Government Relations, Relevance|

The 2019 Building Code (effective 1/1/2020) allows below-grade use of foam plastic building insulation without flame retardants.  This change was made possible due to the work of the Office of the State Fire Marshal and the support of many interested parties, including several architectural firms and AIA California.

The new standards can be found in Section 2603.2.1 and paragraph (6) of Section 2603.3 of the 2019 California Building Code.

2603.2.1 Labeling of polystyrene foam insulation without flame retardants.

In addition to the requirements of Section 2603.2, polystyrene foam insulation boards manufactured with no flame retardants added shall be labeled in accordance with this section.

  1. Each board shall be labeled on each face every 8 square feet in red 1/2″ text with the following information:


This product is required to be installed below a minimum 3.5-inch thick concrete slab on grade.


This product contains NO flame retardants.

Not tested for flame spread or smoke development requirements of the

model building codes


  1. Each package shall be labeled on at least two sides in red 1/2″ text with the following information:


Keep away from ignition sources

Maintain code required separation between product storage and structures under construction (minimum 30 feet).


2603.3 Surface Burning Characteristics.

Unless otherwise indicated in this section, foam plastic insulation and foam plastic cores of manufactured assemblies shall have a flame spread index of not more than 75 and a smoke-developed index of not more than 450 where tested in the maximum thickness intended for use in accordance with ASTM E84 or UL 723. Loose fill-type foam plastic insulation shall be tested as board stock for the flame spread and smoke-developed indexes.



  1. Polystyrene foam insulation boards with a maximum thickness of 2-inches when installed below a minimum 3.5-inch thick concrete slab on grade.


The 2019 California Access Compliance Advisory Reference Manual

The Division of the State Architect has released the 2019 California Access Compliance Advisory Manual.

The Manual contains the 2019 California Building Code accessibility provisions adopted by DSA and commentary on selected requirements. Commentary is included from the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design and from DSA for provisions unique to California. Additionally, an expanded table of contents for Chapter 11B is provided at the beginning of the chapter.

The Manual can be found here.


The New Architecture Licensure Handbook

The California Architects Board has released its new Architect Licensure Handbook for candidates and individuals interested in becoming an architect candidate.

The Handbook explains how to become an architect, defines the requirements for licensure, describes the common paths used to receive a license, and clarifies the post-licensure basics. It also serves as a portal to other online licensure resources from collateral organizations, such as the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. To assist candidates further, a step-by-step checklist is included to outline the licensure process in an easy to follow manner.

The Handbook can be found here.


One-Year Extension of Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

On August 30th, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law SB 778 to provide employers with five or more employees an additional year to provide sexual harassment prevent training to their employees.  Training for both supervisory and nonsupervisory employees must now be completed by January 1, 2021.

Under the law, for businesses with 5 or more employees, supervisory employees must receive 2 hours of training every 2 years, and nonsupervisory employees 1 hour every 2 years.

The law contains other specific requirements.  AIA California encourages architectural firms to contact their attorney for the specific requirements.

For more information, please feel free to contact the AIA CA Director of Government Relations, Mark Christian, Hon. AIA CA at 916-642-1708.

Mark Christian, Hon. AIA CA
Mark Christian, Hon. AIA CA
Mark Christian, Hon. AIA CA, is the Director of Government Relations for the AIA California, a position he has held since 1999. In this position, Mark is responsible for monitoring the California State Legislature, identifying bills of interest to the profession, developing and implementing strategies for the positive outcome of legislation of interest to the profession, and representing the profession before the legislature.

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