Contractors Wary Of Looming Calif. Home Improvement Law
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — If you’re planning to remodel your kitchen or make other home improvements in 2014, it could cost you more than you’re willing to spend.
Effective Jan. 1, 2014, a 2009 state law introduced by a Southland lawmaker will require some homeowners to install water-saving fixtures on toilets, shower heads and faucets throughout the house.
“After you’re done with your regular inspector you deal with the green inspector. They double-check certain things that maybe the regular inspector is not looking for,” said Alan Erdy, who’s remodeling his two-bedroom home in Studio City.
Senate Bill 407 (PDF) calls for any residential and commercial property built and available for use on or before January 1, 1994, to replacing plumbing fixtures that are not water conserving.
Authored by State Senator Alex Padilla, the bill was initially crafted by Sacramento lawmakers — with heavy support from state water agencies — to reduce urban water consumption and work towards slashing water use statewide by 20 percent by 2020.
The bill calls for low-flow fixture upgrades in all homes, apartments and commercial buildings built in 1994 or earlier — about 11 million single-family homes and buildings statewide, according to U.S. Census data, the Sacramento Bee reported.
Gone are the days of the car-wash shower.
“You cannot have that on because it’s too much water, you’re wasting a lot of water,” according to Diane Gonzales of Universal Kitchen and Bath.
Gonzales said some customers aren’t taking to the news too well.
“Especially on the toilets, they’re like, ‘Whoa, wait a minute!’” she said.
Some manufacturers have even made changes to their toilet, shower head and faucet products to comply with the law.
“If they didn’t change it we’re not going to be selling their product and we’re going to be selling the product that is approved in California,” she said.
The Association of California Water Agencies, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission sponsored SB 407 — which was modeled after similar programs in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco — in an effort Padilla said “will help Californians use water more efficiently and more responsibly.”
But since the passage of the bill, local government building officials and contractors have largely been uncertain of its impact, with some predicting a sharp spike in demand for building permits ahead of the Jan. 1 deadline.
A home fixture expert at Universal Kitchen and Bath said that California is leading the green initiative and the rest of the nation is expected to follow.
“They want to save water so what better way to do it than on the new constructions and remodels?” said Erdy, who hopes to have his renovations finished by February. “I understand why so I can live with it…And if you’re saving water and helping the environment that’s even better.”