September 27, 2021

Volume XI, Number 270


September 24, 2021

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City of Los Angeles Moves to Increase Building Standards for New Construction

Yesterday the Los Angeles City Council adopted a motion entitled Building a Safer Los Angeles (“Motion”) that would significantly expand the fire rating requirements for new buildings and restrict the use of light wood-frame construction throughout large parts of the City of Los Angeles.  The Motion is broadly written and, contrary to some reports in the press, it does not call for exemptions based on building size or square footage.

In summary, the Motion directs City staff to prepare and present an ordinance that expands the requirements for Fire District 1 to all areas:

  • With high population density of at least 5,000 or more residents per square mile; and
  • Subject to the California’s Very High Fire Severity Zone and the City’s High Wind Velocity Zone.

The Motion also calls for: (1) mandating a Fire Protection Plan for all new and significantly altered projects over 150,000 square feet and/or 10,000 square feet if over 30 feet in height; and (2) recommendations to ensure skilled workers are employed for new multi-family and commercial structures within Fire District 1.

The Motion was originally introduced in 2019 by Councilmembers Blumenfield and Rodriguez.  The Motion was supported by a coalition of labor and advocates for concrete construction but was met with resistance form business groups and some affordable housing developers.  Some of the concerns raised were that, in theory, such an ordinance could conflict with the state Building Code and increase construction costs by limiting the use of Type V construction.

Copyright © 2021, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 98

About this Author

Alfred Fraijo California real estate and Land Use Lawyer Sheppard Mullin

Alfred Fraijo is a partner in the Real Estate, Land Use and Natural Resources practice group in the firm's Los Angeles office.  He is a leader of the firm's Latin America Practice Group, a global initiative to provide specialized legal representation to Hispanic/Latino-owned companies and companies focused on the U.S. Latino market.

Areas of Practice

Mr. Fraijo grows his expertise on cutting edge real estate transactions for public, private and nonprofit developers and multi-national corporations in the United States and abroad.  He recently was featured in "...

Reuben Duarte Land Use Planner Sheppard Mullin Los Angeles, CA
Land Use Planner

Reuben Duarte is a senior planner in the Real Estate, Land Use, and Environmental Practice Group in the firm’s Los Angeles office.

Areas of Expertise

Reuben has over seven years of experience guiding developers, property owners, and other business entities throughout California through the land use entitlement and regulatory process, from early due diligence through construction, including project entitlements and approvals, regulatory and environmental compliance (CEQA), stakeholder engagement, community outreach, and project management.