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California's State Historical Building Code

Owners of qualified historic properties are entitled to use the State Historical Building Code (SHBC) for rehabilitation of structures. The SHBC, found in the California Code of Regulations, Title 24, Part 8, supplants the Uniform Building Code (UBC) and is particularly useful in code issues related to requirements for plumbing, electrical, structural, seismic, fire safety, energy requirements, and disabled access. The SHBC allows greater flexibility in the enforcement of code requirements.

Many older buildings, because they were built before present-day code requirements, are out of conformance with the latest UBC. The most important aspect of the SHBC is that it allows local building officials to make a determination that a building’s internal systems are reasonably safe without automatically imposing the requirements of the modern UBC.

The SHBC in most cases does not allow code standards to be waived. Instead, the SHBC provides for alternative methods to achieve reasonable levels of safety. Where prescriptive code alternatives are not identified in the SHBC, determination of the code lies with the State Historical Building Safety Board to provide interpretations, hear appeals or act as a review body to state and local agencies or any affected party. A qualified preservation architect familiar with the SHBC can help you determine the specific advantages to using this code for your structure.

For information on the State Historical Building Safety Board see:

State Historical Building Safety Board

To review the text of the code visit:

California Historical Building Code