BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                              Senator Jim Beall, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:          AB 764            Hearing Date:     6/16/2015
          |Author:   |Quirk                                                 |
          |Version:  |6/09/2015                                             |
          |Urgency:  |No                     |Fiscal:      |Yes             |
          |Consultant|Alison Dinmore                                        |
          |:         |                                                      |

          SUBJECT:  Building Standards Commission: vehicle barrier  

            DIGEST:  This bill requires the California Building Standards  
          Commission (CBSC), in collaboration with the State Architect and  
          the State Fire Marshal, to consider the installation of vehicle  
          barriers in the design of any new building. 

          Existing law:
          1)Establishes the CBSC within the Department of General  
            Services, and requires any building standards adopted or  
            proposed by state agencies to be submitted to, and approved  
            by, the CBSC prior to codification into the California  
            Standards Code (CBC).  
          2)Requires the CSBC to adopt, approve, codify, and publish  
            building standards providing the minimum standards for the  
            design and construction of state buildings, including  
            buildings constructed by the Trustees of the California State  
            University and, to the extent permitted by law, to buildings  
            designed and constructed by the Regents of the University of  
          3)Requires the State Fire Marshal to develop building standards  
            to implement the state's fire and life safety policy, and  
            transfers any responsibilities of the State Fire Marshal to  
            adopt building standards through a formal rulemaking process  
            to the CBSC. 


          AB 764 (Quirk)                                      Page 2 of ?
          4)Grants the State Architect jurisdiction over access compliance  
            requirements for all buildings in California (including  
            schools) that are publicly funded in whole or in part by the  
            use of state funds.

          This bill:

          1)Requires the CBSC, in collaboration with the State Architect  
            and the State Fire Marshal, to consider the installation of  
            vehicle barriers in the design of any new building at each  
            model code adoption review. 
          2)Defines a "vehicle barrier" as a horizontal or vertical  
            protective device placed to protect buildings or pedestrians  
            from collisions by motor vehicles.
          3)Authorizes an insurer to consider the installation of vehicle  
            barriers on a commercial property parking lot as a safety  
            measure and offer a discount on the property owner's insurance  
            covering damage or loss to the covered commercial property. 


          1)Purpose of the bill.  According to the author,  
            vehicle-into-building crashes have been reported to occur as  
            many as 60 times per day, with more than 3,600 pedestrians,  
            store patrons, and employees seriously injured each year,  
            nationwide.  Sometimes called "storefront crashes," these  
            accidents are often caused by driver error.  Most of these  
            accidents can be prevented with simple and inexpensive steps,  
            including the installation of vehicle barriers, that can be  
            taken in either the design phase or as part of a retrofit.   
            This bill seeks to prevent storefront crashes by encouraging  
            the adoption of protective barrier standards when considering  
            building occupant safety options for buildings, particularly  
            in commercial buildings, which have been slower to install  
            vehicle barriers than other types of properties.   
            Additionally, it would authorize an insurer to consider these  
            vehicle barriers as a safety measure eligible for discounted  
            building insurance rates.  By doing this, AB 764 is intended  
            to reduce the number of storefront crashes.  
          2)Vehicle-into-building crashes.  According to the Texas A&M  
            Transportation Institute (TTI), "With 500 people reportedly  
            killed each year by vehicles crashing into retail stores,  
            sidewalk cafes, hair salons and other businesses, low speed  
            barrier crashes have been called 'one of the largest  


