School Facilities Resources

Division of the State Architect (DSA)


The Division of the State Architect provides design and construction oversight for K–12 schools, community colleges, and other state-owned and leased facilities.

DSA's authority is derived from Government Code Sections 4450-4461 and Education Code Sections 17280-17317, 17365-17374, 81130-81147

1.3 Project Exempt Based on Project Scope, and for Reconstruction and Alteration to School Buildings Project Cost, and Subject to Title 24, CCR Adopted by DSA

Unless otherwise noted, the work in Sections 1.3.1 through 1.3.3 below do not require DSA review and and approval and construction oversight. However, this work shall comply with all currently effective design, construction

Projects Less than $125,113  (IR A-22) SS, FLS and Access (AC) reconstruction or alteration projects not in excess of $125,113 in cost for 2023 (adjusted annually per CAC Section 4-308 by using the first January issue of Engineering New-Record’s U.S. 20 City Construction Cost Index).

Projects Greater than $125,113 and less than $281,104  (IRA-22) SS and FLS reconstruction or alteration projects in excess of $125,113 but less than $281,504 in cost for 2023 (adjusted annually per CAC Section 4-309(a) same as Section when all of the following conditions are met: A California-registered structural engineer shall examine the project and prepare a written statement certifying that the project does not contain any work of a structural nature. Work of a structural nature includes modifications to the building structure and any new or changes to nonstructural components attached to the building structure that are required by the California Building Code (CBC) to resist structural loads, such as equipment, ceilings, partitions, cabinets, veneer, solar systems or elements, etc. The statement must attest that the work does not cause any alteration or reconstruction of structural elements nor trigger structural rehabilitation per CAC Section 4-309(c). This statement shall bear the signature and stamp or seal of the structural engineer and shall be filed with the appropriate DSA regional office. The design professional in responsible charge of the project shall prepare a statement certifying that the plans and specifications (1) contain no work that is regulated by the accessibility standards of Title 24, (2) contain no work that triggers accessibility upgrades to existing buildings or facilities and (3) meet all applicable fire and life safety standards. This statement shall bear the signature and stamp or seal of the design professional and shall be filed with the appropriate DSA regional office. Within 10 days of the project completion, a DSA-certified project inspector shall sign and submit a verified report, form DSA 999: Inspection Verified Report for Projects Exempt from DSA Approval, to DSA indicating that the completed project is in conformance with the plans and specifications. For other exempt alteration or reconstruction projects, form DSA 999 is notrequired. Project C

Voluntary Submittal

A design professional or school district may submit plans and specifications, with the appropriate fee to the DSA for review, even when the project is exempted from DSA plan review.

Site Work Not Involving Structures or Their Utilities (IR A9)

For school site improvement projects that involve only grading, landscaping, fill placement, paving, storm drains or other work that does not support structures or involve their utilities, the school district is not required to file an application for DSA Structural Safety approval.

Not "School Buildings" refer to Definition of "School Buildings" page 36 of part 1 of title 24

The following are not considered to be school building but may be submitted separately or may be included in the plans and specifications for a school building project and will be checked under the provisions of the Act if submitted by the school district: one-story building not over 250 square feet in area when used exclusively as accessory facilities to athletic fields (equipment storage, toilets, snack bars, ticket booths, etc..) greenhouses, barns and materials or equipment storage sheds used exclusively for plant or animal production or protection and not used for classroom instruction (small groups of pupils and teachers may enter these structures for short periods of time): lighting poles less than 35 feet above the grade, antenna towers less than 35 feet above the grade or less than 25 feet above a building roof line, retaining walls less than 4 feet above the top of foundations and not supporting a surcharge, concrete or masonry fences less than 56 feet above adjacent grade, ball-walls or yard walls less than 6 feet above adjacent grade, signs, scoreboards or solid clad fences less than 8 feet above adjacent grade, bleaches and grandstands five rows of seats or less above grades; playground equipment; flagpoles less than 35 feet above grade; open mesh fences and baseball backstops; trailer coaches and "temporary-use" buildings defined below...

Access Only Review

Some projects, depending upon scope, may be submitted to DSA for review and approval. These projects do not receive certification from the State.


