Construction Codes

Current Codes

​​​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 2018 editions of the International Codes, Uniform Plumbing Code and Washington State Energy Codes were adopted statewide as of February 1, 2021.

The currently effective 2020 editions of the National Electric Code and WAC 296-46B were adopted statewide as of October 29, 2020.

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.




  • 2018 Washington State Energy Code (WSEC) Commercial
    Note: Use the “commercial” provisions for non-residential buildings and 4-story and higher multifamily buildings.
  • 2018 Washington State Energy Code (WSEC) Residential
    Note: Use the “residential” provisions for single-family homes, duplexes, and townhouses and for 1-, 2-, and 3-story multifamily buildings.




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  • Title 16 Environment BMC Chapter 16.50 Wetlands and Streams has been repealed and replaced by Chapter 16.55 Critical Areas effective December 6, 2005.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.



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