The State Historical Building Safety Board (Board) has interpretive and appeal authority for determining equivalency and acceptability of designs that are proposed as equivalent or reasonably safe alternatives to the prescriptive mandates of regular code. The Board has created three ways to access the review and appeals activities described in the State Historical Building Code. The three are: information requests with the Executive Director, consultations with the Executive Director and the Executive Committee, and appeal to the State Historical Building Safety Board.
Contacts to the board should be made through the Executive Director for the State Historical Building Safety Board. The Executive Director works for the State Architect as staff to the board. The Executive Director is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the State Historical Building Code program for owners, designers, jurisdictions, and agencies. The authority and responsibility for reviews and appeals rests with the State Historical Building Safety Board.
For more information on reviews and appeals see the 2007 California Historical Building Code, Chapter 8-1, Section 8-104 and Health and Safety Code, Section 18960.
State agencies shall consult with the State Historical Building Safety Board for review prior to undertaking any action or decision which affects historic buildings, structures or properties (Health and Safety Code, S. 18961). Reviews may be initiated by sending a request to attend meetings, participate in proposal review, and/or consultations with designers and decision makers. It is recommended that information or Informal Consultation begin with initiation of the budget process for projects planning.
Any board member representing a state agency may bring issues to the State Historical Building Safety Board for information, review and action by providing information under New Business on any agenda, or submitting a request for an agenda item to the Executive Director.
Questions about the code and its application are made to State Historical Building Safety Board staff. The phone and e-mail are answered on a regular basis, usually the same day received. Contact the State Historical Building Safety Board.
Before a Consultation takes place, it is recommended that the "appellant" has approached the building official or administering authority and have clearly defined the issue or issues between the administering authority and project proponent to be reviewed. The same applies for state agency projects, the appropriate code administering authority shall have been contacted and any issues brought to the State Historical Building Safety Board in a timely manner prior to final approvals.
Consultations with board staff, by phone or e-mail, are done on an informal basis. Requests for an official letter may necessitate review by the Executive Committee or the full board. Generally, informal consultations are answered by citing the latest California Historical Building Code or the Health and Safety Code. Some can be assisted by citing examples from the Selected Case Studies Book (available from the California Preservation Foundation). Information and opinion provided by phone is based on the information provided. Staff may request additional information or request consultation with all parties to the issue before an opinion is issued.
Consultation with the Executive Committee. Consultation with the Executive Committee will be referred by the Executive Director.
Formal Appeal and Decision
The full State Historical Building Safety Board has the authority to hear appeals and make decisions regarding issues determined by the board to be of "statewide importance."
- All formal appeals must be processed by the State Historical Building Safety Board staff and placed on a meeting agenda.
- Three of the four regularly scheduled meetings are usually held in Sacramento. It is possible to schedule a special meeting on the third Thursday in any month. Costs for a special meeting are likely to be assessed (2007 California Historical Building Code, Section 8-104). The State Historical Building Safety Board has the authority to recover costs associated with board reviews and appeals. It is essential that the appellant attend the meeting to present the issue to the board.
- Where possible, all parties to the issue should attend to present their positions. If all parties are not able to be present, the State Historical Building Safety Board may solicit their input formally. This applies especially to state agencies and board member agencies.
- Appeals and decisions must be made on an issue by issue basis. Issues must be clearly defined, and information understood by all parties to the issue. The issues to be discussed should be clearly documented from the earliest steps.
- A formal process will be followed by the State Historical Building Safety Board during the hearing of appeal. Each of the following will be drafted by State Historical Building Safety Board (Board) staff as an information packet for the board. All available information will be included from all of the parties to the issue.
- A determination of statewide importance of the issue will be made.
- A determination of qualification of the building, structure or property will be made.
- Presentations of the facts of each issue will be made by all who may wish to contribute.
- A determination of the facts on each issue before the board, as known and available to the Board, will be made.
- A discussion of the alternatives (or interpretation or determination) will be held, for the purpose of determining their reasonable equivalence to regular code, or providing for health and life safety of occupants and public.
- A decision will be rendered, by the board on each issue before the board, or as determined by the board during the hearing.
- The determinations and decisions will be formally adopted by vote of the board for each issue and determination.
- Decisions will be made in writing (published), to all of the parties to the issue, and filed with the Building Standards Commission, per Health and Safety Code, S. 18960, (c.).(2).
- Decisions are the final administrative procedure of the State Historical Building Safety Board as intended by Health and Safety Code S. 18960, (c.) (1), (2), (3) and are precedent setting.
The State Historical Building Code does not provide the State Historical Building Safety Board any authority to enforce issuance of permits or approvals. Beyond appeal, where issues involve the right of an owner to use the State Historical Building Code, the owner must seek advise of legal counsel. The State Historical Building Safety Board and staff cannot provide advice.