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.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

UPDATE: Disability Access (ADA) Improvements for Small Businesses and Landlord Obligations

BOMA San Francisco Members:

UPDATE - January 24, 2013

Effective January 1, 2013, commercial property landlords have the obligation of making disability access improvements and providing required notifications when entering into or amending a lease of a property up to 5,000 square feet of space. Effective June 1, 2013, the requirement is expanded to properties up to 7,500 square feet of space.

The landlord can fulfill the access improvement obligation by:
  • Making existing public restroom, ground floor entrances and ground floor exits accessible by removing all architectural barriers to disability access, to the extent the improvements are required by and 'readily achievable' within the meaning of any applicable provisions of Title 28, Section 36.304 and 36.305, of the Code of Federal Regulations; 
  • OR providing a written notice to any prospective tenant that the property may not meet all applicable construction-related accessible standards. 
In either case, before entering into or amending a commercial lease, the landlord is also required to provide a written Disability Access Obligations Notice, which has established language the landlord must use. In addition, the landlord must provide an Accessible Information Notice obtained through the Office of Small Business.

Click here for full details of the law.


At the head of the table (L to R): Regina Dick-Endrizzi and David Chiu 

UPDATE - February 15, 2012

Supervisor David Chiu agreed to meet with BOMA San Francisco leaders and members of the San Francisco Business Community recently to discuss his Disability Access Improvements for Small Businesses and Landlord Obligations legislation.  Also attending to provide her perspective was Regina Dick-Endrizzi, Executive Director of the San Francisco Office of Small Business.

It was a fruitful discussion and one that helped all stakeholders understand the intent of the legislation and possible amendments that would make it more effective.

BOMA San Francisco members suggested that the legislation be amended to, at a minimum and among other issues discussed, reflect the following:
  • Education 
    • Commercial property owners would provide an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) disclosure to tenants/potential tenants to help educate them on the requirements of the ADA.
  • Compliance 
    • Allow a commercial property owner/tenant the time to correct ground floor entrance(s) and exit(s) to ADA specific requirements in a tenant space within a reasonable time frame.  That is, set a due date for absolute compliance sometime in the future (e.g., 5-10 years) with a requirement to update the ground floor entrance(s) and exit(s) before the due date if new tenant occupies the space.
  • Lease Negotiation Process
    • Commercial property owners need to have the ability to negotiate the costs associated with any tenant improvement with the tenant.  This includes any costs associated with ADA compliance for ground floor tenant space entrance(s) and exit(s).
More information to follow in a future blog post - stay tuned!


Original Post - January 20, 2012

Please take a moment to review an ordinance recently submitted by Supervisor David Chiu - Disability Access Improvements for Small Businesses and Landlord Obligations.  BOMA San Francisco Codes and Regulations Committee members and Advocacy team have been meeting with the Supervisor and his staff to understand its potential impact on the aggregate commercial real estate industry.  We'd like to thank Supervisor Chiu for his early outreach to BOMA San Francisco to enlist our feedback.

The Disability Access legislation would mandate commercial property owners make their first floor entrances handicap accessible before they could lease/release their, usually, first-floor retail spaces to tenants. It places the burden of non-compliant entrances squarely on the landlord. If signed into law, this ordinance will have a particularly large impact on small commercial property owners in San Francisco.

This is where your assistance is needed.  Please review the ordinance by clicking here and the legislative digest, here.  Please send your feedback to Ken Cleaveland at and John Bozeman at

We Need Your Feedback - Planning Code Amendments for Bicycle Parking

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Your BOMA San Francisco Advocacy team has been working with our partners at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) and the San Francisco Planning Department on an ordinance that will affect the way all property owners - including the City and County of San Francisco - administer bicycle parking on and adjacent to their premises.  This new proposal includes the Tenant Bicycle Access in Existing Commercial Buildings law that our members worked on with the SFBC in 2011 and was signed into law in 2012.

The aim of this new measure is to streamline all references to bicycle parking and to provide for new requirements in the San Francisco Planning and Environment Codes.  The catalyst for these updates is the San Francisco Bicycle Plan adopted in 2009.  Please note that the Planning Department is still working on amending the proposal language to reflect stakeholder issues, including BOMA San Francisco's concerns mentioned below.  Please contact with any questions when you review the available proposal dated December 13, 2012.

