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  1. #1
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    Default CA Senate Bill No. 969 - The law goes into effect July 1, 2019

    A Change in California Law Will Affect Professional Home Inspectors
    Senate Bill No. 969 - The law goes into effect July 1, 2019
    California has recently had its most destructive fire season with widespread power outages that made it difficult and or impossible for some to escape. With the loss of electricity, garage door openers were impacted and deaths were attributed to homeowners becoming trapped and who perished because they could not open their garage doors manually.
    Reports from the 2017 Northern California fires recounted stories of neighbors stopping to help raise garage doors for elderly people who didn't have the strength to manually open their garage door, and a mother who struggled to get her disabled son into a car because their custom van was in the garage they couldn't open.
    On September 1, 2018 Governor Brown signed SB 969 into law. This legislation requires newly sold or installed garage door openers in residential applications to have battery backup up in the state of California.
    California SB 969 Facts!
    • The law goes into effect July 1, 2019.
    • The law applies to all new garage doors and garage door opener installations.
    • Homeowners must install a battery backup opener when a new door is installed or when they replace their existing opener.
    • Existing openers in use will not have to be replaced with battery backup openers unless the door is being replaced.
    • On or after July 1, 2019 no person, corporation, or entity shall manufacture for sale in this state, sell, offer for sale at retail or wholesale, or install in the state of California a residential automatic garage door opener that does not a have battery backup function that is designed to operate when activated because of an electrical outage.
    • Failure to follow this will result in a civil penalty of $1000 per opener installed and operational.

    Here is what was signed into law:
    This bill, beginning July 1, 2019, requires an automatic garage door opener that is manufactured for sale, sold, offered for sale, or installed in a residence to have a battery backup function that is designed to operate when activated because of an electrical outage. This bill would make a violation of those provisions subject to a civil penalty of $1,000. This bill will, on and after July 1, 2019, prohibit a replacement residential garage door from being installed in a manner that connects the door to an existing garage door opener that does not meet the requirements of these provisions.
    For additional information CREIA members are encouraged to visit CREIA's Technical Information Exchange "TIE" page and review input from several of CREIA's top inspectors on this new law. You can see and provide your own thoughts on how this new law will affect our Standard of Care in testing and reporting on this new life saving requirement.
    California Real Estate Inspection Association
    949-715-1768 info@creia.org www.creia.org


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  2. #2
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    Default Re: CA Senate Bill No. 969 - The law goes into effect July 1, 2019

    Of similar concern are garage door opener receptacles that are GFCI protected, which I believe is now required by code. If the actual GFCI outlet is overhead it's kinda tough to reset if a vehicle is below it, or if you don't have a ladder handy.

    A few weeks ago I inspected a home with a 12.5' high ceiling in the garage, which is where the GFCI receptacle that protected all of the garage outlets was located. How stupid is that? I reset it with my probe (an extendable bamboo fishing pole) from atop my step ladder.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: CA Senate Bill No. 969 - The law goes into effect July 1, 2019

    Yeah, we've been going on about this for a couple of months now. Just another poorly thought-out (or not at all thought-out) law on our books that pretty much only succeeds in increasing costs to consumers.

    What can you do? Legislators have to legislate.

    Department of Redundancy Department
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: CA Senate Bill No. 969 - The law goes into effect July 1, 2019

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Yeah, we've been going on about this for a couple of months now. Just another poorly thought-out (or not at all thought-out) law on our books that pretty much only succeeds in increasing costs to consumers.

    What can you do? Legislators have to legislate.
    While it may be poorly thought out, if thought about at all as you said, I can understand the need for it in wild fire country.

    The same thing was talked about here in Flow-Dah after Hurricane Andrew blew so many overhead garage doors in that people couldn't get their cars out of their garages, but here, the discussion changed to 'we need to keep the garage doors from being blown in' ... and that is what happened.

    Some garage door designs, and especially 'retro-fit kits' for existing garage doors, are such that, after the storm, it may take a bit to remove braces which kept the overhead garage doors from buckling, but may not keep them from binding the braces in place and making the braces difficult to remove.

    The difference, though, is that here if Florida, getting the car out of the garage might be considered a luxury so you don't have to walk to get water and ice - whereas in California, the necessity to be able to get the car out of the garage with not electrical power may likely be the difference between being able to flee (evacuate) or be trapped in a house which is then burned to the ground ... with you in it.

    I would hope ... strange and unrealistic word there "hope" ... that they would think of 'protecting the houses so wild fires won't burn them to the ground'. Seems to me to be a better idea than trying to drive through roads which are basically on fire.

    First, go with non-combustible roofing (there go the wood shakes/shingles and fiberglass shingles) and which basically leaves concrete/clay tiles or metal roofing.

    Keep the roof from catching on fire and the house is easier to protect, then (already being done) protect attic and crawlspace vents from hot embers being blown in through those vents.

