Winds of change are blowing! 2013 California Building Code changes July 1, 2015

Changes to the 2013 California Building Code are coming July 1st.

But it’s not just these changes that are causing many commercial landlords and tenants concern!

I want to highlight a few big changes to the 2013 California Building Code which take effect this July 1, 2015., but also I want to discuss a few items that are not changing in July but are still creating problems for many people.

These first two items — improper striping and signage — are on the top 10 “Readily Achievable” barrier removal list! Improper striping and signage really is the starting point for every professional plaintiff when looking for problems.

Let’s get this stuff right the first time!

Lets begin with the problematic or confusing codes that are not changing in July.

  • Disabled Parking striping, layout and arrangement
  • Angled disabled parking & loading zone length requirements

The current 2013 California Building code section 11B-502 tells us that we can stripe our disabled parking stalls a couple different ways.

For “Van Accessible” stalls:

  • We can either provide a 9’ wide by 18’ long disabled stall with an 8’ wide by 18’ long “Van Accessible” loading zone on the passenger side or
  • We can provide a 12’ wide by 18’ long disabled stall with a 5’ wide by 18’ long loading zone on the passenger side.

Remember that your very first disabled stall must be “Van Accessible” and 1 in every 6 disabled stalls must be “Van Accessible”

Once the minimum number of Van accessible stalls has been met then the remaining disabled stalls can be standard disabled stall layout.

Standard disabled stalls are 9’ wide by 18’ long with a 5’ wide by 18’ long loading zone on either the driver or passenger side.

Section 11B-502 Disabled Parking Spaces:

Section 11B-502.3 Access aisle: Access aisles serving parking spaces shall comply with section 11B-502.3. Access aisles shall adjoin an accessible route. Two parking spaces shall be permitted to share a common access aisle.

Section 11B-502.2.3.1 Width: Access aisles serving car or van parking spaces shall be 5’ wide minimum.

Section 11B-502.2.3.2 Length: Access aisles shall extend the full “required” length of the parking spaces they serve.

It’s this section that is now causing a lot of trouble for angled stalls. The loading zone is required to extend the full length of the stall(s) they serve.

The only fix for non-compliant existing angled disabled stalls is to do one of two things. First, identify where these angled stalls are located.

  • Out in the parking lot across the drive aisle from the building?
  • Are they up against the building with a curb and sidewalk at the front of the stall?

If the stalls are out in the parking lot and the rows of parking are angled, then the fix will be to “lengthen” the loading zones by striping to extend the full length of stall. This is sometimes easier said than done. The current length of the stalls and the width of the adjoining drive aisle must be measured to see if this can be done properly.

If the angled stalls face a building or curb and walkway, the fix can be more difficult. To keep these stalls angled at this point would require cutting into the sidewalk and curb and create an extended area that will allow the loading zone to extend full depth.

Or, re-stripe the disabled angled stall set only to provide a perpendicular layout and create a triangle cross hatched area to transition to angled parking for the remaining standard parking stalls.

I have included a few diagrams that demonstrate the requirements above.


Over the last 15 years I have seen this next item miss-used, over-used or completely eliminated all together. It’s actually been pretty funny how many non-compliant design applications of the 12” Grooved Border I have come across over the years. Just to set the record straight, these grooved borders are only required on curb cut ramps. Not all ramps.

11B-406 Curb ramps

11B-406.5.11 Grooved border. Curb ramps shall have a grooved border 12 inches (305mm) wide along the top of the curb ramp at the level surface of the top landing and at the outside edges of the flared sides. The grooved border shall consist of a series of grooves ¼ inch (6.4mm) wide by ¼ inch (6.4) deep, at ¾ inch (19mm) on center.


1) At parallel curb ramps, the grooved border shall be on the upper approach immediately adjacent to the curb ramp across the full width of the curb ramp.

2) A grooved border shall not be required at blended transitions.



Well, say good-bye to the 12” grooved border on curb ramps. This code is being completely removed from the current 2013 California Building Code on July 1st.

Keep in mind that these changes do not require any commercial property owner who currently has compliant curb cut ramps with compliant 12” grooved borders to call up the concrete contractor and run out and remove the grooves. Any curb ramp that is already compliant with this existing 2013 CBC can remain as is. If new curb ramps are installed or older curb ramps modified after July 1st, they will not be required to provide 12” grooves.

If you have any questions regarding these changes and how they affect your property, give us a call.  We’re happy to help you!

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