Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Message from San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Many in the San Francisco Bay Area were awakened early Sunday morning by the largest earthquake in the region since the Loma Prieta earthquake nearly 25 years ago. While thankfully, San Francisco suffered no damage, this is a good opportunity to remind ourselves that we need to be prepared before the next earthquake or emergency. Being prepared today will make our City’s recovery all the more efficient and effective, allowing us all to get back to business as usual, faster.

Let’s use this as an opportunity to educate ourselves, our friends and family, and our employees and coworkers about earthquake preparedness and why it is critical to making sure that San Francisco is a resilient City. Please visit www.sf72.org to learn how to get prepared for the next earthquake and how to connect with your community. 

I also encourage everyone who lives or works in San Francisco to take the San Francisco Fire Department’s free Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) training, and register for the City’s e-mail and text-based notification system www.AlertSF.org.

It is often said that real emergencies look more like people coming together rather than cities falling apart. That is why it is important to take steps now so we are all ready for the next emergency. Let’s not wait until the next disaster; let’s be prepared today. Thank you.


Edwin M. Lee

Free Commercial Building Energy Re-Tuning Webinar - September 2

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Property professionals are invited to attend a free webinar about building re-tuning on Tuesday, September 2, at 3:00pm Eastern. Building re-tuning is a low-cost process to identify and correct building operational problems that lead to energy waste. To expand the practice of re-tuning, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory developed a curriculum focused on re-tuning both large commercial buildings (those with a building automation system, or BAS) and small commercial properties (those without a BAS).

Hear from representatives of Parmenter Realty Partners and Towson University, participants of the DOE’s Better Buildings Challenge who have employed re-tuning training to improve building performance, and learn about opportunities to take the training through a new collaboration between BOMA and the Consortium for Building Energy Innovation.

Register for this webinar online. Please contact Scott Morris, BOMA International’s Director of State & Local Affairs, with any questions at smorris@boma.org.

Monday, August 25, 2014

UPDATE! A Call to Action: BOMA California Needs Your Assistance to Defeat AB 2416 - Unproven Wage Liens

UPDATE - August 25, 2014

BOMA San Francisco Members:

If you've had a moment to contact your local legislators to voice opposition to AB 2416, thank you.  Your efforts have been effective, i.e., slowing the progress of the measure in Sacramento and forcing it to be amended two times since our last communication.  Even with your earnest feedback to your California State Legislators, the amendments do not address the concerns as detailed in our July 29, 2014 post, below.

As such, please reach out again to your local elected officials in the California State Legislature to let them know that the recent changes to the bill do not go far enough.

AMENDMENTS:  The bill was amended recently to remove property services from the third party liability section.  However, this amendment is immaterial as (1) Section 3010 (a)(2) of the bill covers any services performed by an employee for the property owner.  While the last sentence of this section states that it does not apply to services performed for a household or residence, it will cover property services performed on a commercial or industrial building.  Additionally, as with the other third party carve outs there is no way the county recorder’s office is going to be able to make the determination  as to whether the services performed were for a household or residence when the employee files the notice.

To reiterate, this bill still allows innocent property owners to get dragged into wage disputes they have nothing to do with.

Original Post - July 29, 2014

There are currently two bills in the California State Legislature that could pull your business into disputes that do not have any association with the commercial real estate industry.  BOMA California, of which BOMA San Francisco is a member, is asking that BOMA members focus on the first of two bills, below, AB 2416,  and contact California State Legislators from your area to help deter the measure's passage.

BOMA California is also providing information on a related bill, AB 1897, also below, as a corollary; it may come up in your conversations with legislators' office staff members. 

AB 2416 (Stone; D-Scotts Valley) Unproven Wage Liens. This bill creates a precarious and unbalanced precedent in the wage and hour debate by allowing employees to file liens on an employer’s real or personal property, or property where work was performed, based upon alleged yet unproven wage claims.

AB 1897 (Hernandez; D-West Covina) Labor Contracting; Client Liability. This measure would oblige one company to essentially insure the wage and hour obligations, workers’ compensation coverage, and occupational health and safety duties of a separate employer’s employees, which will discourage the use of contractors and their employees.

Both bills will be considered when the California State Legislature returns from their recess on August 4th.  First in the California State Senate and, if both bills pass, then in the California State Assembly for concurrence.

BOMA California opposes both bills and is strongly urging all BOMA members statewide to get engaged locally on these measures.

