Construction Observation Process
The HCAI Facilities Development Division (FDD) uses a Field Compliance Unit for healthcare construction oversight and to confirm projects are in compliance with California Building Standards Codes.
Below is shown an abbreviated summary of the Construction Observation process for a health facility.
Please refer to the construction observation additional information document for a broader explanation of the process.
Step 1 – Building Permit Issued
Upon plan approval, a building permit (OSH-FD-302 Application for Building Permit) is issued and construction begins.
Step 2 – Inspector of Record (IOR) Approved
An Inspector of Record (IOR) approved by the hospital governing board or authority is employed by the facility and works under the direction of the Design Professional of Record. The approved IOR with the required personal knowledge performs only those duties associated with the required continuous inspections, and executes the required inspections specific to the project(s) for which the IOR has been approved.
Step 3 – FDD Field Staff Visit the Construction Site
The FDD Field Compliance Unit staff periodically visit the construction site to:
- Ensure that requirements of the building code are being met.
- Monitor the performance of the IOR.
- Document the lack of adequate, competent, or continuous inspection.
Step 4 – FDD Regional Compliance Officer Tasks
The Regional Compliance Officer (RCO):
- Supervises the work activities of the field staff.
- Coordinates the monitoring of construction of heath facilities.
- Makes decisions regarding Alternate Methods of Compliance.
- Reviews qualifications and workload of Inspectors of Record (IOR).
- Monitors the on-going performance of IORs through assigned field staff.
- Issues building permits and stop work orders for unsafe, unauthorized, or non-complying construction work as necessary.
Step 5 – FDD Compliance Officer Tasks
The Compliance Officer (CO):
- Conducts construction observation of the health facility’s construction to ensure work is in substantial conformance with the approved plans and specifications.
- Monitors compliance with the approved Testing, Inspection and Observation (TIO) program.
- Monitors the IOR’s performance.
- Coordinates field staff.
- Issues the certificate of occupancy and/or construction final.
- Recommends closure of projects for inactivity, noting outstanding safety issues with code sections for non-compliant work when appropriate.
Step 6 – After Construction
Once construction is completed, FDD issues a certificate of occupancy which allows the owner to then apply to the Department of Health Services for a license to operate the health facility.
Geotechnical/geo-hazards reports must be submitted to the Office as required by Title 24, Part 1, Section 7-117. Due to the detailed review requirements involved with Geotechnical/geo-hazards reports, the reports should be submitted well in advance of the scheduled submittal of construction documents for plan review. This will ensure that the review is based on approved site data.
One electronic copy, in PDF, of the geotechnical/geo-hazards report must be furnished to the Office for review and evaluation prior to the submittal of the project documents for final plan review.
Regional Review: This copy must be uploaded electronically using the eServices Portal, when the GeoTech-Only Application for New Project has been submitted and an HCAI project number has been assigned. Instructions for creating a new project are available in the eServices User Guide 5- Applications for New Projects.
Seismic Extension Qualifying Projects: Do not create a project number in eCA. Please see the Application Process for the Seismic Compliance Unit:
Required documents and information:
- Geotech Report
- Geotech Information Document for new projects.
- All new geotechnical reviews require the Project Information for Geotechnical/Geohazard Report Review. For projects submitted after 1/1/2020 the 2019 California Building Code version is available online: https://hcai.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Project-Information-for-Geotechnical-Reports_CBC-2019-1.pdf
- Geotechnical Engineer Listed in Professionals
- Back Checks require: Written Letter of Response to all comments per California Administrative Code, Section 7-125(c)
Geotechnical/geo-hazards reports shall comply with the requirements of Title 24, Part 1, Section 7-117 and the California Building Code. Upon the determination that the investigation of the site and the reporting of the findings was adequate for the design of the project, the Office will issue a letter stating the geotechnical/geo-hazards reports are acceptable.
- One-story, wood-frame or light steel frame buildings of Type V construction and 4,000 square feet or less in floor area.
- Nonstructural alterations.
- Structural repairs for other than earthquake damage.
- Incidental structural additions or alterations.
On occasion, Geotechnical/geo-hazards reports are forwarded to the California Geological Survey for review. Complete report review times could be up to 12 months before approval.
Please send an email to SiteDataReports@hcai.ca.gov for questions.
Assembly Bill (AB 2632)
The enactment of AB 2632 (Chapter 453, statutes of 2004) added Health and Safety Code Section 129875.1 to the Alfred E. Alquist Hospital Facilities Seismic Safety Act.
This statute authorizes specified hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and intermediate care facilities to perform some maintenance and repair work without plan approval by the Department of Health Care Access and Information, Facilities Development Division (HCAI).
This statute’s provision applies only to single-story health facilities of wood or light steel frame construction.
Its expedited procedure applies only to alterations that are designed to restore health facilities to normal operational status, that are necessary to repair systems or equipment, or that are undertaken for routine maintenance purposes. Examples of such repair or maintenance projects might include replacement of hot water heaters, dishwashers, handrails, lights, and finish materials.
Except for the provisions in the bill for expedited permitting, these construction projects must still conform to the provisions of the latest California Building Standards Code.
Explanation of AB2632 Procedures & Requirements
Submit an Application and TIO Program
- An Application for New Project (OSH-FD-121) and a Testing, Inspection and Observation (TIO) Form must be submitted and approved by HCAI before construction begins.
- The application must include a description of the work to be performed, and how the project meets the criteria set forth in statute.
- Professional Stamps and Signatures as Required per:
- California Administrative Code, Section 7-115
- California Administrative Code, Section 7-111, “Sign, Signed, Signature, Signatures”
(An image of the required professional stamp and signature will be accepted on the drawings, however; digital signatures from a registry will not be accepted.)
- Information must be in PDF format with the view set to “Page Level”.
Office Notifies Applicant
- The Office will notify the applicant in ten (10) working days or less if the project has been accepted or rejected, or is exempted from HCAI review. If approved, the Regional Compliance Officer (RCO) will sign the application/permit form and notify the applicant and the Compliance Officer. Any special conditions for the approval will be noted on the application form.
- A Testing, Inspection and Observation (TIO) Program must also be submitted to the Office before a permit can be issued
- Upon approval of the application/permit, the construction work may commence.
Office Inspects Completed Work
- The Office must inspect and approve the completed work prior to use of the system or subject of construction or alteration. Any deficiencies must be corrected before use of the system or alteration will be allowed.
- The Office may require interim inspection when walls, ceilings or other construction materials will cover the finished work.
- Responsible parties shall file verified reports in accordance with the requirements of the TIO Program.
The procedures explained above for the implementation of AB 2632 do not preclude a facility from performing emergency work required by equipment failure, natural disaster or other occurrences that require immediate repair or replacement to ensure occupant safety or health. In such instances, the facility must request and obtain authorization from the Office prior to performing the work, and submit an application for plan review and construction documents as soon as possible. Please contact the RCO for specific requirements related to authorization for emergency work.
Please direct questions regarding these procedures or projects submitted under AB 2632 to the Regional Compliance Officer.
Facilities Development Division’s (FDD) staff is divided into six work groups defined as “Regions,” based on geographical assignments. Each assigned region is staffed with office and field staff.
The regional assignment concept allows FDD staff to:
- Foster better lines of communication between the technical disciplines.
- Establish a greater sense of responsibility for assignments.
- Create closer working relationships between staff and the facilities in each region.