Governor Brown Signs Bill to Increase Building Construction Oversight

On September 15, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 465 by Senators Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) and Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) and supported by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.

This important piece of legislation requires the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, after consultation with the Contractors State Licensing Board, to make available copies of any citations or actions taken by the division against a contractor. This bill establishes greater accountability for contractors and ensures the public has critical disciplinary information about contractor licenses.

An example of this need for transparency can be seen by the tragic balcony collapse that killed six people in Berkeley in 2015. The company responsible has reportedly paid out $26.5 million in construction defect settlements, but that information was not known to the Contractors State Licensing Board or to the District Attorney’s Office.

Back row (L-R): California Government Operations Agency Secretary Marybel Batjer, Irish Immigration Pastoral Center President Celine Kennelly, Dermot Burke (victim Olivia Burke's uncle), Amanda Donohoe (victim Ashley Donohoe's sister), Senator Hill, Alameda County Chief Assistant District Attorney Kevin Dunleavy.

Front row (L-R): Irish Consul General in San Francisco Philip Grant, George Donohoe (victim Ashley Donohoe's father), Governor Brown, Jackie Donohoe (victim Ashley Donohoe's mother), Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister of State Joe McHugh.

Formerly, state law did not require contractors to report defect settlements cases to the Contractors State Licensing Board. Such disclosure requirements are routine for other professionals, such as doctors, architects, and engineers. This bill empowers the Contractors State Licensing Board, like other boards, to be made aware of licensee behavior for which they need to take swift action to promote health and safety.

“SB 465 will help both consumers and the regulating body access the necessary information to make informed decisions about the quality of contractors. We hope this valuable piece of legislation will ensure that a tragic accident, such as the one that occurred in Berkeley, will never happen again,” said District Attorney Nancy O’Malley.


Posted on Sep 16, 2016