CAPHCC Legislative Update, by Richard Markuson

CEO@caphcc.orgLegislative, News for PHCC Members - All

Water Submeters – SB 7 (WOLK)

SB 7 requires, as of January 1, 2017, that individual water meters, also called submeters, be installed on all new multifamily residential units or mixed commercial and multifamily units and requires that landlords bill residents for their incremental water use.

The California State Pipe Trades Council (plumbers union) and the Coalition of California Utility Employees opposed the bill arguing the bill sets “a precedent for the allowance of meter installation beyond the master meter by unskilled, untrained and possibly negligent individuals for what would appear to be an attempt to simply pass water accountability on to individual residents of an apartment dwelling without any controls.”

They sought amendments that would require that submeters “be installed by the water purveyor or other entity responsible for installing the master water meter for the service connection” and to allow the cost of the installation to be imposed on the water user by the water purveyor. The water purveyors opposed this and the plumbers union backed off but demanded this alternative:

Installation and maintenance of submeters shall be provided by licensed plumbers who are trained pursuant apprenticeship standards established by the Division of Apprenticeship Standards. 

PHCC argued that DAS has no roll in training C 36 contractors or, for that matter, any contractor. Further, the requirement would potentially subject the licensed contractor to joint supervision by the CSLB and DAS – an untenable solution to a fallacious problem.

The plumbers representative – upon questioning by some of the committee members – said the language didn’t reflect his intent and what he really wanted was to require any worker employed by a C 36 to perform the actual installation of the submeter have graduated from a California apprenticeship program – and he said there would be an ample supply of journeyworkers who could meet this requirement from either union or merit shop programs.

The bill, if signed, would go into effect 1/1/17 – and there was no mention of a phase in like in the other “skilled workforce requirements” meaning 100% of the plumbers installing submeters would have to have graduated from an apprenticeship program.

Aside from the language in SB 54 (refinery work) this is the first effort to control workforce makeup in private work – and suggests this could take root in every new bill dealing with construction. It would appear the building trades want to reduce and eventually eliminate any journeyworker who didn’t graduate from an apprenticeship program.

Pre-apprenticeship – AB 509

AB 509 by Assembly Member Perea would exempt some pre-apprenticeship programs from the provisions of the California Private Postsecondary Education Act if they partner with one or more labor-management (union sponsored) apprenticeship programs that are approved by the Division of Apprenticeship Standards. (Oppose). The bill was approved in Senate Education and headed back to the Assembly and Governor Brown. Perea has received over $200,000 from general trade unions – his second largest contributor.


Prevailing Wage – AB 251

AB 251 by Assembly Member Levine that will trigger prevailing wages if a public subsidy is both less than $250,000 and less than 2% of the total project cost is headed to Governor Brown. He vetoed the same bill last year but many believe he will sign this bill with the higher thresholds. (Oppose)

Settlement Disclosure – SB 465

The Assembly Business & Professions Committee rejected SB 465 by State Senator Jerry Hill (Oppose) that would have mandated construction contractors inform the CSLB of any settlements of $25,000 or more. The bill arose from the deadly balcony collapse in Berkeley.

Minimum Water Heater Energy Factor Reference Guide

The California Energy Commission has developed the Minimum Water Heater Energy Factor Reference Guide.  This guide serves as a reference tool to help quickly identify the minimum energy factor (EF) required for water heaters.  This guide also includes the minimum EFs and other important information regarding the installation of heat pump water heaters for prescriptive alterations.  The Minimum Water Heater Energy Factor Reference Guide is available at:

Help With the 2013 Building Energy Efficiency Standards

You can obtain assistance with understanding or locating information in the 2013 Energy Standards, at the Energy Standards Hotline at: (800) 772-3300 (toll-free in California); (916) 654-5106 (outside California); or via e-mail at  For more information: