New Codes

Electrical and Building Codes

While most of the other state codes have changed somewhat for 2011, “it may surprise people that a major change has been made in the Electrical Code”.
“Now all new and replaced electrical receptacles must be of the tamper-resistant type” . These new sockets are designed so that anything inserted into just one of the plug slots is blocked from going in. “It’s passive resistance to protect kids who might stick a pin in,” Word about this change apparently hasn’t spread yet. “You go into most building supply stores and they may not even know what you’re talking about.”
In addition, the updated code has upped the requirements for the use of arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCI’s), which are circuit breakers that basically protect against fire. AFCI’s formerly were required only in bedrooms, but now they are required on all circuits in the home except those already required to be protected by ground-fault circuit-interrupter receptacles (GFCI’s).
In the new Building Code, a requirement has been added pertaining to carbon monoxide alarms. “ All new construction as of Janurary 1st, all existing single family dwellings by july 1st of this year or Any project that exceeds a value of $1,000 must now have not only the smoke alarms, but also the carbon monoxide alarms brought up to code.

Fire Sprinklers 

The new state Residential Code now requires fire sprinklers in all newly constructed residential buildings, “not only in new buildings, but also in substantial remodels and second units created within existing buildings.”
If you live in one of those areas and are turning your existing home into a duplex, say by adding some interior walls or converting your basement into an apartment, you won’t have to install sprinklers. If, however, you’re building a new structure for a second unit, or if you’re doing a “substantial remodel”—i.e., one that, including any additions, affects more than 50 percent of the floor area of an existing structure (such as building a second unit above your garage)— the sprinkler requirements still apply.

Date May 5, 2011, Sonoma County, CA – The California Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act of 2010 is now in effect.  According to the law (Health and Safety Code sections 13260 – 13263, and 17926; California Building Code section 420.4), the owner of a dwelling unit intended for human occupancy must install a carbon monoxide device in each existing dwelling unit having a fossil fuel burning heater, appliance, fireplace, or an attached garage.  The required carbon monoxide devices must be installed between now and July 1, 2011 in existing single-family dwellings and between now and January 1, 2013 for existing multi-dwelling units. 

In the context of the law, the term dwelling unit includes all of the following: single-family dwelling, duplex, lodging house, apartment, condominium, hotel, motel, boarding house, dormitory, stock cooperative, time-share project, or any dwelling unit within a multi-family dwelling unit building. 

Fossil fuel includes: coal, wood, natural gas, LP-gas (Liquid Petroleum or Propane), fuel oil, and kerosene.  Attached garages are included because an idling motor vehicle also creates carbon monoxide which may enter into the dwelling unit. 

The carbon monoxide device must have been tested and certified pursuant to the requirements of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) as set forth in ANSI/UL 2034 or ANSI/ UL 2075, and be approved and listed by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning and prevention, please visit the following websites:

•   The US Environmental Protection Agency has a wealth of information about carbon monoxide available at:
•   Learn more about carbon monoxide poisoning from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention at:
•   To learn about the different types and models of carbon monoxide devices, go to the manufacturers’ website; an example is available at:
•   The Consumer Product Safety Commission has a comprehensive list of questions and answers at: