Weigh in: Alignment of the California Building Code

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Last July the AIACC asked its members to weigh-in on the alignment of the California Building Code and the ADA.

As a result of those efforts, at the July 19, 2012 California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) meeting, the Division of the State Architect (DSA) successfully secured emergency regulations which reconciled five conflicts between State and federal accessibility regulations that could not be resolved by using the more stringent of the two requirements.

Once again, the DSA needs the support of the profession as it continues to improve the access provisions of the California Building Code.

When Chet Widom, FAIA first took office as State Architect, one of the commitments he made was to align the access provisions of the California Building Code with the Federal ADA – without compromising the rights of the disabled. This alignment will bring clarity to the building code for design professionals, builders and their clients, while ensuring that the public’s right to accessible public buildings was in no way compromised.

Toward that goal, the Division of the State Architect recently submitted proposed regulatory language for accessibility to the California Building Standards Commission for incorporation into the 2013 California Building Code. The regulations proposal is currently in the public comments process and is expected to be formally approved by the Commission in January 2013. Preparation of the 2013 access standards required a comparative analysis of over 2,500 items for conformity with the federal 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act Standards and differences between existing State requirements and the 2010 ADA Standards involving. DSA worked diligently with stakeholder groups to maintain maximum accessibility for Californians while incorporating the flexibility contained in federal language.

The language under consideration can be found here under the heading Division of the State Architect – Access Compliance (DSA-AC): www.bsc.ca.gov/Home/New/Notices.aspx

The California Building Standards Code (California Code of Regulations, Title 24, Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12) is published in its entirety every three years and is applicable to all buildings for which an application for a building permit is made during the Code’s effective period. Each triennial edition of the California Building Standards Code becomes effective 180 days after its publication.

The following DSA ¬Access Compliance proposed regulations will update the California Code of Regulations, Title 24, Part 2 by:

  • Repealing DSA¬AC’s adoption of the 2009 edition International Building Code;
  • Repealing DSA¬AC’S adoption of the 2010 California Building Code, Chapter 11A ¬ Housing Accessibility, with the exception of Division IV, which will be retained;
  • Repealing DSA¬AC’s adoption of the 2010 California Building Code, Chapter 11B ¬ Accessibility to Public Buildings, Public Accommodations, Commercial Buildings and Publicly Funded Housing;
  • Repealing DSA¬AC’s adoption of the 2010 California Building Code Chapter 11C ¬ Standards for Card Readers at Gasoline Fuel Dispensing Facilities;
  • Adopting selected portions of the 2012 edition International Building Code (2012 IBC) published by the International Code Council;
  • Adopting those portions of the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design (2010 ADAS) federal regulations, as adopted by the U.S. Department of Justice and known as the 2010 Standards for Title II and Title III Facilities: 2004 Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (2010 ADAS/2004 ADAAG), as the model code for the accessibility provisions of the 2013 California Building Code Chapter 11B Accessibility to Public Buildings, Public Accommodations, Commercial Buildings and Public Housing;
  • Amending the selected portions of the IBC and the 2010 ADAS/2004 ADAAG with provisions from the 2010 Standards for State and Local Government Facilities: Title II regulations at 28 CFR part 35.151 (Title II Regulations), as adopted by the U.S. Department of Justice;
  • Amending the selected portions of the IBC and the 2010 ADAS/2004 ADAAG with provisions from the 2010 Standards for Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities: Title III regulations at 28 CFR part 36, subpart D (Title III Regulations), as adopted by the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • Amending the selected portions of the IBC and the 2010 ADAS/2004 ADAAG with provisions equivalent to those from the 2010 California Building Code Chapters 11A, 11B and 11C that provide greater accessibility: and
  • Amending selected portions of the IBC and the 2010 ADAS/2004 ADAAG to implement California state statutory mandates. DSA proposes these actions to comply with state law requiring state agencies to propose adoption of the latest edition model codes within one year of their publication date.

The AIACC is supporting these code change proposals and in addition requests its members also send letters of support for the changes to the Commission. A template support letter to the Commission has been provided for you convenience.

Letter should be addressed to Secretary Anna Caballero, Chair of the CBSC, and sent to the following:

Jim McGowan, Executive Director
Building Standards Commission
2525 Natomas Park Drive, Suite 130
Sacramento, CA 95833
Jim.mcgowan@dgs.ca.gov

The public comment period began October 26, 2012 and will end on December 10, 2012. The Building Standards Commission is scheduled to consider and hopefully approve the accessibility code update package on January 9 – 10, 2013. There is still time you to respond and show your support through comments to the Commission. Click here to download sample letter.

Thank you.

Kurt T. Cooknick, Assoc. AIA
AIACC Director of Regulation and Practice

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Kurt Cooknick, Assoc. AIA

Kurt T. Cooknick, Assoc. AIA, is the Director of Regulation and Practice. With experience in the profession and over 15 years as an advocate on behalf of the architectural profession in California, he is passionate about protecting and advancing the profession.

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