Photos of projects plan checked or inspected by Willdan


News for California Building Departments
Issue 13, January - March 2007

Index to all issues of The Willdan Letter

Important Dates

Jan 16,29,30 2007

Public hearings regarding the 2006 Code Adoption Cycle by the Building Standards Committee.

See agendas at the BSC’s website.

Mar 9, 2007

Effective date for the supplements to the 2004 California Electrical Code with publication date of September 11, 2006.


Mar 12-16, 2007

CALBO Annual Business Meeting at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento. The Sacramento Valley Association of Building Officials is the host chapter.

See details on CALBO’s website

Mar 16 2007

Last date to apply for the IAPMO certification examinations to be held on April 21, 2007 in Oakland, Oroville, Ontario, Sacramento and Ventura.

See IAPMO website for application details.

Mar 22, 2007

Public hearing of the Building Standards Commission

Watch for an agenda at the BSC website

What's Up With The State?

  • A supplement dated September 11, 2006 has been issued by the California Building Standards Commission (BSC) for inclusion in the 2004 California Electric Code. The supplement is the result of 2004 Code Adoption Cycle adoptions and includes several significant changes. The supplement provisions are not yet effective, however. State law requires a 180-day period between the publication date and effective date (except for emergency regulations), making the effective date 180 days following September 11, 2006, which is March 9, 2007.

  • A supplement dated October 12, 2006 has been issued by the BSC for inclusion in the 2001 California Building Code. That supplement is the result of 2004 Code Adoption Cycle adoptions and includes several significant changes, including a new Chapter 11A, Housing Accessibility. These supplements to the 2001 CBC are not yet effective, however. The BSC has issued an Errata dated December 15, 2006, adding history notations setting the publication date of the supplement as November 3, 2006 instead of October 12, 2006 as printed on the supplement cover sheet. State law requires a 180-day period between the publication date and effective date (except for emergency regulations), making the effective date May 2, 2007 .

  • The 2006 Code Adoption Cycle that proposes to adopt many 2006 model codes, including the 2006 International Building Code, is making excellent progress. The Building Standards Commission (BSC) has overseen public review periods to include hearings, received input from their Code Advisory Committees, taken hundreds of oral and written public comments, and coordinated the state adopting agency's completion of their rulemaking documents required by state law. The state adopting agencies have completed the regulatory text with several agencies making amendments due to public comment. Each such agency provided for a 15-day public comment period to allow the public an opportunity to comment on the text revisions.

  • By the close of the public hearings scheduled for January 16,29,and 30, 2007, the BSC expects to have final adoption of all proposals to include the 2006 International Building Code, 2006 Uniform Mechanical Code, 2006 Uniform Plumbing Code, 2006 International Existing Building Code, 2006 International Fire Code, and the 2005 National Electrical Code. These model codes will be the basis for the 2007 edition of the California Building Standards Code, in Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations. The next step in the process is to have a publication date, upon which the codes as adopted are available to the public. The effective date is set at least 180 days from the publication date. As currently planned, the BSC wants the publication date to be on or about July 1, 2007, with the effective date on or about January 1, 2008.

  • HCD has issued an Information Bulletin, #2006-04, dated December 8, 2006, listing 2006 legislative changes to the Health & Safety Code effecting mobilehome parks and special occupancy parks. It was mailed to each building department and is available on the HCD website page for the Division of Codes and Standards. Look for Mobilehome & Special Occupancy Parks Program, then Information Bulletins. Watch for more bulletins from HCD regarding legislation affecting other housing programs.

  • The California Energy Commission has issued Blueprint #86 (newsletter) dated December 14, 2006, regarding cool roof standards. Get a copy at the CEC's website.

2006 Legislation of Interest to Building Departments

The California Legislature will be in adjournment until January 3, 2007, when the 2007/2008 sessions will begin. It will be some weeks before any bills with possible impact on building codes or building department operations may be identified and tracked for the year. Normally a deadline for bill introduction is set in February.

