By Steven Dannaway, PE – Operations Manager | Downtown Los Angeles Office

Not only do we have a new year to look forward to as 2023 is around the corner, but we also have a new building code cycle! The 2022 California Building Standards Code will become effective on January 1, 2023. The California Building Standards Code (CCR, Title 24) includes the following codes:

  • Part 1 – California Administrative Code
  • Part 2 – California Building Code
  • Part 2.5 – California Residential Code
  • Part 3 – California Electrical Code
  • Part 4 – California Mechanical Code
  • Part 5 – California Plumbing Code
  • Part 6 – California Energy Code
  • Part 8 – California Historical Building Code
  • Part 9 – California Fire Code
  • Part 10 – California Existing Building Code
  • Part 11 – California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen)
  • Part 12 – California Referenced Standards Code

Notable Changes

This article provides a general overview of several notable changes in the 2022 California Building Code (CBC). This is not an all-inclusive list of code changes. For additional details on changes to the California Building Standards Code, contact Coffman at the information provided below.

  • Automatic sprinkler systems are now required in Open Parking Garages with a fire area exceeding 48,000 sf, in high-rise buildings, and in buildings with a height exceeding 55 ft (CBC 903.2.10).
  • Common path of egress travel distance requirements no longer apply to unoccupied mechanical rooms and penthouses (CBC 1006.2.1).
  • With respect to exterior walls using metal composite material cladding (MCM panels), the alternate conditions section of CBC 1406.10 was removed. The presence of sprinklers inside the building no longer exempts a project from the need for NFPA 285 testing when MCM installations are greater than 40 ft in height (CBC 1406.10).
  • In other than Group I-2 occupancies, small spaces that only require one exit are now allowed to have their only means of egress through an elevator lobby (CBC 1016.2).
  • Elevator hoistways that contain the driving machine (MRL) are required to be provided with a means for venting smoke and hot gases to the outer air in case of fire. The vents must be operated by smoke detection in the hoistway. This code change entered the CBC in the July 1, 2021 supplement to the 2019 CBC and remains in the 2022 edition (CBC 3003.4).
  • Egress doors are no longer limited by a maximum nominal door leaf width. The CBC previously restricted the nominal width of a single door width to 48 in. Door opening force restrictions will still apply for larger-sized doors (CBC 1010.1.1).
  • A new exception allows an atrium to connect more than two stories without smoke control in other than Group I-2 occupancies. All stories above Level 2 must be separated from the atrium by the equivalent of shaft enclosure construction (CBC 404.5 Exception 2).
  • The HCAI requirements for Porte Cochere in Hospital Facilities, previously in HCAI CAN 2-508, have been integrated into the CBC. These requirements are referenced as “Covered Exterior Entrances” in healthcare facilities and involve provisions for mixed occupancy approaches, sprinkler protection, and type of construction (CBC 508.2.4, 508.4, 903.2.21).
  • Exit passageways are now permitted to be bounded by a two-hour horizontal assembly in lieu of extending the fire barrier walls of the exit passageway up to the underside of the floor assembly above. Also known as “tunnel construction,” this new exception in the code codifies a design approach that is commonly utilized where MEP utilities cannot be routed around an exit passageway yet are restricted from penetrating the exit passageway enclosure in the same manner as interior exit stairway enclosures (CBC 707.5 Exception 3).
  • Fire protection curtain assemblies are now identified in the building code with clear standards that such products must meet. Such assemblies must be tested to UL 10D and installed in accordance with NFPA 80. The CBC does not specify where such assemblies can be used or are acceptable, which will be subject to determination by the design professional and Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ)(CBC 716.4).
  • Exit stairways and exit access stairways now require 10 footcandles of illumination when in use (CBC 1008.2.1).


Coffman offers code change presentations that satisfy AIA continuing education units. For more information, contact Steven Dannaway.

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