO WORK REMOTELY, PLEASE DO EXPECT MINOR DELAYS IN PERMIT TIME-LINES AS THE SHIFT TO TELEWORK OCCURS.
Updates for March 26:
- City of Olympia will be extending the usual 180-day expiration on building
- City of Shelton has new inspection procedure related to the Stay Home order, see the Shelton section below for more information.
- Thurston County has developed a method for PDF submission of plans for review. Please contact the BDC for information about how to submit in this method.
In light of CDC, State, and local health advisories to limit person to person contact to stop the spread of COVID-19, many of our jurisdictions are either shutting down their walk-in permit services or moving to very limited service. We are working proactively with all our city and county governments to ensure that while we protect the health of the community is being protected, permit applications can be processed at a near-to-normal rate so that we can have a robust building session at a time when our local economies will desperately need it.
Below is the current status of permitting for several jurisdictions. We recommend that if you have questions, you call the permitting number we have provided and speak to staff directly, as things are changing from day-to-day.
We will be continuing our outreach during this period and will provide updates regularly.
THURSTON COUNTY: County offices are closed to public access, beginning Thursday, March 19 and lasting through Friday April 03, with the end date potentially being revised if necessary.
Staff will be on site but not accessible to the public except by phone and email. A drop box has been provided outside the Courthouse for physical permit applications. Building inspections and field reviews will continue, while practicing social distancing.
For general development questions related to zoning, shorelines, critical areas (gopher/prairie, wetlands, streams, floodplain, steep slopes, oak trees, etc.). call (360) 754-3355 ext. 6299 or email email@example.com
If you have building code questions, call (360)754-3355 ext. 7289
Call or email EH staff if you have questions related to septic systems, wells, water systems, record drawings at (360) 867-2673 or EH_tech@co.thurston.wa.us
For general permitting questions, call the BDC at (360) 754-3355 ext. 7288
CITY OF OLYMPIA: City facilities are closed to the public but all processes regarding the building department and plan review are operating normally. The City will be conducting inspections as normal and plan review as normal.
Building inspectors will be gathering their inspection requests and working from their vehicles and using iPads. Please provide an on-site contact when requesting an inspection so the inspector can reach them for better communication regarding the inspection/accommodation for health concerns.
For any questions regarding electrical inspections please reach out to Zac Chandler. (360) 570-3912
City of Olympia will be extending the usual 180-day expiration on building permits until July 1, 2021 to help continue the construction of housing and other buildings in the City. This is in recognition of delays and interruptions to labor and materials delivery that may be occurring as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
CITY OF LACEY: City hall and facilities are closed to the public beginning March 17, 2020 until further notice.
To submit or pick up a permit, please call (360) 491-5642 to set up an appointment. All other activities regarding building department and plan review will be conducted by phone. Inspections will continue as normal, at the discretion of the inspector.
The city will reassess building closures on April 1.
CITY OF TUMWATER: As of Wednesday, March 18, City facilities are closed to the public for at least two weeks. They will continue to do most inspections and plan review as normal. All major inspections will be scheduled online and performed remotely from the office. They will not complete minor interior mechanical and plumbing inspections unless they can skype the inspection between the contractor/homeowner and inspector.
Moving forward, they will be shifting to electronic submittals and online inspection scheduling, primarily. They will also receive paper documents in a cart in the vestibule of the police department at city hall. Tumwater will take phone requests for inspections only if they are urgent in nature. Checks for permit payment can be dropped off.
A Permit Technician will be in City Hall a very limited amount of time each day unless further restrictions are applied by authorities that make that not possible.
CITY OF YELM: The City will continue to provide essential services such as water, sewer, police, and emergency management, building permit and inspection services. Appointments in advance are required by calling during normal business hours at (360) 458-3244.
MASON COUNTY: As of Monday, there is limited public access to the permit center. Staff is continuing to meet with current application appointments and disinfecting work areas prior and after each appointment. Permit pick-ups and payments are limited to 2 days a week (Tuesday and Thursdays). Staff’s continues to emphasize options for phone or online processing.
Field inspection staff will be conducted at the judgement of the inspector to reduce public interaction from a reasonable distance while on site.
If you have questions, call (360) 427-9670 ext 352 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
CITY OF SHELTON: The city has declared a state of emergency and the Civic Center is closed to the public at this time. They are still processing building and other permits but are working with IT to set up remote services so employees can work from home.
In response to the Governor’s Stay Home order, Shelton has established new inspection protocols. All building inspections should be scheduled through the Permit Coordinator via email at email@example.com and for more information on the inspection requirements.
For smaller projects that take place inside an occupied residence, such as water heater replacement or heat pump installation performed by a licensed or registered contractor, we will accept electronically sent photos for inspection on a case by case basis. Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org with address and permit # in subject line.
If you have questions regarding permit or development requirements call (360) 426-9731.
LEWIS COUNTY: As of noon, March 18, the Public Services building (housing Environmental Health, Community Development, and Public Works) will be closed to the public.
Staff are developing procedures to assist the public through means other than face-to-face contact. Staff will make every effort to continue permit processing (building, planning, septic and water). Minor delays are expected as staff transitions work platforms.
Call the Permit Center at (360) 740-1146 with inquiries related to electronic submittals, payments or to schedule, in advance, a direct drop off or pick conducted under public health guidelines. They intend to make every attempt to continue on-site inspections for building, septic and water, provided this work can be accomplished under public health guidelines.
CITY OF CENTRALIA: City of Centralia is now closed to the public but will have remote access to their permit system, mapping programs, etc. They will remain fully operational to all building and planning services via email and cell phones per the Governor’s order.
- For assistance with scheduling inspections please send an email to email@example.com or call/text (360) 880.3015 (M-F, 8-5 pm).
- For permitting assistance email firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text (360) 880.3015 (M-F, 8-5 pm).
- For general permitting, planning, and zoning related questions email email@example.com or call/text (360) 523.3930 (M-F, 8-5 pm).
- For all other questions or concerns please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text (360) 880.3013 (M-F, 8-5 pm).
CITY OF ABERDEEN: Submit permit applications through the e-portal website at https://www.aberdeenwa.gov/330/Permit-Center
For builders who work in Pierce County, you can find a status update for most jurisdictions on the MBA Pierce website at: https://www.mbapierce.com/blog/weekly-enews-186/post/covid-19-response-updates-on-permit-office-closures-and-inspection-suspensions-22875
If you have any questions, or ideas of ways to make keep the permitting process smooth and effective while respecting quarantine conditions, please contact Erin Hall at email@example.com or 360-888-5532.
On Sunday, March 22, 2020, OMB submitted the following letter to all local jurisdictions, requesting that they begin immediate consideration of an emergency permitting plan, in order to sustain the home construction throughout this crisis and to assist in long-term impact recovery. You can read the letter here. OMB COVID 19 Permit Action Plan.pdf (downloadable)
OMB submitted a letter to Governor Inslee on designating home construction, repair, maintenance, housing industry inspections by local government, and industry-related transportation as an “Essential Infrastructure Business” in the State of Washington. You can read the letter here. OMB COVID 19 Construction.pdf (downloadable)
GENERAL INFORMATION & RESOURCES
2018 Government Affairs Annual Report
NEW! 2018 Mazama Pocket Gopher Consultant List
A directory of private biologists in the region who have successfully completed the 2018 USFWS Mazama Pocket Gopher Protocol and Mound Identification Training.
The Limited Effectiveness of Inclusionary Zoning
Households Priced Out of Homeownership (Olympia Metro-Area)
2018 Building & Impact Fees (Olympia Metro-Area)