    Keep grass and other combustible plants back from the perimeter of the house in case they catch on fire they won't catch the house siding on fire. Remember those old movies which show the houses in the central plains and west areas with dirt around the houses? Nothing for prairie fires to get close to the houses.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: CA Senate Bill No. 969 - The law goes into effect July 1, 2019

    My question is: Is this even an available product? Or are they legislating into being a product?

    I would think that a better non-electric back-up system could be devised.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: CA Senate Bill No. 969 - The law goes into effect July 1, 2019

    Quote Originally Posted by C Paul Douglas View Post
    My question is: Is this even an available product? Or are they legislating into being a product? I would think that a better non-electric back-up system could be devised.
    C Paul,

    Yes, they are available and being installed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    While it may be poorly thought out, if thought about at all as you said, I can understand the need for it in wild fire country.
    The problem that I see is that these units have battery backups. Rechargeable batteries need to be replaced periodically, but these won't be unless someone legislates 10 year openers like they legislated 10 year batteries in smoke alarms.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The same thing was talked about here in Flow-Dah after Hurricane Andrew blew so many overhead garage doors in that people couldn't get their cars out of their garages, but here, the discussion changed to 'we need to keep the garage doors from being blown in' ... and that is what happened.

    Some garage door designs, and especially 'retro-fit kits' for existing garage doors, are such that, after the storm, it may take a bit to remove braces which kept the overhead garage doors from buckling, but may not keep them from binding the braces in place and making the braces difficult to remove.

    The difference, though, is that here if Florida, getting the car out of the garage might be considered a luxury so you don't have to walk to get water and ice - whereas in California, the necessity to be able to get the car out of the garage with not electrical power may likely be the difference between being able to flee (evacuate) or be trapped in a house which is then burned to the ground ... with you in it.
    Except that most of the metal garage doors around here are reasonably lightweight. If you are in your garage and have something big that can bust through the door (say... a car), then bust through. Who really cares if your car gets dented?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I would hope ... strange and unrealistic word there "hope" ... that they would think of 'protecting the houses so wild fires won't burn them to the ground'. Seems to me to be a better idea than trying to drive through roads which are basically on fire.

    First, go with non-combustible roofing (there go the wood shakes/shingles and fiberglass shingles) and which basically leaves concrete/clay tiles or metal roofing.
    A lot of work has been done to modify the codes for homes built in WUI (wildland/urban interface) areas with eave vents that close-off, tempered glazing, etc. New construction, of course. Nothing regarding existing homes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Keep the roof from catching on fire and the house is easier to protect, then (already being done) protect attic and crawlspace vents from hot embers being blown in through those vents.

    Keep grass and other combustible plants back from the perimeter of the house in case they catch on fire they won't catch the house siding on fire. Remember those old movies which show the houses in the central plains and west areas with dirt around the houses? Nothing for prairie fires to get close to the houses.
    Too many people don't want to keep the "ladder fuels" under control. They want brush and other forms of flammable material immediately adjacent to their house because it looks purty. How about prescribed burns? These have been shown to be very effective in reducing the kindling that builds up on the ground and makes wildfires less deadly. Apparently, they are used quite frequently in the southeast, but for some reason, we just don't do it here.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  7. #7
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    Default Re: CA Senate Bill No. 969 - The law goes into effect July 1, 2019

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    How about prescribed burns? These have been shown to be very effective in reducing the kindling that builds up on the ground and makes wildfires less deadly. Apparently, they are used quite frequently in the southeast, but for some reason, we just don't do it here.
    Yes, prescribed burns are quite common in the Florida wooded/forestry areas.

    I suspect they are not as common there due to the mountains - Florida is rather flat ... quite flat, but not as flat as Kansas, I can see how a control burn (prescribed burn) could quite easily get out of control on the side of a mountain.

    Start at the top and work down, but if the wind whips up, the trees could catch on fire and now you have a wild fire.

    Start with large area fire sprinklers and put them in a test area to see if they actually work: http://www.onestopfire.com/sprinklers.htm

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: CA Senate Bill No. 969 - The law goes into effect July 1, 2019

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I suspect they are not as common there due to the mountains - Florida is rather flat ... quite flat, but not as flat as Kansas, I can see how a control burn (prescribed burn) could quite easily get out of control on the side of a mountain.
    Possibly part of it, but apparently its largely a matter of education. People don't like change and this control burns are newfangled (to us).

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Start with large area fire sprinklers and put them in a test area to see if they actually work: http://www.onestopfire.com/sprinklers.htm
    I believe I read about someone that had that setup somewhere in this general area that did manage to save the house. I suspect it needs a pretty good sized storage tank.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  9. #9
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    Default Re: CA Senate Bill No. 969 - The law goes into effect July 1, 2019

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    I suspect it needs a pretty good sized storage tank.
    With a likely minimum of two sprinkler heads ... each putting out 17 gpm ... and running it 2 hours before a fire gets there ... 34 gpm x 120 minutes = 4,080 gallons for that 2 hour head start, then run it another hour or two as the fire burns past ... that'd be 10,000 gallons.

    You'd maybe still have 5,000 gallons left in your swimming pool ... if you had a pool.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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