​Photo by Tom Russo image

​Photo by Tom Russo

Construction Codes

The building and construction codes effective within the City of Bellingham include the International Codes, Washington State Amendments and Washington Administrative Code (WAC), all as adopted 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 2015 editions of the International Codes were adopted statewide as of July 1, 2016.

Many of the adopted codes are available to view online by their publishers. Please use the links below.

The above codes are adopted and amended by the City per regulations set forth in BMC 17.10, including the City's Construction Administrative Code which replaces the administrative chapters of the above adopted codes.

The IFC is adopted and amended by the City per regulations set forth in BMC 17.20.

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 those code book page inserts.

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  • Title 16 Environment BMC Chapter 16.50 Wetlands and Streams has been repealed and replaced by Chapter 16.55 Critical Areas effective December 6, 2005.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  • Chapter 17.90 Historic Preservation (PDF) BMC 17.80 Landmark Preservation has been repealed and replaced by Chapter 17.90 Historic Preservation effective December 20, 2005. Ordinance 2005-12-094.