Other Facilities Items

Coming soon


California Department of Education

The California Department of Education (CDE) provides a nexus between pedagogy and the facilities needed to support learning... Learn more here.

Office of Public School Construction

The California Office of Public School Construction (OPSC)  provides oversight of the State Facilities Program funding process.

Lease Purchase Program (projects prior to 1998 / sfp)

State Facilities Program

• New Construction Funding

• Modernization Funding

• AB 300 Seismic Safety Funding

• Deferred Maintenance Program

• Extreme Hardship Deferred Maintenance Program

• Career Technical Education Facilities Program

Cost Estimating Basics

Direct Construction costs (Typically referred to as "Hard Costs" are related to the items that one can "touch". In other words the "product". Thus Direct Construction cost includes the cost incurred by a General Contractor to manage its subcontractors. Thus Direct Construction Cost includes a contractor's overhead and profit.

Indirect Construction Costs (typically referred to as "Soft Costs" are related to the professional services related to defining the "product" or items you can touch. (You can't "touch" indirect costs, therefore Furniture for example would be a Direct (yet often peripheral) / "hard" cost.

Design Contingency is a contingency pre-construction AND pre completion of design. This contingency begins as a larger percentage at the beginning of the design process and reduces as the project program and design become more clearly defined.  When a project is ready for competitive bidding, the Design Contingency should be reduced to 0.

Construction Contingency is a contingency utilized during construction to cover various issues. These issues include unknown and unforeseen conditions, issues related to the impossibility of providing a 100% fool proof set of documents (i.e. within the Designer's standard of care), changes requested by the owner (e.g. scope changes due to evolution of the client's needs).


Coming Soon


As consultants dedicated to working with state agencies on behalf of our clients, we ensure that we steadfastly advocate for the best interests of our clients.

As politics evolve and politically appointed government officials rotate in an out of various leadership positions, the related staffing and philosophical intent of agencies tends to follow the political "winds".

We strive to remind the staff/administrators we work with of the intent of the voters of the state of California and the actual language of approved statutes and regulations affecting our school districts and our client's ability to access state funds for facilities.


Coming Soon

Career Technical Education Facilities

Proposition 1D and the CTEFP

In 2006 the voters of the state of California Passed Statewide School Facilities Bond Measure Proposition 1D. Proposition 1D included $500,000.000.00 set aside for modernization/reconfiguration and new construction of Career Technical Education Facilities.

Unlike the State Facility Program (SFP) which is based on student population and age buildings, the CTEFP program is a competitive grant program.

CTEFP Resources

CTEFP Grant Application Guidelines

OPSC 50-10 Application

Text of AB 127

Relevant Education Code Sections

Bartos Architecture CTEFP Process Flow Chart

CTE Curriculum Standards

Career Technical Education Framework for California
Public Schools

For examples of project Applications and Education Plans developed by Bartos Architecture, please call 650-340-1221 or e-mail

Roots of Vocational Education

"No number of object-lessons, got up as object-lessons for the sake of giving information, can afford even the shadow of a substitute for acquaintance with the plants and animals of the farm and garden acquired through actual living among them and caring for them. No training of sense-organs in school, introduced for the sake of training, can begin to compete with the alertness and fullness of sense-life that comes through daily intimacy and interest in familiar occupations. Verbal memory can be trained in committing tasks, a certain discipline of the reasoning powers can be acquired though lessons in science and mathematics; but, after all, this is somewhat remote and shadowy compared with the training of attention and of judgment that is acquired in having to do things with a real motive behind and a real outcome ahead."

From the School and Society, by John Dewey

Recommended Reading

The School and Society

John Dewey

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Robert Pirsig

Shopcraft as Soul Craft

Matthew Crawford

Entrepreneurial Nation: Why Manufacturing is Still Key to America's Future

Ro Khanna

Piner High School Geospatial Technology Program

An eample of our services and client advocy is the Piner High School Geospation Technology Program.

Bartos Architecture CTEFP Services

Bartos Architecture is a premier experts on the CTEFP program in the State of California.

