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2023 Construction Law Update

As we approach 2023 we want to wish you and yours a happy holiday season.

A total of 1,726 bills were introduced during the second half of the 2021-2022 legislative session of which 997 were signed into law. This compares with the 2,421 bills introduced during the first half of the 2021-2022 of which 770 were signed into law. Among the legislation taking effect in 2023 are new laws applying to contractors include new workers’ compensation laws (even if you don’t have employees), a continuation of a record number of new housing affordability laws as well as environmental laws aimed at climate change, and, of course, as we see nearly every year, new procurement authorizations.


AB 1747 – Authorizes the Contractors State License Board to issue penalties of up to $30,000 for the willful or deliberate disregard of state or local laws relating to the issuance of building permits.

AB 2105 – Requires the Contractors State License Board to grant a 50% fee reduction for an initial license or registration to an applicant who has served as an active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forced including the National Guard or Reserve and who was not dishonorably discharged.

AB 2916 – Extends from one year to 2 years the period of time the Contractors State License Board may disclose complaints resolved by a letter of admonishment.

SB 216 – Requires C-8 Concrete Contractors, C-20 HVAC Contractors, C-22 Asbestos Contractors, and D-49 Tree Service Contractors to carry workers’ compensation insurance whether or not they have employees and, beginning January 1, 2026, requires that all contractors of all classifications carry workers’ compensation insurance whether or not they have employees, unless they are organized as a joint venture.

Public Works

AB 1851 – Expands the definition of “public works” and the requirement of the payment of prevailing wages to include the on-hauling of materials used for paving, grading and fill onto a public works site if the individual driver’s work is integrated into the flow process of construction.

AB 1867 – Requires school districts, county offices of education and charter schools that intend to seek state funding pursuant to the Greene Act for school modernization projects for school facilities constructed before January 1, 2012 to include as part. of the modernization project faucet aerators and water-conserving plumbing fixtures in all bathrooms.

AB 2173 – Makes permanent the law capping retention on public works projects to 5%, unless the governing body of a public body or its designee finds at a public hearing prior to bid that a project is substantially complex and requires a higher retention amount than 5%, and the bid documents explain the basis for that finding and discloses the actual retention amount.

SB 1192 – Permits architects, engineers, land surveyors, construction project managers and providers of environmental services to substitute securities in lieu of retention withheld by a public agency.

Housing Affordability

AB 682 – Provides that housing developments eligible for a density bonus includes a shared housing building that will contain 10% of the total units for lower income households, contain 5% of the total units for very low income households, is a senior housing development, or in which 100% of the units are for lower income households.

AB 916 – Prohibits cities and counties from adopting or enforcing an ordinance requiring a public hearing as a condition of reconfiguring existing space to increase the bedroom count within an existing dwelling unit.

AB 1551 – Reenacts a previous law that expired on January 1, 2022, that required cities, counties, and city and counties to grant a commercial developer a development bonus when the commercial developer has entered into an agreement for partnered housing with an affordable housing developer to contribute affordable housing through a joint project or 2 separate projects encompassing affordable housing.

AB 1654 – Requires that, for the 2024 through 2034 calendar year, in any year in which the additional allocation of $500 million in low-income housing tax credits is made, the lesser of $25 million or 5% of the of the additional amount allocated shall be set aside for projects to provide farmworker housing.

AB 1695 – Provides that any notice of funding availability issued by the Department of Housing and Community Development for an affordable multifamily housing loan program shall state that adaptive reuse of a property for affordable housing purposes is an eligible activity.

AB 1719 – Creates a program applicable to community college faculty and employees that is similar to the Teacher Housing Act of 2016 which authorizes a school district to establish and implement programs that address the housing needs of teachers and employees facing challenges in securing affordable housing.