About the San Francisco Bike Plan

The San Francisco Bike Plan set as one of its major goals to ‘ensure plentiful, high quality bike parking’ in San Francisco. In order to achieve this goal, this Plan asks that the existing Planning Code be amended to better address bicycle parking. The plan identifies changes that would expand and increase these requirements and also organize and consolidate the existing Code sections. The proposed legislation would help implement many of these actions specified in the adopted San Francisco Bike Plan.

Potential BOMA Member Issues - Your Feedback Is Requested

The new measure will target primarily new construction projects and existing buildings where building alterations increase the gross square footage of a structure by 20% or more.  There are a few issues that will affect a BOMA members' ability to facilitate bicycle parking in an existing building going forward.   Any feedback on the following is appreciated.  Please send to

Bike Parking Facilities (Bike Rooms) - Grace Period Until August 2013

The aforementioned 2012 Tenant Bicycle Access in Existing Commercial Buildings law requires that commercial building owners allow bicycles to be brought into the tenant space/or into a bike room on site for tenant employees only.

If a BOMA member has elected to allow tenants to park their bicycles in a bike room and they have not built it by August 2013, they will have until that time to do so under the current Planning/Environment Code.  After August 2013, they will be subject to the new bicycle parking requirements including: new parking design standards, number of parking spaces based on square footage, path of travel (e.g., no stair or escalators may used to access parking) and parking facility location requirements that are included in the 2013 bike parking proposal.

 - Charging a Reasonable Fee for Bike Parking Facilities

If you charge a reasonable fee for use of your building's bicycle facilities, you'll need to provide the bike parking facility at no charge if you build it after August 2013.

 - Existing Bike Parking Facilities 

According to the Planning Department, if a property owner has an existing bike parking facility on site that meets the current code, they do not have to meet the new requirements (after August 2013) unless they have building alterations that increase the gross square footage of the structure by 20% or more.

- Allowing Full Tenant Employee Bicycle Access

If a property owner or manager allows all tenant employees bicycle access into the building without restriction, they are not impacted by the new proposal.

We'll update this post once we receive the next draft of the proposal outlining these changes.  Please email with any questions you may have.

BOMA Bay Area EARTH Awards Workshop - January 28, 2013

BOMA San Francisco and East Bay Members:

An interactive BOMA Bay Area EARTH Award workshop will be presented by the BOMA San Francisco Energy & Environment Committee to guide building owners and managers through the EARTH Awards application process.  If you have never submitted an Earth Awards application, or don’t think your property will qualify, bring your questions and doubts to the experts.

The free workshop will be at held at the Ferry Building Port Commission Hearing Room, 2nd Floor from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m on January 28, 2013.  BOMA San Francisco and Oakland/East Bay members may stop by at any point during this time frame.

The workshop will have a panel of experts from each EARTH Award category to review the application and answer your questions.  Panelists are from various organizations and vendors working together to promote sustainable practices, provide resources and promote practices that will guide the commercial real estate industry and answer questions regarding the EARTH Awards application.

The panel will also be reviewing the new Innovation Questionnaire.  The Questionnaire, an optional addendum, is a separate recognition opportunity for applicants that can be completed with or without the BOMA Bay Area EARTH Award Application.

Questions?  Please contact Zach Brown, BOMA Bay Area EARTH Awards Chair at  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

San Francisco Small Business Network - 2013 Small Business Recognition Award

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Please save the date for the San Francisco Small Business Network's (SFSBN) Awards Gala on May 9, 2013.  The Gala will highlight the winners of the SFSBN awards so nominate a small business owner you know today!