To help you communicate with legislators, please find the following:
The first priority is to contact your State Senators and ask that they oppose AB 2416 on the Senate Floor. The second priority is to contact your State Assemblymembers and ask that they oppose AB 2416 if it moves back over to the State Assembly for concurrence.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Call to Action! BOMA International Advocacy Update - TRIA Alert & EPA Proposed Water Rule Affecting Commercial Real Estate

TRIA ALERT: Your Help Needed to Break House Impasse

The December 31 expiration date for the federal terrorism risk insurance program is fast approaching and the legislative calendar is quickly winding down. However, the U.S. House of Representatives remains at an impasse on how to proceed forward on legislation to renew the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA). This program was first enacted following 9/11 and has been instrumental in ensuring that terrorism insurance coverage is available at reasonable rates and terms.

In order to ensure that action is taken in Congress to reauthorize this critical program before it expires at the end of the year, the commercial real estate industry must keep the pressure on Representatives during their August recess. To that end, BOMA International has posted in the Legislative Action Center sample language for a letter to send to your Congressperson. Please take a few moments to write to your Representative and urge immediate action.

BOMA Submits Comments to EPA

Recently, BOMA International joined with other real estate organizations to submit comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding a proposed ruling that would set a new precedent for water regulations and could negatively affect commercial real estate. EPA’s proposed water rule would blur the definition of “Waters of the United States” as defined and regulated by the Clean Water Act. This ruling would impact municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) and stormwater runoff regulations. The coalition’s comments urge EPA to reiterate that “Waters of the United States” do not include MS4s or its components. BOMA will begin lobbying Capitol Hill offices to gain further support for the coalition’s request in the hopes that EPA can clarify or amend the proposed ruling before it is finalized.

BOMA California Advocacy Update - Water Bond Passes & Cal OSHA Skylight Fall Protection Rules

California Water Bond Passes - BOMA California Supports

Recently, the Governor signed a measure to replace the current water bond that is on the ballot, with a $7.5 billion bond. BOMA California supports this new measure and appreciates all stakeholders for coming together to make this happen.  Click here to read an op ed about the bond to learn more about the details and strategy that went into the measure. 

California needs more water infrastructure and this measure is a great first step.

Cal/OSHA and Skylight Fall-Protection Rules

In response to a petition filed by the solar industry, the California Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board (Cal/OSHA) has convened a formal advisory committee to consider if changes are warranted to California’s existing fall-protection safety standards for work around roof-top skylights.

Specifically, the solar industry is asserting that the existing safety standards are out of date and should be amended to account for the temporary nature of solar-installation work and the significant advancements in skylight construction technology. There appears to be evidence supporting a change, however, our industry will be supporting a focused fix to this issue as opposed to a complete rewrite of the entire set of fall-protection standards for work being performed near a skylight.

The California Business Properties Association and California Building Industry Association have representatives on this Advisory Committee representing the commercial and residential real estate industries.  
Please email mhargrove@cbpa.com you want more information or want to get more involved.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission - Water-Wise Tips and Rebates/Incentives

BOMA San Francisco Members:

As California experiences extreme drought conditions, your renewed conservation commitments are needed now. San Francisco businesses can help reduce water use if everyone takes a few simple steps. Develop a water conservation plan for your business using the following tips:
  • Determine how and where water is used on site - if you need assistance, the SFPUC provides free Water-Wise Evaluations.
  • Educate you tenant's employees about water conservation practices - post signage to educate employees and visitors about water conservation practices.
  • Install water-efficient fixtures such as high-efficiency toilets, urinals, and clothes washers - fixtures over 20 years old should be replaced immediately. The SFPUC provides rebates up to $500 per fixture
  • Install efficient plumbing devices such as faucet aerators, showerheads, and pre-rinse spray valves - the SFPUC provides these for FREE.
  • Avoid using water to clean sidewalks, driveways, and other surfaces – unless required for public health purposes.
  • Assess your irrigation system to identify inefficiencies such as leaks or broken sprinkler heads.
  • Limit landscape watering to no more than twice per week – adjust irrigation to avoid overspray and runoff. 
  • Provide water only upon request at restaurants – signage is available from the SFPUC.
  • Sign up for My Account - track your site's water consumption through daily meter reads to help measure water savings and quickly identify leaks.
Visit our drought resource center for a complete list of materials, signage and more to help make employees, tenants, and visitors aware of your business's conservation goals.

Commercial Rebates and Incentives: 

San Francisco Commercial Water Conservation Ordinance - Requirements for Commercial Buildings

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Working with BOMA San Francisco, the City of San Francisco enacted a Commercial Water Conservation Ordinance in 2009 that requires all commercial property owners to provide certain water conservation measures for their buildings by January 1, 2017. The intent of this law is protect natural resources, address increasing demand for water, and cut greenhouse gas emissions through reduced water use. The required improvements also will reduce water and sewer costs for commercial properties.

