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2024 Construction Law Update

Updated: Mar 19

Author Jernej Furman, CC-by-2.0 (cropped)

We would like to wish you and yours a happy holiday season as we approach 2024.

The first half of the 2023-2024 legislative session saw the introduction of 3,028 bills, which, according to legislative observers, are the most bills introduced in a session in more than a decade, perhaps reflecting the fact that California has a record number of new legislators with over a quarter taking the oath of office for the first time. Of these bills, Governor Newsom signed nearly 400 into law including several impacting the construction industry related to climate change and housing affordability.

Climate Change

AB 43 – Requires the State Air Resources Board to integrate into the carbon trading system established under the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 a framework for measuring the average carbon intensity of materials used in the construction of new buildings, on or before December 31, 2026, and to implement the system on and after January 1, 2029.

SB 48 – Enacts the Building Energy Savings Act which provides excludes owners of buildings with less than 50,000 square feet of gross floor space from having to collect and deliver energy usage information to the Energy Commission. The Bill also requires the Energy Commission to develop a strategy for using energy usage data to track and manage the energy usage and emissions of greenhouse gases in order to achieve the state’s goals, targets, and standards related to energy usage and emissions of greenhouse gases.

SB 355 – Expands the Multifamily Affordable Housing Solar Roofs Program to include properties in which at least 66% of household incomes are at or below 80% of the area median income, properties owned by a tribe and rental housing properties owned by public housing agencies or authorities. The bill further extends the award of monetary incentives through December 31, 2032.

SB 745 –  Enacts the Drought-Resistant Buildings Act which requires the California Building Standards Commission to research, develop and propose building standards to reduce portable water use in new residential buildings and certain nonresidential buildings. 


AB 336 – Effective July 1, 2024, requires contractors, who have on file a certificate of workers’ compensation insurance or certification of self-Insurance, or who is required to provide those certificates, to certify on the license renewal form the workers’ compensation classification codes endorsed on the licensee’s policy.

AB 1121 – Requires awarding authorities to annually submit to the Department of Industrial Relations’ electronic project registration database a list of ineligible contractors pursuant to local debarment or suspension processes.

AB 1204 – Prohibits specialty contractors from entering into contracts for the performance of work on the same single project or undertaking with more than one subcontractor in the same license classification unless the subcontractor employs persons who are classified as employees to perform work in that license classification on the single project or undertaking or the specialty contractor is a signatory to a bona fide collective bargaining agreement.

SB 630 – Requires contractors to provide a valid email address at the time application or renewal. The bill further authorizes the Contractors State License Board to issue a stay of execution pending completion of specified terms and conditions of probation.

Housing Affordability

AB 323 – Prohibit a developer from offering a for-sale unit constructed pursuant to a local inclusionary zoning ordinance to a purchaser that intends to rent the unit to families of extremely low, very low, low, and moderate-income families, unless the developer can prove that none of the applicants for owner-occupancy can qualify for the unit. 

AB 671 – Clarifies that under the CalHome Program, home ownership development projects that include construction of accessory dwelling units or junior accessory dwelling units are not precluded from being separately conveyed to separate lower income households on separate parcels.

AB 529 – Requires the Department of Housing and Community Development to convene a working group to identify challenges to, and opportunities that support, the creation and promotion of adaptive reuse of commercial buildings to residential projects and to report on the group’s findings by December 31, 2025.

AB 911 – Existing law permits a person who holds or is acquiring property, and who believes the property is subject to a restrictive covenant on, among other things, the number of persons or families who may reside on the property, to request a modification to the restrictive covenant. This bill requires county counsel to make a determination on such a request without delay and within 15 days of submission.

AB 976 – Authorizes local agencies to condition approval of an accessory dwelling unit on the unit being rented for no less than 30 days. 

AB 1218 – Prohibits cities and counties from approving a development project which would entail the demolition of occupied or vacant protected units , or that is located on a site where protected units were demolished with the previous 5 years, unless the certain conditions are met including replacement of existing or demolished protected units, the new development includes a minimum number of resident units, allows existing occupants to occupy their units until 6 months before the start of construction activities, and relocation benefit are provided to existing occupants of protect units that are lower income households.

SB 4 – Also known as the “Yes in God’s Backyard” or “YIGBY” bill, SB 4 requires local agencies to ministerially consider, without discretionary review or hearing, affordable housing projects on land owned by a religious institution or independent institution of higher learning.

SB 91 – Indefinitely extending exemption from CEQA of projects related to the conversion of a structure with a certificate of occupancy as a motel, hotel, residential hotel, or hostel to supportive or transitional housing.

SB 423 – Extends SB 35, which was set to expire on January 1, 2026 through January 1, 2036, streamline multifamily housing production in cities and counties that are failing to build their fair share of state-mandated housing. 

SB 469 – Expands the definition of exclusions from “low-rent housing project” for purposes of California Constitution’s prohibition of development, construction, or acquisition of low-rent housing projects without the approval of the majority of local electors, to include units funded by California Tax Credit Allocation Committee, the Zenovich-Moscone-Chacon Housing and Home Finance Act, and the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program.

SB 684 – Requires local agencies to ministerially consider, without discretionary review or hearing, projects of up to 10 units in certain multifamily neighborhoods and vacant lots in single-family neighborhoods, authorizes local agencies to issue building permits once a tentative may has been approved, and prohibits the removal of housing that is low-income, rent-controlled, or occupied by tenants within the last 7 years.

Project Delivery

SB 617 – Authorizes, until January 1, 2029, a transit district, municipal operator, consolidated agency, joint powers authority, regional transportation agency, or local or regional agency, as described, to use the progressive design-build process for up to 10 public works projects in excess of $5,000,000 for each project.

SB 706 – Authorizes, until January 1, 2023, cities, counties, cities and counties, or special districts to use the progressive design-build process for up to 10 public works in excess of $5,000,000, not limited to water-related projects, but excluding projects on state-owned or state-operated facilities.


SB 150 – Requires the California Department of Transportation to reserve a minimum of $50 Million  of federal funds from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to be allocated over 4 years to support the California Workforce Development Board program. The bill also authorizes the California Department of Transportation, on or after January 1, 2026, to use, enter into, or require contractors to enter into a project labor agreement that applies to a project or set of projects with aggregate construction costs in excess of $35,000,000 only if the agreement includes provisions to address community benefits.

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