To do so, please complete the nomination form and return it to the SFSBN by March, 15, 2013 at 305 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 or fax to 415-661-5902 or scan and email to

Candidates must own and operate a small business in San Francisco in one of the following categories:

  • Small Business Owner of the Year – fewer than 25 employees
  • Small Business Owner of the Year – 25 or more employees
  • Small Business Advocate – Individual
  • Small Business Advocate – Organization
  • Certified Green Business of the Year
  • Small Business Technology Awar

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Reminder: SFMTA Sunday Parking Meter Enforcement began January 6

BOMA San Francisco Members:

An important change took place in the City on January 6th: meters now operate on Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. throughout San Francisco, except at Fisherman’s Wharf and the Port of San Francisco. Meters at Fisherman’s Wharf will continue to operate Monday to Sunday, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Meters within the Port of San Francisco jurisdiction (along the waterfront and some side streets) will continue to operate from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Monday through Sunday. All meters citywide, including the Wharf and the Port, will have at least four hour time limits on Sunday, and all remaining one hour time limits at meters Monday through Saturday have been extended to two hours, further improving consistency at meters and driver convenience. For more details, please visit Sunday Parking Meters FAQ

Parking Control Officers began issuing reminders last Sunday and will continue to issue reminders, not citations, on cars at expired meters through the grace period. Meters allow pre-payment, meaning those who park before noon can pay the meter and not be charged until noon when meters are enforced. For example, if you park at 10:00 a.m. and need to stay until 2:00 p.m., you can pay at 10:00 a.m. for two hours or parking to cover noon to 2:00 p.m. Prepayment is available at 4:30 a.m. at all SFMTA meters every day of the week.

BOMA Bay Area EARTH Awards Workshop - January 28, 2013

BOMA San Francisco and East Bay Members:

An interactive BOMA Bay Area EARTH Award workshop will be presented by the BOMA San Francisco Energy & Environment Committee to guide building owners and managers through the EARTH Awards application process.  If you have never submitted an Earth Awards application, or don’t think your property will qualify, bring your questions and doubts to the experts.

The free workshop will be at held at the Ferry Building Port Commission Hearing Room, 2nd Floor from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m on January 28, 2013.  BOMA San Francisco and Oakland/East Bay members may stop by at any point during this time frame.

The workshop will have a panel of experts from each EARTH Award category to review the application and answer your questions.  Panelists are from various organizations and vendors working together to promote sustainable practices, provide resources and promote practices that will guide the commercial real estate industry and answer questions regarding the EARTH Awards application.

The panel will also be reviewing the new Innovation Questionnaire.  The Questionnaire, an optional addendum, is a separate recognition opportunity for applicants that can be completed with or without the BOMA Bay Area EARTH Award Application.

Questions?  Please contact Zach Brown, BOMA Bay Area EARTH Awards Chair at  

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

BOMA Bay Area EARTH Awards – What’s New for 2013? Applications Due February 8, 2013

By Zachary Brown, Chair of the BOMA Bay Area EARTH Awards Program

BOMA San Francisco Members:

The greatest edition of the BOMA Bay Area EARTH Awards application is now available on the BOMA San Francisco website.  The application, now in its seventh year, raises the bar on what defines sustainable Bay Area commercial real estate.

With over 60 active principal and associate members, the BOMA San Francisco Energy & Environment Committee lends its expertise annually to update the EARTH Award application to represent the newest and best practices in waste diversion, energy conservation, responsible purchasing, indoor environmental quality, alternative transportation, and tenant education.  This year, the Energy & Environment Committee made many notable changes to improve upon the 2012 EARTH Award program.  For example, the size categories have been updated to make them more consistent and competitive for applicants.

New for 2013 – Innovation Questionnaire

In addition to the application improvements, the Committee has drafted a new, separate Innovation Questionnaire. The Questionnaire, an optional addendum, is a separate recognition opportunity for applicants that can be completed with or without the 2013 EARTH Award Application.

The Innovation Questionnaire can be submitted by any BOMA member building regardless of obstacles or preclusions to enter the competition as an applicant. The Innovations Questionnaire addresses the issue of commercial property owners and managers that may not qualify for the auditing stage of the application process but have had an operational innovation or unique physical retrofit worth the attention of the greater BOMA membership.