It is advantageous for all commercial property owners to comply with the requirements now. Even though the  statutory deadline is in 2017, the savings in water and sewer costs typically pay for themselves within one to three years.  The following information is a summary of the requirements found in Chapter 13A of the San Francisco Building Code (SFBC).

Who Must Comply?

On or before January 1, 2017, all owners of:
  • Commercial buildings;
  • Any portion of a residential building, which is used for commercial purposes;
  • Any portion of a residential building converted to a tourist hotel;
  • Any portion of a residential building which is occupied as a hotel or motel unit and which has a certificate of use for tourist occupancy;
  • Any building or portion thereof which is a live/work occupancy
  • Mobile homes.
Owner’s compliance is also required when one of the following situations occurs:
  • Building Additions
    • If a building addition will increase the floor area of the building by more than 10 percent, the entire building must comply as a condition for issuance of a Certificate of Final Completion and Occupancy.
  • Building Alterations and Improvements
    • If the cost estimated in a building permit for an alternation or improvement is greater than $150,000, compliance is required in all facilities that serve the specific area of alteration or improvement and is a condition for issuance of a Certificate of Final Completion and Occupancy or final permit sign off.
  • Alternations or Improvements to Rooms with Water Conservation Devices
    • If an alteration or improvement of any cost is located in a room that contains a faucet, shower, water closet (toilet), or urinal, compliance is required in that room as a condition for issuance of a Certificate of Final Completion and Occupancy or final permit sign off.
Please click here for more information about what the law requires.  If you have any questions, please call SFDBI's Plumbing Inspection Division at (415) 558-6570.

For more information on financing options, efficient toilet and urinal rebates, and free water-efficient device which can help achieve compliance with the water conservation ordinance, please contact the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission at (415) 551-4730 or click here.

Monday, August 4, 2014

San Francisco Fire Department Connection (FDC) Standpipe Inlet Caps

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Please note the San Francisco Fire Department information regarding standpipe inlet caps/plugs for fire department connections (FDC).  There have been many problems reported regarding the use of red plastic FDC caps. Specifically, the threads are not compatible and they break easily.  The red FDC caps are not approved for use and need to be replaced immediately.

Here is one example:

As you can see, the lug nut is broken off of this lid, making it impossible for a wrench to grab hold of the cap to open it. In addition, SFFD personnel have had experiences with this type of cover where the cap is broken off with the threaded portion still stuck inside the inlet.

Standpipe Inlet/Cap Material

ABS plastic or brass are the correct materials of the standpipe inlet caps/plugs for listed fire department connections and outlet valves for San Francisco fittings.  If the cap is made of plastic, make sure the fitting has the 3" National Standard hose threads with approved thread pitch and diameters (NFPA 1963).  The SFFD is typically is able to remove the standard 3" black schedule 40 ABS plumbing plug without a problem as the threads typically do not bind or cross thread in the FDCs. 

We Need Your Feedback! Legislation to Study/Allow San Francisco to Provide Electric Service to Private Developments

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Supervisor Scott Wiener has introduced legislation that would amend the San Francisco Administrative Code to evaluate the feasibility of the City providing electric power to private developments and projects.

Click here to read the ordinance, and here for the executive summary.

The following are a few details/concerns regarding the ordinance, in its current draft, that have been discussed with members of BOMA San Francisco's Government Affairs Policy Advisory Committee (GAPAC):
  • The City is allowed to sell power (pg. 1/lines 17-19);
  • The measure is attempting to study, and eventually allow San Francisco Public Utilities Commission power to be delivered to new City developments. (pg. 1/lines 23-25; pg. 2 lines 1-6);
  • The measure is also attempting to study and eventually allow SFPUC power to be delivered to other private projects over 10k sq/ft - this is ambiguously defined (Existing buildings?  New developments? Tenant improvements?) and needs to be clarified.  This could be an issue for BOMA members. (pg. 2/lines 6-12);
  • Why is this happening?  The SFPUC can use the additional revenue from serving electricity to new customers to address deferred maintenance of infrastructure projects.  (pg. 2/lines 21-23);
  • Requirement to Study Feasibility (pg. 3).  What does 'certain other private projects seeking City approvals' mean (pg. 3/lines 5-6)?  Also, (lines 7-10) who pays for the study?   
If you have any feedback, please send it to johnb@boma.com and kenc@boma.com.  A meeting with Supervisor Wiener and our members has taken place recently; the next discussion will be with San Francisco Public Utilities Commission officials.