Preserving Buildings and Life Safety Too: Effective Use of the California State Historic Building Code

How does the California State Historical Building Code (CHBC) interact with the basic California Existing Building Code? What are the upsides and downsides for building owners in using the code? This webinar concentrates on the fire and life safety provisions of the CHBC and on how those provisions vary from the requirements in the California Existing Building Code that applies to buildings not utilizing the CHBC.

This intermediate level course identifies the costs and benefits of using the CHBC. It is targeted towards mid-career professionals with some experience in preservation architecture, and attendees should be familiar with basics of the CHBC.

Learning Objectives

  1. Learn when and when not to use the SHBC for a project.
  2. Identify the key fire and life safety provisions of the SHBC and how they differ from those in the California Existing Building Code.
  3. Learn how to validate the fire resistance of archaic materials and how to balance life safety with preservation of historic fabric.
  4. Recognize the key issues for means of egress design for historic buildings and how they differ from those for other existing buildings.


Steven Winkel, FAIA, PE, CASp manages the San Francisco Bay Area office of The Preview Group, Inc., an architectural consulting firm that specializes in building code consulting and regulatory issues affecting designers.  Steve has over 45 years’ experience as a licensed architect, civil engineer, landscape architect and certified access specialist. Steve is in his fifth 4-year term as the Architect Commissioner on the California Building Standards Commission.  He was for eight years a member of the City of Berkeley Landmarks Preservation Commission and was chair of the commission during part of his term. Steve’s award-winning preservation experience includes building code and accessibility code consulting for the seismic update and renovation of the War Memorial Veterans Building in San Francisco and for the seismic repair and renovation of the Oakland City Hall. He is the author, along with noted illustrator Frank Ching, of the well-received book Building Codes Illustrated for John Wiley & Sons, now in preparation of its 6th edition.