Prior to the 2013 application, an interesting innovation would have been overlooked by the EARTH Awards auditors when evaluating the top-performing applicants. The 2013 Innovation Questionnaire addresses this issue by highlighting a specific 2012 innovation to be featured in the 2013 EARTH Award ceremony and associated BOMA San Francisco and Oakland/East Bay publications and marketing.

Moreover, regardless of how many points scored on the EARTH Award application, every unique operational program or retrofit can be submitted in the Innovations Questionnaire. Innovations will be considered and recognized for their own unique contribution to the Bay Area’s Sustainable Real Estate Industry. Also, for those high-performing buildings that may score well on the application, it behooves property owners and managers to submit at least one unique project using the Questionnaire as it will add a point to the total application tally.

If you are a BOMA member building, you should apply for the EARTH Award! Why?
  • The application has evolved since 2012 and features new and revised questions
  • This is a peer to peer competition; each year the field of competition changes 
  • For 2013, unique innovations will be recognized separately from the application and judged upon their own merit 
  • The BOMA Bay Area EARTH Award is the ONLY building competition celebrating the consummate in green and sustainable buildings 
Unsure if you have a unique innovation for the Questionnaire?  You probably have had at least one innovative project in 2012. 

Examples include:
  • Incorporated new, state of the art technology to an existing building system 
  • Used rebates and/or incentives to retrofit old equipment with high-efficiency units 
  • Found a unique path to achieve a LEED credit to certify or re-certify 
  • Collaborated on a sustainability program with a tenant 
  • Addressed a unique building feature or system with a equally unique solution and/or retrofit 
  • You can find more examples of innovations at the BOMA San Francisco Advocacy blog
Applications are due Friday, February 8, 2013. The EARTH Awards ceremony will be on May 16, 2013 at the Intercontinental Hotel, a certified LEED Gold facility. If you have any questions about the EARTH Award application please direct them to the BOMA SF Energy & Environment Committee.

Monday, January 7, 2013

FREE Energy Efficiency Training for Manufacturing Facilities and Commercial Buildings

BOMA San Francisco Members:

The United States Department of Energy has developed a method for the calibration of buildings in order to improve their energy efficiency.  Previous studies on large scale commercial buildings have demonstrated energy savings of between 5% and 25% when this method is used by building operators/managers.

The Corporation for Manufacturing Excellence (Manex), Energy Commercialization, Laney College, and Stationary Engineers Local 39 have teamed to train building operators on this methodology. The program is a joint effort of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Energy.  Pacific Gas & Electric is one of the advisors to the program. Manufacturing facilities and commercial buildings are eligible to enroll their building/operating maintenance personnel in this training at no cost.

The program is designed for organizations with or without existing energy efficiency efforts. 

Training Program Highlights

    • Instruction by faculty experienced in building operation and controls 
    • Flexible 40 hour training program 
    • Part of a nationwide effort to reduce energy costs for manufacturers and commercial building operators 
    • Leverages previous and existing energy efforts within your organization

To enroll or obtain additional information, please contact: or (925) 969-0553.

Friday, January 4, 2013

UPDATE: San Francisco Mobile Food Facilities Permits - Legislation Introduced to Address Current Issues

UPDATE - January 4, 2013

The San Francisco Examiner published an article today that details the ongoing stakeholder discussion regarding Mobile Food Facilities.  BOMA San Francisco members and staff have been at the table advocating for respectable concessions for our members' ground floor tenants.

If you have any questions regarding Mobile Food Facilities, please email


UPDATE - November 6, 2012

Please click on the links below review to measures that Supervisor Scott Wiener has introduced at the Board of Supervisors regarding Mobile Food Facilities.
These measures, in aggregate, will amend existing regulations for Mobile Food Facilities (MFF or food trucks) to eliminate the current 'like food' consideration for appeals to MFF permit applications.  Indeed, it's the only consideration for a permit appeal at present - i.e., a food truck selling like food that is similar to an adjacent brick and mortar establishment.  The ordinance will also specify distances between trucks, the parking duration and add significant areas throughout San Francisco for MFF operators to sell food. 

