The following sections provide an overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California Building and Energy Efficiency Standards (Title 24
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. Particularly relevant are the standards for accessible design required for all new construction and alterations. Applying the standard that provides the greatest accessibility level is the easiest way to resolve the different Federal and State standards.
Universal Design. Universal design is an approach that incorporates products as well as building features and elements that can be used by everyone and generally improve accessibility. Knowing universal design principals prior to building design and construction can result in overall accessibility improvements and adaptability for future users. HCD has developed a model ordinance (link below) that provides for universal design features that would only be installed if requested by the buyer/owner and would not cause an unreasonable delay or significant costs to the developer or builder.
California Building and Energy Efficiency Standards (Title 24). On August 12, 2021, the California Energy Commission adopted the 2022 Building Energy Efficiency Standards for newly constructed and renovated buildings to support the State’s public health, climate, and clean energy goals. The 2022 Energy Code focuses on four key areas in newly constructed homes and businesses:
- Encouraging electric heat pump technology for space and water heating, which consumes less energy and produces fewer emissions than gas-powered units
- Establishing electric-ready requirements for single-family homes to position owners to use cleaner electric heating, cooking and electric vehicle (EV) charging options whenever they choose to adopt those technologies
- Expanding solar photovoltaic (PV) system and battery storage standards to make clean energy available onsite and complement the state’s progress toward a 100 percent clean electricity grid
- Strengthening ventilation standards to improve indoor air quality
These new requirements become effective on January 1, 2022. The link below provides a more detailed overview.
Relevant State and Federal Law
San Joaquin Valley Experience
Stakeholders noted the constantly changing regulatory environment (e.g., the solar power mandate) continues to add cost to every housing unit. Changes in building codes are intended to advance health and safety, and are increasingly focused on supporting climate action goals of the State. While some of these requirements may initially add to the cost of homes, the long-term benefits of reduced power consumption and associated savings for homeowners should offset the initial investment. Other code changes like past approval of PEX piping and the more recent approval of mass timber can result in cost savings for projects.
State of California Energy Commission, 2022 Building Energy Efficiency Standards Summary, Summary of Title 24 Changes Effective January 1, 2022.
California Department of Housing and Community Development, Building Code Development and Adoption (Title 24).
U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, ADA Standards for Accessible Design.
Disability Access Consultants, The Americans with Disabilities and Title 24 of the California Building Code.
California Department of Housing and Community Development, Universal Design Model Ordinance.