BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó




                   Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary
                            Senator Kevin de León, Chair


          AB 433 (Gordon) - Contractors: fire protection systems: fire  
          safety: State Fire Marshal.
          
          Amended: August 13, 2013        Policy Vote: B&P 10-0
          Urgency: No                     Mandate: No
          Hearing Date: August 26, 2013                           
          Consultant: Mark McKenzie       
          
          This bill does not meet the criteria for referral to the  
          Suspense File. 

          
          Bill Summary: AB 433 would authorize plumbing contractors to  
          install residential fire protection systems in one- or  
          two-family dwellings until January 1, 2017.  The bill would also  
          explicitly authorize the State Fire Marshal to propose, adopt,  
          and administer regulations and building standards necessary to  
          ensure fire safety in buildings and structures in CA, as  
          specified.

          Fiscal Impact: 
           Minor and absorbable costs to the Contractors' State License  
            Board (CSLB) for any enforcement actions related to plumbers  
            installing fire sprinkler systems.

               No new costs to the State Fire Marshal related to the  
              clarification of the authority to propose, adopt, and  
              administer fire safety regulations and building standards.   
              The bill provides authority for the Fire Marshal to recover  
              any costs associated with the broad regulatory authority  
              provided in the bill by charging reasonable fees for  
              specified activities.

          Background: CSLB regulations establish a fire protection  
          contractor classification as a contractor that lays out,  
          fabricates, and installs all types of fire protection systems,  
          excluding electrical alarm systems.  CSLB regulations establish  
          a plumbing contractor classification as a contractor that  
          provides a means for a supply of safe water for the purpose  
          intended and the proper disposal of fluid waste from the  
          premises in all structures.  Existing law specifies that the  
          installation of a fire protection system may only be performed  








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          by a contractor holding a fire protection contractor  
          classification, or by an owner-builder of an owner-occupied,  
          single-family dwelling.

          The CA Building Standards Code was updated in 2010 to require  
          that all new residential dwellings constructed after January 1,  
          2011 must be equipped with a fire sprinkler system.  CSLB  
          indicates that there were only 2,148 active fire protection  
          contractors licensed as of February of this year, and only 25%  
          of those install residential sprinkler systems.

          Existing law authorizes the State Fire Marshal to develop  
          building standards related to fire and panic safety and to  
          submit those standards to the Building Standards Commission  
          (BSC) for approval.  Building standards serve as the basis for  
          design and construction of buildings in California.  Existing  
          law expressly requires the Fire Marshal to propose and adopt  
          building standards related to fire protection in the following  
          structures: state-owned or occupied buildings; buildings in fire  
          hazard severity zones; structures in wildland interface  
          communities; access to roof areas of commercial establishments;  
          specified buildings used for assembly of 50 or more persons;  
          buildings used to house persons for protective social care; and  
          high-rise structures.  The Fire Marshal must also approve  
          building standards proposed by other agencies, if it promotes  
          fire and panic safety.  

          In addition to regulations that are building standards, the Fire  
          Marshal also has broad authority to adopt regulations related to  
          fire safety.  For example, existing law provides authority for  
          the Fire Marshal to develop and implement licensing, inspection,  
          and certification programs for fireworks, flame retardant  
          chemicals and fabrics, automatic extinguishing systems, gasoline  
          vapor recovery systems, hazardous liquid pipelines, consumer  
          product testing laboratories, and building materials.  Numerous  
          statutes for these various programs authorize the Fire Marshal  
          to charge a reasonable fee to cover the costs of performing each  
          of the specified services.

          Proposed Law: AB 433 would authorize a contractor holding a  
          plumber contractor classification to install a residential fire  
          protection system, excluding electrical alarm systems, in a one-  
          or two-family dwelling until January 1, 2017.  The bill would  
          also expressly authorize the State Fire Marshal to propose,  








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          adopt, and administer regulations deemed necessary to ensure  
          fire safety in buildings and structures in the state, including  
          those related to construction, modification, installation,  
          testing, inspection, labeling, listing, certification,  
          registration, licensing, reporting, operation, and maintenance.   
          Any regulations that are building standards must be submitted to  
          the BSC for approval.  Finally, the bill authorizes the Fire  
          Marshal to collect reasonable fees necessary to implement any of  
          the specified regulatory activities.

          Staff Comments: This bill is intended to provide a 3-year window  
          in which plumbing contractors would be authorized to install  
          fire sprinkler systems in one- and two-family residential  
          dwellings.  This limited window would allow time to determine  
          whether it is appropriate to continue this authority or require  
          plumbers to obtain additional education and experience  
          requirements before being authorized to install residential fire  
          sprinkler systems.  The CSLB does not anticipate a significant  
          increase in enforcement actions as a result of plumbing  
          contractors installing residential fire protection systems.

          AB 433 would authorize the State Fire Marshal to propose, adopt,  
          and administer regulations deemed necessary to ensure fire  
          safety in buildings and structures, as specified above. Any  
          regulations that are building standards must be submitted to the  
          BSC for approval.  Under existing law, the Fire Marshal has  
          express authority to propose fire safety regulations for about  
          80 percent of buildings and structures, and implied authority in  
          various other statutory provisions.  This bill is intended to  
          provide explicit authority for the Fire Marshal to adopt and  
          administer fire safety standards for all buildings and  
          structures, and to consolidate the Fire Marshal's disparate  
          authority to regulate fire safety and collect reasonable fees  
          into a single code section.   There have been occasions in the  
          past when the Fire Marshal's authority has been challenged  
          during the BSC process for approval of certain building fire  
          safety standards, which resulted in significant delays in the  
          regulatory process.  This bill would provide a comprehensive  
          statute that can be referenced as an authority citation when  
          conducting a rulemaking proceeding.  Since the Fire Marshal is  
          already actively involved in fire safety building standards  
          process, this bill would not result in any new costs to the Fire  
          Marshal or Building Standards Commission.









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