Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Reporter's Notebook

--Charity Thompson can be reached at


Legislation is advancing in Olympia that the Building Industry Association of Clark County fears could put some builders out of business. Senate Bill 5895 and its companion, House Bill 1393, are intended to improve residential construction in several ways, including:

  • Creation of an Office of Consumer Education for Home Construction
  • Boosting home warranty protections
  • Requiring third-party inspections of remodels and new homes
  • Beefing up contractor registration requirements
  • Setting worker certification standards for foundations, framing, siding, roofing, windows and doors
The House version had its first reading Jan. 20 and it debuted in the Senate Feb. 5. The Legislature’s Democratic majority has passed the bill through a handful of committees on both sides. If I were having my home built or remodeled, I would feel better knowing the project had third-party inspections, certified workers and strong warranties. I would be glad to know I could call a state office if I had trouble with my builder, heaven forbid. If I were a builder, it seems that these regulations could be a headache. But it also seems that the new state office could help protect builders. It would require consumers to file claims for investigation and mediation before pursuing lawsuits. Steve Madsen, BIA of Clark County’s government affairs director, said the bill’s proposed warranty requirements could make it too expensive for general contractors to stay in business. There aren’t insurance underwriters for the proposed warranties, making difficult to get coverage, he said. Builders who can’t afford to operate that way might find consulting a more affordable business venture, Madsen said. Some homeowners are acting as their own contractors these days under guidance of consultants. “These contractors do have a lot of expertise,” Madsen said. “I think state legislation will have a big influence on how popular that (consulting) trend becomes. … Unless the legislature puts him out of business, the general contractor’s going to be around as the primary source of residential construction.”


Anonymous said...

The bills also have some various dangerous implications due to the Warranty clauses and other elements that on the surface seem innocuous enough, however they have significant negative impacts to even the designers of homes, such thatit will potentially also void their Liability Insurance coverage. As such, if the bills pass with the Warranty provisions, the end result will be that there will be no plans to build from in Washington State.