New Building Codes Take Effect January 1, 2011

An important reminder for developers with projects planned for the near future: All permit applications submitted after December 31 will be subject to the new California Building Codes.

The updated building codes include changes associated with the new green building standards and the mandate for fire sprinkler systems in all new homes. The administrative trigger for any state or local building code is based on the permit application submittal date.

Specifically, Health & Safety Code 18938.5(a) states: "Only those building standards approved by the commission, and that are effective at the local level at the time an application for a building permit is submitted, shall apply to the plans and specifications for, and to the construction performed under, that building permit." 

The building permit application submittal date is the key point in the statute. However, it should be noted that it is entirely up to the local building department to determine what constitutes a building permit application, and this does vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

For example, many jurisdictions will allow a phased project that is already well under construction to continue to show compliance under the existing California Building Codes, providing the models have not changed from those originally approved when the project started.

Other jurisdictions may take a more aggressive interpretation. That is why developers should contact their local building department now to get a clear interpretation of how they plan to implement the new 2011 California Residential Code and California Green Building Code.

For more information on the new building codes, contact Bob Raymer at CBIA.

Photo credit: steveleenow