The Bellingham City Council has adopted the building and construction codes listed below. Adoption and amendments to the codes are located in the Bellingham Municipal Code (BMC) Chapter 17. The Construction Administrative Code set forth in BMC 17.10.020 replaces the administrative chapters of the adopted codes.
The currently effective 2015 editions of the International Codes, Uniform Plumbing Code and Washington State Energy Codes were adopted statewide as of July 1, 2016.
The currently effective 2020 editions of the National Electric Code and WAC 296-46B were adopted statewide as of October 29, 2020.
- View a printable list of current codes.
The 2018 editions of the International Codes, Uniform Plumbing Code and Washington State Energy Codes will be adopted statewide as of February 1, 2021. This was delayed from expected July 1, 2020 (and November 1, 2020) implementation date first by the Governor, and then by the State Building Code Council.
How to Access the Codes
Many of the adopted codes are available to view online. Please use the links below.
All WA State amendments to the codes are also available from the State Building Code Council in pdf version to print and insert into your own printed code books. Click here to access the code book page inserts.
- 2015 International Building Code (IBC) with WA State amendments
Note: BMC 17.10.020 Section 116 includes City of Bellingham amendments to IBC
- Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities (ICC A117.1-2009)
- 2015 International Residential Code (IRC) with WA State amendments
Note: BMC 17.10.020 Section 117 includes City of Bellingham amendments to IRC
- 2015 International Existing Building Code (IEBC) with WA State amendments
Note: IEBC – Understanding the Compliance Methods (PDF)
- 2015 International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC)
Note: BMC 17.10.020 Section 119 includes City of Bellingham amendments to IPMC
- 2015 Washington State Energy Code (WSEC) Commercial (Effective until February 1, 2021)
- 2015 Washington State Energy Code (WSEC) Residential (Effective until February 1, 2021)
- 2018 Washington State Energy Code (WSEC) Commercial (Effective on February 1, 2021)
- 2018 Washington State Energy Code (WSEC) Residential (Effective on February 1, 2021)
PLUMBING & MECHANICAL
- 2015 International Mechanical Code (IMC) with WA State amendments
- 2015 International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC) with WA State amendments
- 2015 National Fuel Gas Code (NFPA 54)
- 2011 Liquefied Petroleum Gas Code (NFPA 58)
- 2015 Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) and WA State amendments to the UPC
Note: BMC 17.10.020 Section 118 includes City of Bellingham amendments to UPC
- 2020 National Electric Code (NEC) (technical provisions) and
- Washington State WAC 296-46B (administrative provisions)
- For additional Electrical Laws & Rules information, visit WA Labor & Industries website.
- 2015 International Fire Code (IFC) with WA State amendments
- The IFC is adopted and amended by the City per regulations set forth in BMC 17.20
Recent Bellingham Municipal Code Changes – Construction and Development
- Ordinance 2011-08-048 clarifies the comprehensive plan amendment procedures, adds new docketing criteria a revises the decision criteria.
- Ordinance 2011-08-044 identifies the changes to the setback requirements for buildings, parking / loading areas; as well as the amended landscaping / screening requirements within a Residential, Planned and Industrial, Planned zones.
- Ordinance 2011-07-036 discusses which structures and architectural elements are allowed to encroach into a required yard setback, how the averaged building setback has been modified and reformats setback standards into a table format.
- Ordinance 2011-07-035 clarifies the definition of Floor Area or Space and Floor Area Ratio
- Chapter 20.25 Design Review
New Design Standards and Review Process effective November 24, 2006.
- Title 16 Environment BMC Chapter 16.50 Wetlands and Streams has been repealed and replaced by Chapter 16.55 Critical Areas effective December 6, 2005. Ordinance 2005-11-092.
- Chapter 17.90 Historic Preservation BMC 17.80 Landmark Preservation has been repealed and replaced by Chapter 17.90 Historic Preservation effective December 20, 2005. Ordinance 2005-12-094.
- Bellingham Municipal Code
- Development and Design Standards
- Neighborhood Profiles
- Northwest Energy Efficiency Council
- Whatcom County Land Use Division