We provide the following assistance

• Grant Applications

• Project Designs

• Project Cost Estimates

• Process applications client advocacy throughout the process

• Assist with Development of CTE Plans (see examples here)

We have assisted school districts on over 20 CTEFP applications - related to approximately $30 Million dollars in grants or $60 million in total projects. Our knowledge of this popular program is second to none.

Piner High School Geospatial Technology Program

Agriculture and Natural Resources Industry Sector

A. Agricultural Business Pathway

B.  Agricultural Mechanics Pathway

C. Agriscience Pathway

D. Animal Science Pathway

E. Forestry and Natural Resources Pathway

F. Ornamental Horticulture Pathway

G. Plant and Soil Science Pathway

Arts. Media, and Entertainment Industry Sector

A. Media and Design Arts Pathway

B. Performing Arts Pathway

C. Production and Managerial Arts Pathway

Building Trades and Construction Industry Sector

A. Cabinetmaking and Wood Products Pathway

B. Engineering and Heavy Construction Pathway

C. Mechanical Construction Pathway

D. Residential and Commercial Construction Pathway

Education, Child Development, and Family Services Industry Sector

A. Child Development Pathway

B. Consumer Services Pathway

C. Education Pathway

D. Family and Human Services Pathway

Energy and Utilities Industry Sector

A. Electromechanical Installation and Maintenance Pathway

B. Energy and Environmental Technology Pathway

C. Public Utilities Pathway

D. Residential and Commercial Energy and Utilities Pathway

Engineering and Design Industry Sector

A. Architectural and Structural Engineering Pathway

B. Computer Hardware, Electrical, and Networking Pathway Engineering

C. Engineering Design Pathway

D. Engineering Technology Pathway

E. Environmental and Natural Science Engineering Pathway

Fashion and Interior Design Industry Sector

A. Fashion Design, Manufacturing, and Merchandising Pathway

B. Interior Design, Furnishings, and Maintenance Pathway

Finance and Business Industry Sector

A. Accounting Services Pathway

B. Banking and Related Services Pathway

C. Business Financial Management Pathway

Health Science and Medical Technology Industry Sector

A. Biotechnology Research and Development Pathway

B. Diagnostic Services Pathway

C. Health Informatics Pathway

D. Support Services Pathway

E. Therapeutic Services Pathway

Hospitality, Tourism, and Recreation Industry Sector

A. Food Science, Dietetics, and Nutrition Pathway

B. Food Service and Hospitality Pathway

C. Hospitality, Tourism, and Recreation Pathway

Information Technology Industry Sector

A. Information Support and Services Pathway

B. Media Support and Services Pathway

C. Network Communications Pathway

D. Programming and Systems Development Pathway

Manufacturing and Product Development Industry Sector

A. Graphic Arts Technology  Pathway

B. Integrated Graphics Technology Pathway

C. Machine and Forming Technology Pathway

D. Welding Technology Pathway

Marketing, Sales, and Service Industry Sector

A. E-commerce Pathway

B. Entrepreneurship Pathway

C. International Trade Pathway

D. Professional Sales and Marketing Pathway

Public Services Industry Sector

A. Human Services Pathway

B. Legal and Government Services Pathway

C. Protective Services Pathway

Transportation Industry Sector

A. Vehicle Maintenance, Service, and Repair Pathway?

B. Aviation and Aerospace Transportation Services Pathway

C. Collision Repair and Refinishing Pathway

California Public School Contract Basics

Laws Affecting Public School Construction

Most of the requirements governing design and construction of k-12 public school facilities in California are governed by the following California Codes:

• Government Code

• Civil Code

• Code of Civil Procedure

• Labor Code

• Education Code

• Public Contract Code

• Building Standards Code

Required Bonds

Bid Bond

Projects over $15,000 require bidders to provide a bid security or bid bond.

Public Contract Code Section 20111 (b)

Payment Bond

Public works projects over $25,000 require a payment bond.

California Civil Code Section 3247-3248

Performance Bond

Requiring a Performance Bond is a best practice. Performance bonds are usually provided in conjunction with Payment Bonds

Quick Bidding Reference


Construction cost over $1,000 prevailing Wages must be paid.

California Labor Code Section 1771


Construction cost over $15,000 must be publicly bid

California Public Contract Code Section 20111 (b)


Construction Cost up to $60,000 may be negotiated if a district has elected to participate in the Informal Bidding Act (IBA)

Public Contract Code section 22000 et seq.


