EPA cracking down on Air Quality Violations

EPA Fining for Dirty Air

If you are a business, plant, whatever and have a lot of traffic/ trucks coming in and out of your lot stirring up dust then EPA might fine you as well. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the ARB (Air Resources Board) are working together in the fight for clean air.

The Federal Clean Air Act (FCAA) is a federal law that passed in 1970 (last amended in 1990) for national air pollution control effort. The basic elements of the act include: hazardous air pollutants standards, state attainment plans, motor vehicle emission standards, stationary source emission standards and permits, acid rain control measures, stratospheric ozone protection, and enforcement provisions.

ARB mainly focuses on reducing emissions from a growing universe of emission sources which include: Mobile sources ex. commercial trucks, Goods Movement Sources ex. railroads, Gasoline, Diesel, and other fuels, and cargo tanks used to transport products, “Area” sources which individually emit small quantities of pollutants but collectively emit significant emissions, which include chemically formulated consumer products like aerosol coating products or indoor air cleaning devices.

The Air Resources Board also oversees air pollution control and air quality management districts in controlling air pollution caused by industrial sources, such as power plants. ARB’s regulation is the basic principle that the air quality goals can not be met unless compliance is achieved.

The Environmental Protection Agency comes and does some testing to see how the clean the air is, if it is not meeting the local standards the company will have to meet EPA’s recommendations. If they do not they will be fined.

EPA statement about Clean Air

Dust emissions are a public-health and environmental-health concern. Particles can settle in the lungs if breathed in and are associated with various health problems, EPA officials said.

The Air Resources Board continues to be the leader in the world development of innovative air pollution control strategies. This will help protect the public from illnesses caused by air pollution.

DiJulio Law Group

California Residential Building Codes for Double-Hung Windows

California Building Codes for double-hung windows

California Building Codes regulate the size and location of double-hung windows. These codes govern window size, how wide they open, how many windows should be installed in a residence, the material windows are made of and the type of window glass used. California updates its building codes every three years and is scheduled to update its building codes in 2013. These updated codes will then go into effect in January 2014.

California Residential Code Section R310

California Residential Code Section R310 requires residences to have at least one emergency escape route and rescue opening in each habitable room, including basements. Escape routes should open directly into a public way or to an area that opens directly onto a public way.

California Residential Code Section R303

California Residential Code Section R303 spells out the percentage of your home’s aggregate glazing area, which includes visible glass and the translucent part of a window or door. In other words, there are codes governing the size and number of windows in your residence.

California Residential Code Section R327

Exterior windows, according to California Residential Code Section R327, must be constructed of multi-pane glazing with at least one tempered pane, when individual panes are smaller than one square foot or constructed of glass block units, or have a fire-resistance rating of at least 20 minutes based on requirements developed by the National Fire Protection Association.

California Residential Code Section R310

According to California Residential Code Section R308, windows that are smaller than nine square feet don’t have to use safety, or tempered glass, unless the windows are less than five feet above a bathtub or shower, are within two feet of a door’s swing and less than five feet from the floor, or a “walk-through” hazard.

DiJulio Law Group

How to Fix Building Code Violations

Fixing violations is simple

Fixing building code violations is a simple process, though, requiring little more than contacting the right repair people and finishing the repair process in time for the follow-up inspection. Approaching the problem in a timely and efficient manner is the key, but done correctly should have you up to code with time to spare.

Make a Checklist of Building Code Violations

Make a checklist of all of your building code violations grouped into categories based on contractor type. This ensures quick completion of the repairs that won’t have your contractors getting in one another’s way.

Download the Building Code for Your Area

Download the building codes for your area from an online site like http://www.bsc.ca.gov/ . Reference the codes to determine the extent of repair necessary to fix each individual violation.

Contact a Building Code Consultant

Contact a building code consultant in your area if you are unsure about how to bring a particular violation up to code.

Obtain a Work Permit

Obtain a work permit, if necessary for construction, to proceed with the building repairs.

Hire a licensed Contractor

Contact and hire licensed contractors to handle the repair work for your building. Ask around among other building owners in the area for contractors with a reputation for good work that’s completed within the estimated project times.

Repair Structural Violations

Repair structural violations first. Handle major repairs that involve going into the interior of the walls, such as wiring, plumbing or anything else of this nature, before any other repairs. This will make sure you won’t have to undo any superficial repairs later to gain access to the structure of the building.