Your BOMA San Francisco Advocacy team urges you to review these documents and critique them for content and effectiveness.  Send your comments to and  The measure will be sent to the Board of Supervisors' Land Use and Economic Development Committee for a minimum of 30 days before being further considered or amended.
Original Post - May 21, 2012

Click here to go to an interactive real-time map of approved and requested Moblie Food Permits 

BOMA San Francisco Members:

NOTE - the San Francisco Department of Public Works (SFDPW) has been updating interested parties regarding approved and requested (i.e., Notices of Intent) Mobile Food Facilities permits.  Please bookmark the following webpage and continue to review it for updated information on the status of requested permits near your property:

Notices of Intent (NOI) detail locations, hours of operation, and menus for a proposed Mobile Food Facility permit.  In addition to the interactive map, you can also download a list of NOI Mobile Food Facility permits by visiting the SFDPW webpage and clicking on NOI - Status.

Your BOMA San Francisco Advocacy team is continuing to work tenaciously with BOMA members, Supervisor Scott Wiener and his staff and the SFDPW staff to assuage the various issues that BOMA members have had with regard to the proliferation of Mobile Food Facilities in the Financial District and adjacent Districts.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email Ken Cleaveland at and John Bozeman at

Thursday, January 3, 2013

BOMA International Advocacy Update - Fiscal Cliff Averted, Energy Tax Incentives and Lead Paint Safety

BOMA Priority Issues Pass Congress as Fiscal Cliff is Avoided

Congress passed legislation to address the looming tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to go into effect starting in 2013. On New Year’s Day, the American Taxpayer Relief Act was passed, which, among other items, addressed two key issues for BOMA International and its members: The bill extended for 2012 and 2013 the 15–year timeline for depreciating leasehold improvements, a policy that had expired at the end of 2011; the measure also permanently enacted a 15–percent tax rate on capital gains for those individuals with taxable income below $400,000 and for couples earning under $450,000. Those with income over those levels will pay 20 percent on capital gains. The bill also raises tax rates for these higher income earners from 35 to 39.6 percent, but keeps the lower President George W. Bush–era rates for all others.

Other notable elements of the bill include a permanent patch to the alternative minimum tax (AMT), a permanent extension of the estate tax exemption amount at current levels and a two–month delay of the automatic spending cuts enacted in 2011 known as sequestration. Congress failed to include an extension of the payroll tax holiday, which was in effect the past two years.

Senate Holds Hearing on Energy Tax Incentives

On December 12, the Senate heard testimony on tax proposals to promote energy efficiency. Legislation to extend and improve the 179D tax provision for energy efficient retrofits was one of the bills discussed. The measure would increase the maximum available deduction for new construction from $1.80 to $3.00 per square foot, and up to $4.00 per square foot for retrofits to existing buildings. This new legislation also allows for energy savings to be calculated based on the building’s own pre–retrofit baseline instead of comparing it to a reference building that meets the ASHRAE 90.1 Standard.

Despite the fact that the committee held the hearing during the 112th Session of Congress, it was largely a placeholder for the 113th Session and legislation will need to be reintroduced. Unfortunately, the bill’s two main co–sponsors, Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D–N.M.) and Olympia Snow (R–Maine), have retired. BOMA and our coalition partners are actively engaged in identifying potential co–sponsors in both the Senate and the House to carry this issue forward in the 113th Session of Congress.

EPA Announces Public Hearing on Lead Paint Rulemaking

Under a settlement agreement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Sierra Club and other environmental and children’s health advocates, EPA agreed to either sign a proposed rule covering renovation, repair and painting activities in public and commercial buildings, or determine that these activities do not create lead–based paint hazards by July 1, 2015. On December 31, EPA announced its plans to hold a public meeting on the issue on July 26, 2013 and solicited public comments due April 1, 2013, as the next part of that process.

EPA is specifically looking for information concerning: the manufacture, sale and uses of lead–based paint after 1978; the use of lead–based paint in and on public and commercial buildings; the frequency and extent of renovations on public and commercial buildings; work practices used in renovation of public and commercial buildings; and dust generation and transportation from exterior and interior renovations of public and commercial buildings. BOMA plans to submit comments and more information will be forthcoming. If you or your company has any information that would assist in this process, please contact Karen Penafiel at