California bill to release the state's building codes online for free

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes,

Assemblyman Brian Nestande of California has introduced Assembly Bill 292, which would open source the California Code of Regulations (including the Building Codes). The summary reads:

"This bill would provide that the full text of the California Code of Regulations shall bear an open access creative commons attribution license, allowing any individual, at no cost, to use, distribute, and create derivative works based on the material for either commercial or noncommercial purposes."

Public.Resource.Org has bulk data for the CCR and the public safety codes (known as Title 24) online, but this would all be way easier if we didn't have to double-key the building codes every 3 years and jump on the West CD-ROM every 2 months to extract the data. This move would lead to tremendous innovation, just like we've seen when the Federal Register went open source in bulk.

The bill sponsor, Assemblyman Nestande, has a long background in public policy and IP. He was campaign manager for Sonny Bono's successful 1994 congressional campaign.

An act to amend Section 11344 of the Government Code, relating to the California Code of Regulations. (Thanks, Carl!)


  1. Haha finally, after my boss at my last architecture job made a thing about buying me a pdf of the building code as a going away present when I quit :D

  2. Why is this a thing?  (I know, I know, I’m not dead).  But, ALL laws and public codes and that kind of stuff should be freely available, for FREE (because PUBLIC).  It is too bad that this has to be news.  Let us hope it catches on.  Feh!

  3. In my area (mid-Atlantic coast)  products are sold at home supply centers and the like that proudly claim to be compliant with the California Building Code.  The implication is that this code is more stringent due to the famous earthquakes and attendant fires.

    However, the local tradesmen claim (and this is pure hearsay, take it with a healthy dose of salt) that the California regulating authorities are entirely corrupt, and code approval is driven by bribery and/or cronyism, and that many of the “California grade” products are absolute crap.

    I myself have used wall anchors for concrete block that were labeled as “California legal” that were terrible – they barely held a wooden shelf up, and only due to the load angle.  You could literally pull them out with your fingers, although I followed all instructions and used the included drill bit.

    I would love to hear from some informed folks on the ground in Cali about this.  Is the code approval authority as corrupt as the school textbook approval process?  Or is that just a local legend here on the Right Coast?

    1. Building codes here are very stringent. At least in SF and Palm Springs. I don’t particularly think that corruption is a significant issue.

      1. Hmm, maybe Hanlon’s Razor explains those anchors, then, or just some unscrupulous vendors making grandiose claims.  Thanks!

  4. Coming from a family of electricians, I get to hear all about the graft, cronyism, and vested interests that are behind developing electrical codes in Michigan. You would be shocked, SHOCKED, at the petty shit that goes in because someone stands to make a dollar somewhere.

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