One of California’s most valuable tools for the preservation of historic resources is the California Historical Building Code (CHBC), which is defined in Sections 18950 to 18961 of Division 13, Part 2.7 of Health and Safety Code (H&SC). The CHBC is intended to save California’s architectural heritage by recognizing the unique construction issues inherent in maintaining and adaptively reusing historic buildings. The CHBC provides alternative building regulations for permitting repairs, alterations and additions necessary for the preservation, rehabilitation, relocation, related construction, change of use, or continued use of a “qualified historical building or structure.”
Section 18955 of the Health and Safety Code defines a "qualified historical building or structure” as “any structure or property, collection of structures, and their associated sites deemed of importance to the history, architecture, or culture of an area by an appropriate local or state governmental jurisdiction. This shall include structures on existing or future national, state or local historical registers or official inventories, such as the National Register of Historic Places, State Historical Landmarks, State Points of Historical Interest, and city or county registers or inventories of historical or architecturally significant sites, places, historic districts, or landmarks. This shall also include places, locations, or sites identified on these historical registers or official inventories and deemed of importance to the history, architecture, or culture of an area by an appropriate local or state governmental jurisdiction.”

The CHBC’s standards and regulations are intended to facilitate the rehabilitation or change of occupancy so as to preserve their original or restored elements and features, to encourage energy conservation and a cost effective approach to preservation, and to provide for reasonable safety from fire, seismic forces or other hazards for occupants and users of such buildings, structures and properties and to provide reasonable availability and usability by the physically disabled.

More information is available at the California State Historical Building Safety Board's website.

This web page has been updated with links to the California Historical Building Code's web page maintained by the Division of the State Architect. The 2016 version of the CHBC is available there, with links to order the 2019 Code.