Project Value up to $95,200 and defined as Maintenance (or Furniture and Equipment purchases)  are defined as not being public works projects, and thus do not have to be publicly bid. See "Maintenance" concussion opposite.

See the State Superintendent of Public Instruction's Annual Adjustment web page here.


Construction cost up to $200,000 may be procured via Informal Bidding Act procedures, if a district has adopted to participate in the Informal Bidding Act. (IBA)

Public Contract Code section 22000 et seq.


Construction cost greater than $1,000,000  allows a Design-Build Process.

Education Code Section  17250.20

Informal Bidding Act

Applicable if a School District has chosen to participate in the California Informal Bidding Act procedures

California Public Contract Code Section 20111 (b)


(a) Public projects of sixty thousand dollars ($60,000) or less may be performed by the employees of a public agency by force account, by negotiated contract, or by purchase order.

(b) Public projects of two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) or less may be let to contract by informal procedures as set forth in this article.

(c) Public projects of more than two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) shall, except as otherwise provided in this article, be let to contract by formal bidding procedure.

Lease Lease Back

Education Code 17400-07


Government Code Section 4217.0


Government Code Section 20118

20118.1.  The governing board of any school district may contract with an acceptable party who is one of the three lowest responsible bidders for the procurement or maintenance, or both, of electronic data-processing systems and supporting software in any manner the board deems appropriate

"Piggyback Contracts"

Public Contract Code Section 20118


California Public Contract Code Section 22002

(d) "Public project" does not include maintenance work. For purposes of this section, "maintenance work" includes all of the following:

(1) Routine, recurring, and usual work for the preservation or protection of any publicly owned or publicly operated facility for its intended purposes.

2) Minor repainting.

(3) Resurfacing of streets and highways at less than one inch.

(4) Landscape maintenance, including mowing, watering, trimming, pruning, planting, replacement of plants, and servicing of irrigation and sprinkler systems.

(5) Work performed to keep, operate, and maintain publicly owned water, power, or waste disposal systems, including, but not limited to, dams, reservoirs, powerplants, and electrical transmission lines of 230,000 volts and higher.

e) For purposes of this chapter, "facility" means any plant, building, structure, ground facility, utility system, subject to the limitation found in paragraph (3) of subdivision (c), real property, streets and highways, or other public work improvement.

Division of the State Architect /California Building Code

The California Building Code (CBC) has separate and unrelated  categories for Maintenance projects and projects that do not require submittal to DSA. Refer to our DSA page for more information.

Mechanics Liens Laws

California Mechanics Liens Laws

Please refer to the California Architects Board website for information on Mechanics Liens Laws

California Constitution

Article 14 Labor Relations

SEC. 3.  Mechanics, persons furnishing materials, artisans, and laborers of every class, shall have a lien upon the property upon which they have bestowed labor or furnished material for the value of such labor done and material furnished; and the Legislature shall provide, by law, for the speedy and efficient enforcement of such liens.

A description of the following components/steps is coming soon.

20 Day Preliminary Notice

Conditional Waiver Upon Progress Payment

Unconditional Waiver Upon Progress Payment

Unconditional Wavier upon Final Payment

Stop Payment Notice

Notice of Completion

Force Account Labor

Public Contract Code 20113, 20114, 20115


California Public Contract Code Section 20113

(a) In an emergency when any repairs, alterations, work, or improvement is necessary to any facility of public schools to permit the continuance of existing school classes, or to avoid danger to life or property, the board may, by unanimous vote, with the approval of the county superintendent of schools, do either of the following:

(1) Make a contract in writing or otherwise on behalf of the district for the

performance of labor and furnishing of materials or supplies for the purpose

without advertising for or inviting bids.

(2) Notwithstanding Section 20114, authorize the use of day labor or force

account for the purpose.

(b) Nothing in this section shall eliminate the need for any bonds or security

otherwise required by law.

General Repairs

California Public Contract Code Section 20114

(a) In each school district, the governing board may make repairs, alterations, additions, or painting, repainting, or decorating upon school buildings, repair or build apparatus or equipment, make improvements on the school grounds, erect new buildings, and perform maintenance as defined in Section 20115 by day labor, or by force account, whenever the total number of hours on the job does not exceed 350 hours.