          AB 764 (Quirk)                                      Page 3 of ?
            unaddressed safety issues in the country.'"  According to TTI,  
            these accidents occur most frequently when a driver is  
            entering or leaving a parking space perpendicular to a  
            building, and even at relatively low speeds can cause serious  
            injury or death.  TTI notes, however, that simple,  
            preventative measures can protect pedestrians, store  
            employees, and patrons from being injured or killed when the  
            accidents occur.  In recognition of the safety risks posed by  
            errant vehicles and the increasingly important use of  
            protective barriers as a way to prevent or minimize the  
            damages from these types of accidents, the American Society  
            for Testing and Materials International (ASTM), an  
            international standards development organization, in  
            conjunction with the researchers at TTI, recently approved a  
            test standard, known as the Test Method for Low Speed Barriers  
            for Errant Vehicles, to set parameters for bollards, barriers,  
            and other devices most often seen protecting storefronts and  
            high-traffic pedestrian areas to help standardize the use of  
            protective barriers.  Prior to the adoption of this standard,  
            there was no objective way to evaluate the effectiveness of  
            vertical pipes, decorative planters, and other devices that  
            could serve to protect a business from damages caused by a  
            vehicle-into-building collision.  
          3)California Building Standards.  The California Building  
            Standards Law established the CBSC and the process for  
            adopting state building codes.  Under this process, relevant  
            state agencies propose amendments to model building codes,  
            which the CBSC must then adopt, modify, or reject.  For  
            example, the Division of the State Architect is responsible  
            for public schools, community colleges, and accessibility in  
            public accommodations and public housing.  The Office of the  
            State Fire Marshal is responsible for life and life safety for  
            hotels, apartments, dwellings, and assembly and high-rise  
            buildings.  The Department of Housing and Community  
            Development is the relevant state agency for residential  
            building codes, and the Office of Statewide Health Planning  
            and Development is the relevant state agency for hospitals and  
            clinics.  Not all buildings fall under the jurisdiction of a  
            relevant state agency.  Most commercial, industrial, and  
            manufacturing structures are considered "local buildings,"  
            over which local governments may determine applicable building  
            standards.  The CBSC is responsible for developing building  
            standards for state-owned buildings, including university and  
            state college buildings, and for developing green building  


          AB 764 (Quirk)                                      Page 4 of ?
            standards for most buildings except for housing, public  
            schools, and hospitals. 

            Every three years, the CBSC adopts a new version of the CBC,  
            known as the triennial update.  The building codes apply to  
            all building occupancies and related features and equipment  
            throughout the state, and set requirements for structural,  
            mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, and require  
            measures for energy conservation, green design, construction  
            and maintenance, fire and life safety, and accessibility.  

          4)Local guidance.  The author's intent is to encourage more  
            California buildings to install vehicle barriers to prevent  
            storefront crashes, particularly in commercial buildings.  At  
            present, local jurisdictions have the authority to require the  
            installation of vehicle barriers in new buildings, and some  
            have done so.  For example, the city of Artesia has required  
            the installation of vehicle barriers in specified commercial  
            While the CBSC is responsible for developing standards for  
            state buildings and local jurisdictions are responsible for  
            developing standards for commercial structures, commercial  
            builders often look to the CBC for further guidance,  
            particularly when a jurisdiction is silent on an issue.  For  
            example, the CBC currently contains standards, adopted from an  
            international model, for the installation of vehicle barriers  
            if a builder chooses to install vehicle barriers in state  
            buildings.  If a local jurisdiction fails to regulate vehicle  
            barriers for commercial properties, a builder presently  
            choosing to install vehicle barriers will look to the CBC or  
            another national standard for guidance. 

          5)  Vehicle barrier usage.  The committee has learned from  
            commercial retailer groups that commercial property owners are  
            not having difficulty installing vehicle barriers, whether  
            they are required or choose to do so.  According to these  
            groups, if a jurisdiction does not regulate vehicle barriers,  
            builders will review the CBC for the vehicle barrier standards  
            already adopted by the CBSC, as well as the international  

            Vehicle barriers can be used for different purposes, including  
            protecting buildings from attacks, ensuring a building  
            structure does not collapse, and protecting building occupants  


          AB 764 (Quirk)                                      Page 5 of ?
            and pedestrians.  While the CBC has adopted regulations for  
            vehicle barriers, the author believes it is not clear what  
            they are designed to protect.  This bill is intended to  
            clarify that that vehicle barriers adopted by the CBSC would  
            protect building occupants and pedestrians from storefront  

          6)  Double-referral.  The Rules Committee has referred the bill  
            to both this committee and the Insurance Committee.   
            Therefore, if the bill passes this committee, it will be  
            referred to the Insurance Committee to consider the insurance  
            provisions of the bill.  

          Assembly Votes:

            Floor:    78-0
            Appr:     17-0
            Ins:      12-0
            B&P:      14-0

          FISCAL EFFECT:  Appropriation:  No    Fiscal Com.:  Yes     
          Local:  No

            POSITIONS:  (Communicated to the committee before noon on  
                          June 10, 2015.)

          California Restaurant Association
          Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour Restaurants
          Storefront Safety Council

          None received  

                                      -- END --