Monday, May 18, 2015

BOMA California Advocacy Update: Emergency Water Reduction Standards, ADA Reform & AED's in Commercial Buildings

Emergency Water-Efficient Landscaping Building Code

The California Building Standards Commission (BSC) will meet on May 29, 2015 to adopt emergency building standards to significantly reduce the amount of potable water that can be used for outside landscaping irrigation purposes.

These emergency building standards will apply to new residential and commercial building construction for which the initial permit application is submitted to the local building department on or after June 1, 2015. This emergency action was prompted by the Governor’s recent Executive Order on the drought emergency and subsequent rules issued by the State Water Resources Control Board.

Among other things, the emergency building standards will require the calculation of a water budget for the site using a modified version of the Department of Water Resources’ Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance (MWELO). This is the water budget calculation tool that has been required in most local jurisdictions for the past five years.

The modified tool results in a 20%-25% reduction in landscape water consumption.

BOMA California staff members are still seeking advice and comment from the BOMA membership on detail, we are working with the Governor and BSC and have let it be known that our industry is generally supportive of these changes.

A copy of the emergency standards can be found by Clicking here.

ADA Reform Bill Passes Two Committees

An industry supported bill that incentivizes disability access and education passed two Senate policy committees this week.

SB 251 is a balanced approach between preserving the civil rights of those who are disabled to ensure access to all public accommodations, and limiting the number of frivolous lawsuits threatened or filed against businesses that do not improve accessibility.

The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Governance and Finance Committee this week with unanimous support.

SB 251 seeks to incentivize businesses to proactively take steps to become accessible by providing them with 90 days from receiving a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) report to resolve any violations identified without being subject to statutory penalties or litigation costs. This proposal will assist businesses that are trying to ensure they are compliant with the law from being subject to frivolous claims or litigation.

SB 251 also provides a limited time period for businesses to resolve minor, technical construction-related standards that do not actually impede access to the public accommodation. Specifically, SB 251 provides businesses with 15 days from the service of the summons and complaint to resolve any alleged violation regarding signage, parking lot striping, and truncated domes.

This limited period will provide a business owner the opportunity to devote financial resources to resolving these minor issues before being subjected to statutory penalties and attorney fees.

Click here to read an analysis of the bill.

BOMA California is part of a coalition working to move this bill forward.

AED Bills Move Forward

Two bills in the California State Legislature addressing the issue of Automated External Defibrillators (AED) in commercial buildings passed the Senate Judiciary Committee this week and will head to the Senate Floor.

SB 658 Hill – Addresses onerous training requirements. BOMA California testified in support of this bill which is intended to reform requirements that need to be met in order to for a property owner to receive limited liability protections under the law. BOMA members feel this is a priority as it is the main reason that AEDs are not more widespread.

SB 287 Hueso – Mandates installations in new buildings with 200+ occupancy. BOMA California testified in opposition to this bill for a number of reasons, but most importantly we do not believe the state should mandate these devices when it knows that property owners currently cannot comply with many of the issues addressed in AB 658.

This bill passed committee with the minimum number of votes needed, 4-2. Both Republicans on the committee opposed the measure and one Democrat chose not to vote.

We will continue to work with both authors and hope that we can work out some of the technical issues related to building occupancy related to SB 287.

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