New California Law Roundup

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The State of California is known for many great things, including sunny weather, proximity to the ocean, an incredibly robust economy, technological innovation, leadership in sustainability initiatives, and some of the best real estate on the planet. For better or for worse, our great state also has the reputation for being one of the most litigious, as well as one of the most legislated, in the entire country.

True to form, 2017 proved to be as ambitious as any other recent year for new legislation in the Golden State. So, it should come as no surprise that there are hundreds of new laws going into effect in 2018.

Here are a few of the more notable laws that are likely to impact those of us making our living in the real estate development, design and construction industries:

AB 1701—A lot has been written about this bill already, and for good reason. According to Construction Dive, AB 1701 makes “general contractors, referred to in the bill as direct contractors, responsible for any employee wage or benefit payments their subcontractors fail to make under contracts entered into after the regulation’s effective date.”

AB 291—The Immigrant Tenant Protection Act of 2017 was enacted “to establish various protections and safeguards against the unauthorized disclosure of tenants’ immigration or citizenship status to federal immigration authorities or other parties, as well as potential harassment, retaliation, or discrimination against tenants based on their immigration or citizenship status, or perceived immigration or citizenship status.”

AB 1278—Modifies the Business & Professions Code, which prohibits the qualifying licensee for a contractor from serving as a qualifying person for another entity in the event of an unsatisfied judgment.

AB 1671—Directs the state water authority to adopt standards for backflow protection and cross-connection control.

AB 1223—Requires that state agencies post records of progress payments made against construction contracts within 10 days of payment.

AB 733—Authorizes financing of projects undertaken by cities or counties to “adapt to the impacts of climate change.”

SB 442—Modifies existing laws pertaining to swimming pool permits and also impacts requirements of inspections of for-sale homes with swimming pools and/or spas.

SB 563—Allows for creation of incentive programs for voluntarily replacing wood-burning fireplaces in existing residential homes.

AB 1379—Modifies provisions of the state’s Certified Access Specialist (CASp) program for evaluating compliance with accessibility requirements.

AB 1070—Requires the state to create a website allowing consumers to retrieve information about complaints against solar contractors, as well as requiring certain disclosures for new solar installations.

AB 794—Establishes a goal for the state to reach a 24% recycling rate for post-consumer carpet by January 1, 2020 through the establishment of a “carpet stewardship program.”

AB 746—This law was passed in response to findings of lead at several local schools’ drinking water fountains. (My own daughter’s elementary school was one of the locations.)

AB 1424—For University of California capital improvements, this law “would prohibit a best value contractor from being prequalified or shortlisted unless the best value contractor provides an enforceable commitment to the Regents that the best value contractor and its subcontractors at every tier will use a skilled and trained workforce to perform all work on the project or contract that falls within an apprenticeable occupation in the building and construction trades.”

Housing Affordability—Numerous laws went into effect in an effort to address housing affordability.

AB 1540—Last, but certainly not least, this important law finally establishes Augustynolophus morrisi as the official state dinosaur. (I’m sure we’ve all been waiting on pins and needles for this one.)

Here’s to a successful 2018 in California and beyond.

As a construction consultant with Xpera Group, Brian L. Hill connects clients to the firm’s diverse range of experts, technical specialists, tools and other resources to solve complex building performance issues. He can be reached at

Topics: Real Estate Development, California, Construction, Construction Legal Issues, Law


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