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HB 1848: Not Just For Developers and Builders

The design and construction provisions of House bill 1848 are just intended for developers and contractors. The same design and inspection provisions are applicable to rehabilitative repairs to existing multiunit buildings. Any work to the building envelope including, below grade waterproofing, cladding, exterior horizontal surfaces, windows, and the roof are subject to the construction provisions of the bill. There are no exemptions to the requirements of this bill; however there are provisions to exempt the owners from the design, construction and inspection requirements should there repair not meet the rehabilitative standard, or if it is subject to a recorded sale prohibition covenant.


There is great variety in the construction and condition of multi-residential buildings. A good understanding of a buildings construction is critical to proper maintenance and repair.


Prior to the implementation of house bill 1848, repair decisions were left to the owners and association boards, which might or might not have sought out professional assistance. The pressure of limited financial resources often weighed heavily on repair decisions. Often financially pressured owners’ chose lower cost repairs that addressed symptoms rather than causes of building envelope problems.


Professional oversight is now required before undertaking rehabilitative repairs. Design documents must be prepared and stamped by a licensed Architect or Engineer. Associations can choose licensed construction professionals to guide them from the beginning, or contractors (design build service) who engage licensed professionals to provide stamped design documents.


Inspection of repair work is also required. Licensed design professionals can provide design and inspection services. Many licensed professionals also provide contract administration services. An owner who chooses a design-build-contractor must also engage a qualified party to provide independent inspection services.


Rehabilitative Work

Repair projects that are valued at less than 5% of the assessed value are not considered rehabilitative and are not required to follow the design, construction and inspection provisions. Owners of buildings undergoing such projects are required to submit a letter certifying that the project does not exceed 5% of the assessed value to the building department. Permits may still be required by the local building department, even if the value of the work is less than 5%. You should contact the local building department to determine whether a permit is required before undertaking even minor repairs.


Prohibition Covenant

Apartment buildings are subject to the same provisions as condominiums unless a recorded ‘Sale Prohibition Covenant’ is filed in compliance with the provisions of House bill 1848.

 

Following are some examples of projects rehabilitative and non-rehabilitative projects:

 

Example 1 - Waterproof Membrane

The waterproof membrane at decks on Building ‘A’ is being replaced. The value of the new waterproofing is 60,000. Building A is a 12 unit building with a combined tax assessed value of 2.4 million. 2,400,000 * 0.05 = 120,000. The value of the work is significantly less than the 5% threshold for the building making it non- rehabilitative. Stamped design documents addressing waterproofing and inspection are unlikely to be required. If the owner chooses to proceed without professional assistance, he or she must submit a letter to the building department certifying the value of the repair is less than the 5% rehabilitative threshold.

 

Example 2 - Deck Reconstruction

The waterproof decks on Building ‘W’ are being reconstructed. The value of the deck reconstruction is 180,000. Building W is a 12 unit building with a combined tax assessed value of 2.4 million. 2,400,000 * 0.05 = 120,000. The value of the work exceeds the 5% threshold for the building; therefore, it is rehabilitative. Stamped design documents addressing waterproofing and inspection will be required in addition to the building permit addressing the structural repairs.

 

Example 3 - Multi-building complex

The waterproof decks on Building ‘Z’ are being reconstructed. The value of the deck reconstruction is 180,000. The condominium is a ten building complex valued at 24 million. Building Z is a 12 unit building with a combined tax assessed value of 2.4 million. It is likely that the building department would calculate the cost/value ratio only on the building that is being repaired. 2,400,000 * 0.05 = 120,000. The value of the work exceeds the 5% threshold for the building; therefore, it is rehabilitative Stamped design documents addressing waterproofing and inspection will be required in addition to the building permit addressing the structural repairs.

 

Example 4 - Roof Replacement

The roof on Building ‘X’ is being replaced. The value of the roof replacement is 150,000. Building X is a 12 unit building with a combined tax assessed value of 2.4 million. 2,400,000 * 0.05 = 120,000. The value of the work exceeds the 5% threshold; therefore, it is rehabilitative. Stamped design documents addressing waterproofing and inspection will be required.

 

Example 5 Roof Replacement

The roof on Building ‘Q’ is being replaced. The value of the roof replacement is 150,000. Building Q is an 18 unit building with a combined tax assessed value of 3.6 million. 3,600,000 * 0.05 = 180,000. The value of the work is less than the 5% threshold making it non- rehabilitative. Stamped design documents addressing waterproofing and inspection are unlikely to be required. If the owner chooses to proceed without professional assistance, he or she must submit a letter to the building department certifying the value of the repair is less then the 5% rehabilitative threshold.

 

The Intended End Result: Better Construction

House bill 1848 is intended to reduce defects in newly constructed, converted and repaired condominiums. Additional design and inspection are intended to improve the multi-unit housing product. Home buyers should be able to purchase new homes with increased confidence that the building exterior will protect their investment from the environment.

Links

House Bill 1848 from the WA State House of Representatives (PDF)

 

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