AB 2011 – Established the Affordable Housing and High Road Jobs Act of 2022 which authorizes a development proponent to submit an application for a housing development that meets specified objective standards and affordability and site criteria, including being located within a zone where office, retail, or parking are a principally permitted use, and would make the development a use by right and subject to one of 2 streamlined, ministerial review processes.

AB 2097 – Prohibits public entities from imposing minimum automobile parking requirement on any residential, commercial, or other development project that is located within 1/2 mile of public transit unless the public agency makes written findings, within 30 days of receipt of a complete application, that not imposing or enforcing minimum automobile parking requirements on the development would have a substantially negative impact.

AB 2139 – Authorizes, until January 1, 2029, an individual submitting a proposed development plan for a residential development to utilize a template floor plan if the proposed new development is located on the same parcel that contained a residential building that was damaged or destroyed prior to January 1, 2020 as a result of a disaster in an area for which a state of emergency was proclaimed by the Governor pursuant to the California Emergency Services Act.

AB 2221 – Specifies that an accessory dwelling unit that is detached from the proposed or existing primary dwelling may include a detached garage.

AB 2233 – Requires the Department of General Services in consultation with the Department of Housing and Community Development to evaluate state-owned parcels for suitability as affordable housing sites by September 1, 2023, and to do so every 4 years thereafter, beginning July 1, 2024.

Project Delivery

AB 1833 – Increases the contracting thresholds for the San Diego Metropolitan Transit Development Board and the North County Transit District from $100,000, or $50,000 in some instances, to $150,000, when contracting for architectural, landscape architectural, engineering, environmental, land surveying, and construction project management services.

AB 1845 – Authorizes the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to use the design-build, progressive design-build and construction manager/general contractor procurement process for certain regional recycled water projects or other water infrastructure projects.

AB 1932 – Extends until January 1, 2029, the use by counties of construction manager at-risk construction contracts for the erection, construction, alteration, repair, or improvement of any infrastructure, owned or leased by a county with a value in excess of $1 million.

AB 2789 – Makes permanent the authorization for the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District and the Santa Clara Valley Open-Space Authority to use the design-build process for the construction of facilities or other buildings of those entities and exempts the East Bay Regional Park District from the $1 million minimum project threshold requirement.

SB 674 – Establishes the High Road Jobs in Transportation-Related Public Contracts and Grants Pilot Program requiring contractors and certain subcontractors to meet “high road job standards” related to employment for Department of General Services and Department of Transportation projects involving the acquisition of zero-emission transit vehicles or electric vehicle supply equipment valued at $10 million or more.

SB 991 – Authorizes cities, counties, city and county, and special districts to use the progressive design-build procurement process for the production, storage, supply, treatment, or distribution of any water from any source for up to 15 public works projects valued in excess of $5 million for each project.

SB 1274 – Requires state agencies to submit information regarding the terms and conditions of any proposed extension or renewal of a contract for goods or services entered into on or after January 1, 2023, with a value of $75 million or more and that was awarded without competitive bidding to the Joint legislative Budget Committee

SB 1354 – Authorizes cities, counties and city and counties to use the design-build procurement process for projects necessary to comply with construction-related accessibility standards.

SB 1422 – Authorizes the Director of General Services, state agencies and local agencies to use alternative no-bid contracting procedures for the installation or purchase and installation of carpet, resilient flooring, synthetic turf and lighting fixtures provided that such work is not performed in connection with new construction.


AB 661 – Requires state agencies, if fitness and quality are equal, to purchase recycled products instead of non recycled products whenever recycled products are available at no more than 10% greater total costs than non recycled products. Applicable products include building insulation and panels, soil amendments and soil toppings, erosion control products, windows, construction blocks, plastic lumber, fencing, building products, paint, rebar, pipe, and plumbing fixtures.

AB 1445 – Beginning January 1, 2025, requires cities and counties when adopting a comprehensive, long-term general plan for the physical for the physical development of the city and county, to consider evacuation route capacity, wildfire risk, sea level rise, and other impacts caused by climate change.