Repair Fire Safety Code Violations

Repair any fire safety code violations next. Make sure that your building meets all codes for fire safety in your locale, installing sprinkler systems, alarms or fire extinguishers as needed.

Make Accessibility Changes

Make any accessibility changes necessary. This includes any ramps or handrails. Hire a licensed architect to make any changes in the building required for accessibility options such as widening doors for wheelchair access.

Put Up Signs as Required

Put up any signs required by local building codes such as maximum occupancy rates or exit signs. Make any other minor superficial repairs required as well.
DiJulio Law Group

How Long Does a Landlord Have to Fix a Plumbing Problem?

Landlord must meet building and health codes

In California, your landlord must meet state and local building and health codes. See http://www.dca.ca.gov .

Major Plumbing Issues

Your rental unit likely will be considered uninhabitable if it has inadequate sanitation, if the plumbing facilities are not in good working order, if you do not have hot and cold running water or if your system is not properly connected to a sewage disposal system. Your landlord must supply a working toilet, wash basin, and bathtub or shower.

Minor Plumbing Issues

A dripping faucet does not make your unit uninhabitable. Before you contact your landlord, read your lease or rental agreement as some agreements make the tenant responsible for minor repairs. Your landlord is not responsible for repairing damage that you or your guests have caused. You have no right to ask the landlord to carry out statutory repairs if you are not current on the rent.

Notify Your Landlord

Your landlord is not obliged to fix the defect unless he knows about it. Notify your landlord in writing, and preferably by certified mail, that he has a duty to fix the plumbing problem under landlord-tenant law.

Time to Complete Repairs

The law usually considers 30 days to be a reasonable period of time, but a shorter period may be appropriate in some circumstances. If your pipes have burst, spilling water into the unit, a day or two may be reasonable, assuming that the landlord can employ a qualified repair person within that time period.

Can I Complete the Repairs myself?

If your landlord does not make the repairs in a reasonable time, you may pay for the repair yourself and deduct the cost from your rent. Alternatively, you may withhold a capped portion of the rent until the landlord makes the unit habitable. In certain cases, you may move out and abandon the lease so that you have no further liability for the rent. These remedies apply only in the most serious cases affecting the unit’s habitability. The landlord can file a countersuit if you get it wrong so it’s worth consulting an attorney before you take self-help action.

DiJulio Law Group

What Is a Building Code?

A Building Code is a set of standards

Building code is the set of standards your local government imposes on construction. Before issuing a “certificate of occupancy” pronouncing a building as fit to inhabit, the government’s building department inspects the house to make sure it complies with the code. If the building comes up short of the code standards, the problems will have to be fixed before the certificate is issued.

Building Code History

Construction laws date back to ancient Babylon, but those rules emphasized penalties for faulty construction, according to the Alameda, California, city website. In the 19th century, cities began drawing up codes that set requirements for new construction and hiring inspectors to make sure the codes were met. The first building code in California was the 1909 State Tenement Housing Act.

Building Code Features

One of the first American building codes, New York’s Tenement Housing Act of 1867, required fire escapes on every building and a window in every room, Alameda says in its history of building codes. Later guidelines required interior toilets and windows that face outside, not just a hallway. Modern building codes go into far more detail, covering construction materials, window sizes, the placement of electrical outlets, building height and the space required between one building and its neighbor.

Building Code Uniformity

Although local governments pass their own building codes, they don’t have to do it from scratch. Organizations such as the International Code Council work to draw up “model” codes incorporating what have been found to be the best rules. State groups such as California’s Building Standards Commission then adopt model codes as the state standard, the BSC states, giving cities and counties a basis for their own rules.

Building Code Considerations

The use of model building codes doesn’t mean rules are the same everywhere. California, for example, imposes rules for earthquake-resistant construction that aren’t needed in other parts of the country. Likewise, Florida’s building codes set standards for coastal buildings to resist hurricane-force winds, a set of guidelines that aren’t necessary in Nebraska or Iowa.

Building Code Procedure

It may take several inspections at different stages of construction to ensure that your building meets local codes. San Francisco’s building department, for instance, states that it inspects construction at multiple points, including when reinforcing steel is in place, rough framing is up, insulation is installed and sheetrock is in place. The same applies to inspections to approve the electrical and plumbing systems.

DiJulio Law Group

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