The 2006 session resulted in several bills impacting building departments. Arguably the most important was Assembly Bill 2977, known as the Swimming Pool and Spa Safety Act of 2006. It amends sections 115922, 115924, and 115928 of the Health & Safety Code. In short, this bill states that on and after January 1, 2007, whenever a building permit is issued for construction of a new swimming pool or spa, or for the remodeling of an existing pool or spa, at a private single-family home, the pool or spa must be equipped with at least 1 of 7 drowning prevention safety features. Previous to this bill, the list included 5 devices and applied to new swimming pools and spas. Health & Safety Code Section 115925 provides exceptions for hot tubs or spas with specified lockable safety covers, or pools and spas subject to a local ordinance with requirements at least as restrictive as the standards established by the Health & Safety Code. The bill requires the local building department to inspect the completion of permitted construction or remodeling work to ensure that safety standards are met and that the drowning safety prevention devices are in place. To see the list of seven safety features, see AB 2977 at the legislative website or Health & Safety Code Sections 115922-115928 at the State Law website.

Other 2006 session bills of interest that are effective on January 1, 2007 include Senate Bill 1 (Chapter 132, Statutes of 2006, AB1231 (Chapter 644, Statutes of 2006), and AB1953 (Chapter 853, Statutes of 2006).

Did You Know?

Did you know the "Valuation Threshold" discussed in Section 1134B Exception #1 of the California Building Code (CBC) will be changed in January? The valuation threshold is required to be adjusted each January, and is used to determine if a project to make renovations, structural repairs, alterations and additions to an existing public building, public accommodation, public housing, or commercial facility may qualify for a reduction in the cost of providing accessibility compliance as required by CBC Chapter 11B. Under Section 1134B Exception 1, a disproportionate cost exists when the cost of bringing the project area, primary path of travel to the project area, and facilities that serve the project area such as restrooms, telephones, and drinking fountains, into compliance with CBC Chapter 11B, will exceed 20% of the construction cost for the project before considering accessibility improvements. Projects with a construction cost less than the valuation threshold may then hold the cost of providing accessibility improvements to the 20% figure. The calculation of the construction cost must include the amount spent in the prior 3 years that did not make accessibility improvements.

The valuation threshold for 2006 was $113,586.07, and will be increased according to the ENR 20 Cities Construction Cost Index for January 2007. Look for the 2007 valuation threshold to be set at about $117,000.

The best way to learn of the new 2007 valuation threshold is to watch the website of the Division of the State Architect, the author of CBC Chapter 11B. At their website, click on "Universal Design", then "Valuation Threshold for Alterations, Structural Repairs or Additions to Existing Buildings". It should be listed soon after January 1, 2007.

See Section 1134B of CBC Chapter 11B for the details and other exceptions to the basic requirement to bring existing buildings into compliance for accessibility during projects to make structural repairs, alterations and additions.


Other News

The ICC has scheduled several training seminars on the 2006 IBC between January and May, 2007 at sites in San Diego and Rancho Cucamonga. See the ICC website for course and registration information. Look for training in Region 1.

The International Association of Electrical Inspectors has partnered with Underwriters Laboratory to provide electrical training. Included in the offerings are online training courses that may be downloaded and completed at your desk, at your pace. NEC training is included. What a great way to provide for building department staff training. See details at IAEI's website or the website of Underwriters Laboratory Inc..

CALBO hosts a shared calendar listing training opportunities in California offered by the ICC, CALBO, and ICC Chapters. A chapter or organization may post training event dates and information. See Training/Shared Calendar at

The December 31, 2006 deadline for applications to take the ICC Certification transition examinations based on the California codes has been removed. The ICC offers a new certification for building inspector, plans examiner, electrical inspector, plumbing inspector, and mechanical inspector based on California Building Standards Code in Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations. To be eligible to take the 25 multiple-choice online examinations, you must hold a valid certification based on the related model code. At the ICC website look for "Certification Exams Based on the California Codes" on the "Certification" page. The fee is $50 for each examination.

Useful Websites

Current and prior year legislation

State regulations other than Title 24

State laws

Office of the State Fire Marshall

Building Standards Commission


National Fire Protection Association

Int'l Assoc of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials