Code Advocacy

Starting in 2019 AIA CA began focused efforts in changing building codes in support of our commitments to climate action.  Code change is a long process, that involves lots of time and effort.  Our first major ‘code win’ occurred in June 2023 with the California Building Standards Commission vote to approve adding Chapters 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 13 of the International Existing Building Code (IEBC) to California’s Title 24 Part 10 Existing Building Code (CEBC).  When this mid-cycle update is effective July 2024, design professionals will have significant new tools for their optional use in navigating approvals for conversion of commercial buildings to residential, as well as a wide variety of other project types. 

When existing building infrastructure is retrofitted and reused, it brings significant climate action benefits through embodied carbon reductions.  These projects can also boost our housing supply, while advancing urban revitalization.  The adoption of these Chapters was the culmination of a focused multi-year initiative led by Michael Malinowski, FAIA, to harness the California Building Code and architects’ design thinking to address our state’s most pressing challenges. 

Progress on another major initiative – to bring embodied carbon controls for large projects to CALGreen continues to advance, with further actions expected later in 2023. 

These efforts demonstrate AIA California as a proactive, leading voice in supporting the work of architects through code and regulatory change.  As a profession, our actions are making a significant difference in California’s complex code and regulatory environment, as we advocate for sensible, climate-friendly and sustainable state building codes and policies that support life safety while at the same time advancing broad social objectives.  In this process we work with a wide range of stakeholder agencies, organizations, and subject matter experts – a network that is constantly expanding and becoming more impactful. 

These shifts bring reality to the vision set out by the 2018  AIA Blue Ribbon Panel for Codes and Standards – a new, bold role for building codes and standards as valuable design tools for a resource-constrained and climate-challenged future.   This broader view maintains the traditional elements of life safety, fire protection, and structural and other system integrity while at the same time addressing our deteriorating climate and need for revitalization of our cities and economic opportunities and housing for all our citizens.

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