DCD news: new building official, new state building codes and website updates

San Juan County’s Department of Community Development is pleased to share a series of department updates as staff continue to address issues identified at recent community meetings. DCD is committed to providing planning and permitting services in a responsive and respectful manner, and the County is grateful for those working together to improve services and systems.

New Building Official

DCD is pleased to announce Christopher Jones as the County’s new Building Official. Christopher has lived in the San Juan Islands for +20 years and has been working for the County since March 2021. His work experience has primarily been in construction trades and includes work for Puget Sound Energy as a contractor in natural gas safety management.

“Energy self-sufficient and resilient structures are the cornerstone of adaptable communities,” says Jones.

State Building Codes in Effect this October

The new Washington State Building Codes will take effect October 29, 2023. San Juan County adopts codes, as amended by the Washington State Building Code Council. One important update regards energy use. For newly constructed habitable structures, the new building and energy codes will require additional continuous insulation applied on the exterior and other measures to improve energy efficiency. Over time, this will contribute to climate resiliency, lowering energy costs for all San Juan County residents.

How to learn more about building codes

Those interested in learning more can visit the Washington State Building Code Council website at: https://www.sbcc.wa.gov/. The official announcement is found here: https://www.sbcc.wa.gov/news/council-votes-delay-effective-date-2021-code-editions-october-29-2023

Website Updates

The Community Development website remodel is underway! Staff are working diligently to update pages, links, and more to improve the user experience.

To streamline the process of applying for a building permit, the Department of Community Development has implemented the following changes to the online application:

The building submittal application (for new construction, additions, and remodels) found on the County website is no longer required. If you have prepared one, you can still submit it or any part(s) of it in the application submittals section.

The application for address review or request is no longer required as part of the building permit application. Staff have adjusted workflows to make address review part of standard building application intake.

The application for a right-of-way permit is no longer required as part of the building permit application. Staff have adjusted workflows to make right-of-way/driveway review part of standard building application intake.

Applicants no longer need to pick an application menu specific to an island. There will be only one Building Department menu to choose from.

If you have any questions about the site, please contact Erika Dickey at erikad@sanjuanco.com.