Thursday, May 28, 2015

Plumbing fixture retrofit mandate in California

For those of us (everyone?) who failed to study the 2013 California Title 24 codes prior to their implementation in 2014, more and more of the changes wrought are showing up in building permit plan reviewers' comments. Some of these changes have also found their way into the state Civil Code, which can require actions not tied to building permit applications. One set of such changes is found in Section 1101, relating to mandates to upgrade existing building plumbing fixtures. 

There are two implementation dates, one past and one still in the future. Since January 1, 2014, approval of any kind of building permit on a single-family residence required upgrading all plumbing fixtures in the house to meet current low-water-use standards. This permit-approval-based whole-house retrofit requirement is similar to what we've seen for a number of years with smoke alarms.

The future important date, however, applies to existing multifamily and commercial properties and is not triggered by building permit applications. On January 1, 2019, all multifamily and commercial properties are supposed to have completed low-water-use retrofits throughout their buildings. For a large apartment complex, that's a lot of plumbing fixtures!

One odd feature of these new rules is that they only apply to buildings built before 1994. Presumably, an earlier low-water-use standard toof effect that year (not verified), so building projects after that date would already have such fixtures. Follow the link here to read Section 1101 for yourself.