Friday, January 25, 2013

BOMA California Legislative Issues - 2013 Preview

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Although it's early in the legislative session in Sacramento, our partners at BOMA California have previewed the issues that may affect the commercial real estate industry.  Stay tuned for more information on how these measures progress over the course of 2013 through future blog posts. 

  • Homeless Bill of Rights  
    • This bill, Assembly Bill 5, would protect homeless people and give them certain rights to access and occupy public areas.
  • Parcel Taxes
    • Several bills have already been introduced to lower the vote threshold needed to pass parcel taxes to 55% or lower.
  • Parcel Tax Application
    • A push is on the Legislature to allow different property types to be assessed different parcel taxes.  This could create a de facto split roll property tax by allowing residential parcels to be kept low (assessing per parcel) while hitting commercial property (e.g., assessing per square foot).
  • Split Roll Property Tax
    • Several legislators and advocacy groups are pushing for an outright split roll property tax.
  • Greenhouse Gas/Energy Legislation
    • Expect another busy session with bills aimed as ratcheting down greenhouse gas emissions and energy policy.
  • Water Efficiency Bill
    •  BOMA is considering moving forward with a bill to amend the state’s existing water efficiency law that is causing problems with retrofitting toilets in high rise buildings.

Code-Related Issues for the Next 2-3 Years

  • Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)/Air Filtration
    • There needs to be a requirement for all filters to have the minimum efficiency reporting valu, or MERV, specified on the product.
    • While IAQ has been the focus of intensive research for decades, the emergence of “green building” has once again prompted increased focus on IAQ via HVAC filters with higher MERV ratings without consideration for impact on corresponding fan power. 
  • Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
    • Construction specifications/guidance needs to be provided to help with the myriad of installation issues that will arise in commercial occupancy retrofit jobs (including electrical code, locational and utility-impact issues).  Lots of trial and error going on right now, especially in California. 
  • Solar Photovoltaic Energy Systems
    • A host of fire safety issues need to be resolved (including minimum clear-space specifications allowing for fire service access during emergencies).   Once again, California is working on this, but there is lack of uniformity within local jurisdiction application/enforcement. 
  • Building Commissioning
    • Industry needs access to a reasonable (and verified) building commissioning guidance program.  There is a lot of trial and error going on in the field these days and the need for uniform and accepted practices/program needs to be established.
  • Disabled Accessibility
    • It would be useful to have access to a listing of the most common ADA violations for  existing buildings and new construction.
  • Green Building Code
    • Continue moving forward with mandatory statewide Green Building Code (CalGreen) work.
  • Mandatory Benchmarking
    • Work with industry to implement CA Mandatory Benchmarking regulations.
  • Water Savings Devices  
    • California has a law to require that all buildings must meet certain standards for water saving devices must be implemented and written into building code language.  Issues relating to high rise buildings have emerged that must be fixed.  Lower flow toilets in many older Class A office buildings are unable to meet flow requirements.
  • Zero Net Energy
    • Many issues related to reaching the state’s Zero Net Energy goals remain to be worked out, from strategic issue to how to implement it in code.  Envelope vs. Plug-Load is a huge issue that needs to be resolved.

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