After decades of dealing with a hodgepodge of local adoption (or not) of administrative codes relating to building permit extensions, California Governor Brown’s September 21, 2018 signature on AB 2913 is a welcome addition of at least six months to the existing statutory commencement of work period. AB 2913 allows a uniform 12-month period across the entire state for commencement of work after permit issuance, doubling the prior period. 

Because of the confluence of market demand and significant labor shortages in construction, the previously existing six-month expiration of building permits caused further hardship to developers and builders in their efforts to bring projects to market.  Since state law mandates that a permit require all projects to be built according to the code in existence at the time of the first permit issuance, this hardship was particularly acute where a building code change was adopted after the original permit date, and the permit then expired. In this market, the cost of code changes (and any redesign, cost of compliance, and rebidding potentially) could significantly impact the project cost and timeline. 

There is a further benefit to the amended statute: it expressly provides “good cause” for an additional six-month extension (which would be in addition to the 12 months for new permits) by local jurisdictions, something not previously adopted by all local jurisdictions or clearly available to developers and builders before. 

The amendment applies prospectively, not retroactively; only permits issued after September 21, 2018 will benefit from the new 12-month period.