Washington state building codes to protect structures from wildfire provoke controversy

By Peter Fabris
Building Design + Construction
November 10, 2023
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

New building codes in Washington state intended to protect structures from wildfires are provoking backlash from builders, cities, and environmentalists. Critics charge that the rules that are scheduled to take effect March 15 are confusing, will increase housing costs, and could cause too many trees to be cut down. The law’s guidelines apply to new construction and remodels, and require roofs, siding, decks, doors, windows, and other parts of homes to be made from fire-resistant material. The law also requires “defensible space” between a structure and the surrounding vegetation… ranging from 30 to 100 feet. Trees planted in the defensible zone must be at least 10 feet apart and 10 feet away from structures. …A building industry group estimated the new rules would add at least $4,300 to the cost of a home.

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