Editor’s Notes

Building codes in most jurisdictions impose penalties, monetary fines, and sanctions against a contractor’s license for building without a permit. The laws typically refer to a “willful” violation. But does this mean a specific intent to violate the law or a more general intent to proceed with work without ascertaining the need for a permit? A California appellate court was recently presented with this question.

A contractor had replaced a boiler in a commercial building. The contractor’s project manager, believing the like-for-like replacement did not require a permit, violated company policy and did not seek in-house review of the need for a permit. The manager proceeded without a permit, thus violating the applicable building code.


The court ruled that the contractor could be sanctioned for a willful violation of the building code. The specific intent to violate the law is not required. The general intent to proceed with work without accurately determining the need for a permit will subject a contractor to sanctions.

The other case in this issue involved applicable precedent for the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals. The Board articulated for the first time how it would resolve conflicting precedent among its eight predecessor boards.




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