In This Issue:

Final Report on 2011 Legislation

Code Adoption Cycles:
one ends, another starts

New State Architect

New Requirements for Theater Seating

Important Dates

January 1, 2012: Provisions of legislative bills passed during the 2011 portion of the 2010/2011 legislative session became effective unless bill language specified a different effective date. See our Legislative update herein.

January 18, 2012: California Building Standards Commission Hearing. An agenda will be available on the CBSC website. This meeting may be webcast here.

February 14-17, 2012: CALBO Annual Business Meeting in Universal City. Find details at

Other News & Things to Remember

Need help with housing accessibility codes? These two documents may help:

1. Order CALBO's Study Guide to California's Regulations for Accessibil­ity in Multifamily Dwell­ings and Publicly Funded Housing from their store.

2. Print a free checklist from the Department of Housing and Community Development, Division of Codes and Standards, available here.

These are good reference documents!

Watch for the Division of the State Architect to post the 2012 Construction Cost Threshold Value on this page. This value is necessary when applying California Building Code Section 1134B.2.1, Exception 1, in regard to accessibility improvements while performing struc­tur­al repairs, alterations and renovations to existing buildings. The value must be adjusted each January. The 2011 valuation was $132,536.28.

The Building Standards Commission has redesigned its website. The information is now better organized and is available through pull-down menus. Check it out.

The Willdan Letter is Now Completely Green!

treeOur October-December 2011 issue was the last paper issue to be mailed. We advised of the need to sign up for our free email notice for future issues of The Willdan Letter. If you know of anyone who wishes to read our quarterly newsletter, you may want to forward them this edition. Sign up on-line or . We won't share your information or use it for any other purpose.

Legislation of Interest to Building Departments

The 2011 portion of the 2011-2012 legislative session is history. Bills that passed and were signed by the Governor became effective on January 1, 2012, unless a bill specified an earlier or later effective date. As for bills impacting local building departments, the 2011 year was a light year. Below are two bills of interest to building departments.

AB 849: This bill amends Health and Safety Code to allow local government to establish more restrictive building standards for graywater systems than those standards developed by the Department of Housing and Community Development.

AB 930: This bill amended the Health and Safety Code to require that at least one of the commissioners of the California Building Standards Commission be experienced in sustainable building design, construction and operation.

There were several other bills tracked during the past year and listed in this newsletter. Some were vetoed by the Governor and others were held in committees. The 2012 portion of the 2012/2013 Legislative Session began on January 3, 2012, in the Senate, and January 4, 2012, in the Assembly. The last date to introduce a bill is February 18, 2012, in the Senate and February 24, 2012, in the Assembly. In our next issue of this newsletter, we will identify any legislative proposals with impact on local building departments and codes.

The Building Standards Commission has summarized 2011 legislation in Building Standards Bulletin #11-06, dated December 26, 2011. Find it on the CBSC Bulletins page.

Find all legislative bills.


Did You KnowDid You Know?
New Requirements for Theater Seating

AccessibliityDid you know that 1% of all fixed seats in a theater must be accessible aisle seats? Sure you did, because that is the requirement of Section 1104B.3.4 of Chapter 11B in the 2010 California Building Code (Part 2, Volume 1, of Title 24, California Code of Regulations). Accessible aisle seats are not to have armrests on the aisle side, unless the armrest is removable or may be folded away. The seats must be identified by the International Symbol of Accessibility.

However, the provisions to Section 1104B.3.4 are being relocated to Section 1104B.3.9, with amendments needed to bring these California building standards into compliance with federal accessibility standards. Other section renumbering is made necessary by this change.

accessible seatsThe purpose of relocating the code language regarding aisle seats was to improve code clarity by separating the code language regarding accessible aisle seats from that regarding wheelchair spaces. The code changes are:

- The required accessible aisle seats will become known as "designated aisle seats".
- The required number of designated aisle seats increased from 1% of the total fixed seats to 5% of the total fixed seats.
- Designated aisle seats shall be located closest to accessible routes.

These code changes were proposed by the Division of the State Architect during the 2010 Code Adoption Cycle that recently concluded. The adopted provisions of Section 1104B.3.9 will be effective on July 1, 2012. There are other important amendments to Chapter 11B that warrant our attention before the July 1 effective date. Find the new requirements in the blue colored Supplements dated July 1, 2012, now available. If you submitted the registration card at the time you purchased your California Building Code, the Supplement will arrive by mail. Otherwise, you can download the Supplements from the International Code Council.

Useful Websites

State Fire Marshal
California Legislature
Department of Housing and Community Development
California Energy Commission
California Building Standards Commission
U.S. Green Building Council
Environmental Building News
Global Green USA
Office of Administrative Law

CSU Sonoma La Mirada sheriff station San Luis Obispo Government Ctr St Joseph Hospital
Projects plan-checked or reviewed by Willdan
State Capitol

What's Up with the State?

Mr. Michael Nearman has been appointed Deputy Executive Director of the California Building Standards Commission to assist Jim McGowan, Executive Director. Michael has been heavily involved with the activities of the Commission over the past 11 years, especially the code adoption cycles. Prior to joining the Commission as an Associate Architect in 2000, Michael worked for several design firms developing building plans and specifications.

The 2010 Code Adoption Cycle is now complete, and all adopted proposals were published as of January 1, 2012. Supplements to the various Parts of Title 24 are now available from the code publishers (ICC, IAMPO, and BNi). If you completed and submitted the registration card provided with each purchased Part of Title 24, you should receive the blue colored Supplements by mail. The adopted code revisions and additions will be effective and enforceable on July 1, 2012.

One proposal during the 2010 Code Adoption Cycle was not adopted but is still active: a Department of Public Health (DPH) proposal regarding public swimming pools. The proposed code text is still avail­able at the Building Standards Commission website, and was open for public comment until December 20, 2011. This matter may be on the agenda for the next Commission meeting January 18, 2012.

The Building Standards Commission has begun the process for the 2012 Triennial Code Adoption Cycle. This cycle will seek to adopt the 2012 editions of the International Building, Residential, Fire, and Existing Building Codes, 2012 editions of the Uniform Plumbing and Mechanical Codes, and the 2011 edition of the National Electrical Code. The first public activity will begin on July 1, 2012. A timeline of events is available at the CBSC website under the "Codes" tab.

New State Architect
Chester "Chet" Widom has been appointed by Governor Brown to serve as California’s State Architect, to oversee the Division of the State Architect within the Department of General Services. Mr. Widom is an architect with a background in building design and public school building projects. Find out more from the official announcement.