Washington State’s Construction Regulations Explained


Washington State’s Construction Regulations Explained

Are you thinking about building a commercial construction project in Washington state? If so, it is critical that you understand the ins and outs of the Evergreen State’s building regulations—along with what’s changed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Truth be told, complying with regulations isn’t the most painless experience in the world. In fact, if you’re not completely prepared for, and knowledgeable of all the fine details, it can be a major undertaking—one fraught with headaches, construction delays and all kinds of strife.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of Washington’s building regulations, to give you a better idea of the most important facets that need to be kept in mind during construction projects in the Evergreen State.

1. Washington state has robust safety standards for construction work

For any construction project, it’s important to take proactive measures to ensure the safety of workers and contractors. We can all agree on that.

But if you’re planning to break ground on a commercial construction project in Washington, get ready to put your reading glasses on and pull up a chair. It turns out that the state’s construction regulations stretch on for 889 pages. Any way you look at it, complete compliance can be difficult to achieve, unless you and your team are completely briefed on all aspects.

Case in point? In September 2020, a construction company based in Everett, Washington, was fined upwards of $230,000 after inspectors found several hazards at multiple job sites.

You can avoid these fines by taking proactive steps to keep construction workers safe. Some ways to prioritize strict safety standards include walking contractors around a new job site to identify potential hazards, making sure all workers wear proper protective gear (e.g., hard hats and appropriate eyewear) when they are on site and making sure workers are mindful of scaffolding weight maximums.

2. Washington state has COVID-19-specific construction regulations

If that mountain of safety regulations wasn’t enough, Washington enacted another slate of regulations in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only do supervisors have to train workers about COVID-19, but they also have to maintain social distancing and provide personal protective equipment (PPE), among other things. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in $10,000 or more in fines.

Though these regulations are undoubtedly and understandably needed during this difficult period, they add to the already comprehensive list of safety requirements, making it that much harder to swiftly and affordably move construction projects forward in Washington.

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3. Construction in Washington is already expensive to begin with

All of these regulations notwithstanding, construction is already expensive in Washington to begin with. For example, a recent study found that Seattle was among the top 10 most expensive cities in the world to build in.

Of course, when construction costs are high, those expenses tend to be passed on to the end customer—i.e., you and your business. 

You can reduce these costs by taking a vendor-agnostic approach to construction that enables you to shop for the best price, avoiding supplier layering and the associated price markups, while putting together robust plans up front to avoid or at least minimize scope creep. 

How modular construction can help you comply with Washington’s construction regulations

By partnering with a modular construction vendor like PCX, you can overcome all of the challenges associated with Washington’s construction regulations. All construction and fabrication takes place at PCX’s facilities in North Carolina, which mitigates any worry about paying the inflated construction costs that are oftentimes associated with building projects in Washington.

Once modules are complete, they are put through rigid third-party inspections before we ship them out to Washington. Our team of experts will also help you with installation and implementation, so you can rest comfortably knowing your construction project is in good hands.

To learn more about why more and more companies are choosing to take the modular approach to construction, check out our free ebook: The State of the Construction Industry in the New Decade.

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