AB 1642 – Until January 1, 2028, exempt from CEQA a well projects that meets certain requirements including that the domestic well or the water system to which the well is connected has been designated by the State Water Resources Control Board as high risk or medium risk in the Board’s driving water needs assessment.

AB 1738 – Requires to the California Building Standards Commission, beginning with the next triennial edition of the California Building Standards Code, to adopt mandatory building standards for the installation of electrical vehicle charging stations with low power level 2 or higher electric vehicle chargers in existing multifamily dwellings, hotels, motels and nonresidential development during certain retrofits, additions and alterations to existing parking facilities.

AB 1811 – Requires local agencies when preparing a local plan for flood protection to also include planning for climate change and rainwater and stormwater management.

AB 1902 – Authorizes resource conservation districts to, with the consent of the owner, construct on privately or publicly owned lands any necessary works for the protection, conservation, restoration, or enhancement pf natural resources, the improvement or enhancement of adaption or resilience to climate change, or the mitigation or sequestration of carbon emissions, and to develop and implement projects and programs for the conversation, enhancement, restoration, adaption and resilience of soil, water and biodiversity and related natural resource conservation.

AB 2075 – Requires the California Building Standards Commission, as part of each triennial California Building Standards Code rule making cycle on or after January 1, 2023, to convene a workshop or other collaborative process on electric vehicle charging infrastructure standards.

AB 2446 – Requires the State Air Resources Board to establish a framework for measuring and reducing average carbon intensity of materials used in the construction of new buildings, including those for residential uses, by July 1, 2025. The framework is to include a strategy to achieve a 40% net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of building materials with an interim target of 20% net reduction by December 31, 2030.

AB 2232 – Requires school districts, county offices of education, charter schools private schools, the California Community Colleges, and the California State University to ensure that facilities have HVAC systems that meet specified minimum ventilation rate requirements unless the existing HVAC system is not capable of safely and efficiently providing the minimum ventilation rate, in which case, such HVAC system must meet the minimum ventilation rates in effect at the time the building permit for installation of the HVAC system was issued.

AB 2322 – Requires the State Fire Marshall, prior to the next triennial edition of the California Building Standards Code, to research, develop and propose mandatory building standards for fire resistance based on occupancy risk categories in very high, high and moderate California fire severity zones in state responsibility areas, local responsibility areas, and in land designated as a Wildland Urban Interface Area.

SB 379 – Requires cities, counties and city and counties to implement an online, automated permitting platform that verifies code compliance and issues permits in real time or allows such entities to issue permits in real time for residential solar energy systems no larger than 38.4 kilowatts alternating current nameplate rating and a residential energy storage system paired with a residential solar energy system that is no larger than 38.4 kilowatts alternating current nameplate rating.

SB 978 – Requires CalRecycle or other state agency tasked to manage wildfire debris cleanup and removal by the Office of Emergency Services to prequalify contractors for state contracts to perform prescribed wildfire debris cleanup and removal work in communities impacted by wildfires.


AB 1643 – Requires the Labor and Workforce Development Agency to establish an advisory committee on or before July 1, 2023 to study and evaluate the effect of heat on California’s workers, businesses and the economy.

SB 674 – Establishes the High Road Jobs in Transportation-Related Public Contracts and Grants Pilot Program requiring contractors and certain subcontractors to meet “high road job standards” related to employment for Department of General Services and Department of Transportation projects involving the acquisition of zero-emission transit vehicles or electric vehicle supply equipment valued at $10 million or more.


AB 1037 – Requires the Departmurpose of outdoor dining, or to protect pedestrians, from collisions into those outdoor areas by motor vehicles.

AB 1989 – Includes, for purposes of insurance carrier discounts, a vehicle barrier that is installed to protect persons located in an adjacent outdoor area that is covered by commercial property insurance and that is used for the purpose of outdoor dining, or to protect pedestrians, from collisions into those outdoor areas by motor vehicles.

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