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Erin Guerrero, Vice President of Legislative Affairs for the California Building Industry Association (CBIA), reviewed legislative issues in the state during the recent AAMA Western Region Summer Summit, focusing on legislation related to housing.

The statistics on housing in California are staggering, with many Californians priced out of the market. Issues related to building low income housing include the cost of land, which is constantly rising, as well as the prevailing wages (due to the power of the unions). The prevailing wage (which can vary) can add up to 40 percent to the cost of building a home. Conservation maps also impose costs and delay development due to legislative hurdles.

Guerrero noted that last year, California passed 15 bills to deal with the housing crisis, which may be moderately helpful. CBIA supports bills that make building multi-family housing easier (including in-fill building). This would certainly alleviate some of the concerns with the housing crisis.

Due to the housing crisis in California, rent control is expected to be on the next ballot. “No economist feels pricing control is a good idea. This will potentially be an ugly campaign, which [CBIA] will oppose,” Guerrero stated.

There were not many recent changes by the California Energy Commission related to windows and doors. Some examples include increasing the prescriptive requirements for wood doors and updating a fenestration definition to match NFRC's definition.

The recent requirement for solar panelsrecent requirement for solar panels is to prove that over 30 years a homeowner will receive a return on investment (ROI) on these products. However, the grid could not hold all of energy created by solar panels during peak hours, which is why battery storage became so important. It is estimated that the recently approved solar lease would save about 20 percent on energy cost.

During the question and answer portion of the session, a summit participant asked, “What can the building industry do to make it easier to build in California?”

“Political engagement is really the only way,” Guerrero responded.