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COVID-19 Local Permitting Action Plan
March 18, 2020

The situation is changing daily as the virus spreads and additional government restrictions and actions are taken. It is important to maintain contact with local permitting agencies and check in regularly. For individual and community safety, please utilize technology that does not involve human contact: use the internet and telephone. And WASH YOUR HANDS!

State of Emergency: Some local jurisdictions may consider a declaration of a state of emergency and some already have a local declaration of emergency:

  • Request permit approval extensions for permits expiring between March 1 and at minimum June 29, 2020.
  • Request permit approvals for structures with previously approved designs that allow home builders to continue to build safe homes. A post-construction verification or permit process can be created to verify compliance once the state of emergency restrictions are lifted.
  • Request construction activity be considered essential services in the case of a “shelter in place” order (see City San Francisco’s Public Health Order Requiring Residents Stay Home Except for Essential Needs, March 16, 2020).
  • Request financial institutions, including title and escrow operation, are considered essential services in the case of a “shelter in place” order.

Permits:

  • Jurisdictions with online submission: ensure permitting offices have designated a point of contact, even if the local staff are working remotely or not available face-to-face.
  • Jurisdictions without online submission: request a physical no-contact permit drop off so staff can process permits remotely.
    • Request emergency adoption of an online permit portal system, such as:
      • Mybuildingpermit.com
      • eTRAKiT
      • ePERMITS

Inspections: Request establishment formal on-site no contact protocol.

  • Such as:
    • Inspector calling the project site contact from their vehicle and doing an inspection with no one else on site and a phone debrief after inspection.
    • Video or delayed, ex post facto, inspections. Live and/or builder recorded video of the various stages of construction which could then be used real time or in a post-construction permitting process for compliance.

Advocate: Home builders can spur quick economic growth and reinvigorate the economy after the restrictions and quarantines are lifted. But in order to do this, the builders need to have approved permits in hand.

  • Ask county and city governments to delay implementation of new or upcoming regulations.
  • Ask county and city governments to request the governor delay implementation of all new building codes set to be implemented on July 1, 2020.
  • Request construction be allowed to continue as an essential service.
  • Request financial institutions, including title and escrow, continue as an essential service.

What is BIAW doing?

  • Partnered with Washington Association of Building Officials (WABO) and others in formal request to delay implementation of the 2018 building codes due to be implemented July 1, 2020.
  • Requested any statewide “shelter in place” health orders include construction activity as essential service.
  • Regularly update www.BIAW.com with the latest COVID-19 resources for businesses and employers.

Please contact Jan Himebaugh, janh@biaw.com or 425-577-1518 or Ashlee Delaney, ashleed@biaw.com with questions, concerns, or additional creative solutions.

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