[For very large school districts...]

Moreover, in any school district having an average daily attendance of 35,000

or greater, the governing board may, in addition, make repairs to school

building, grounds, apparatus, or equipment, including painting or repainting, and perform maintenance, as defined in Section 20115, by day labor or by force account whenever the total number of hours on the job does not exceed 750 hours, or when the cost of material does not exceed twenty-one thousand dollars ($21,000)

(b) For purposes of this section, day labor shall include the use of maintenance personnel employed on a permanent or temporary basis.

Definition of "maintenance for purposes of section 20114"

California Public Contract Code Section 20115

For purposes of Section 20114

“maintenance” means routine, recurring, and usual work for the preservation, protection, and keeping of any publicly owned or publicly operated facility for its intended purposes in a safe and continually usable condition for which it was designed, improved, constructed, altered, or repaired.

“Facility” means any plant, building, structure, ground facility, utility system, or real property.

This definition of “maintenance” expressly includes, but is not limited to: carpentry, electrical, plumbing, glazing, and other craftwork designed consistent with the definition set forth above to preserve the facility in a safe, efficient, and continually usable condition for which it was intended, including repairs, cleaning, and other operations on machinery and other equipment permanently attached to the building or realty as fixtures.

This definition does not include, among other types of work, janitorial or custodial services and protection of the sort provided by guards or other security forces.

It is the intent of the Legislature that this definition does not include painting, repainting, or decorating other than touchup, but instead it is the intent of the Legislature that such activities be controlled directly by the provisions of Section 20114.

Architect Selection

Qualification Based Selection

When utilizing state funding, Architects must be selected via a Qualification Based Selection Process or "QBS."  The California QBS process is also referred to as the California "mini-Brooks" act which  is based on the National  Brooks Act.

In October 1972, the federal government enacted Public Law 92-582, covering the selection of architects and engineers based on qualifications. This bill has since been known as the Brooks Selection Bill, as it was introduced by U.S. Representative Jack Brooks of Texas. During years of use by the federal, most state governments, and numerous municipalities across the nation, the use of qualifications-based selection has proven itself to be more efficient and less costly when considering total or life-cycle costs than the use of a selection system using price as one of its primary criteria Effective January 1, 1990, Chapter 10 of the California Government Code, Sections 4526-4529, commencing with Section 4525 and known as the Mini-Brooks Act, mandated local agencies throughout the state of California to select applicable professional consultant services on the basis of demonstrated competence and professional qualifications. Following passage of the law, the Architects & Engineers (A & E) Conference Committee of California formed a QBS Subcommittee to provide a documented understanding of the process.

From\ A Guide for the Selection of Professional Consultant Services for Public Owners

ACEC Qualification Based Selection Resource

A Guide for the Selection of Professional Consultant Services for Public Owners

In Sua Arte Credendum

An architect... Should first be informed what it is that is wanted what expense might be contemplated by his design: What the particular views of the persons who have the management of the money devoted to the work.

There will be on the part of a sensible and good-tempered man no objection to any reasonable extent of revision or re revision of a first design. Enlargement, contraction alteration of arrangement, of construction and of decoration may be made by a man of talents in almost infinite variety, and suggestions from unprofessional men politely and kindly made are always acceptable. But no honest many will for a moment listen to the proposal that he shall lend his name to the contrivances of whim or ignorance, or under the pretense of a cheap, give to the public a bad work. There is, as in most proverbs, a vast deal of good sense in the old Latin proverb...IN SUA ARTE CREDENDUM

[He should believe in his own work]. We allow full faith to our mechanics in their particular callings. No man thinks himself capable of instructing his shoemaker or tailor. Indeed we swallow what the physician orders with our eyes shut and sign the deed the lawyer lays before us with very little inquiry. But every gentleman can build a house, a prison,[school] or a city. This appears extraordinary, for when a gentleman sets about the work, he has the interests of all those he employs in array against his fortune, without any protection in his won knowledge. The mechanical arts employed in the erection of a capital building are more than twenty. Of these every architect has a competent knowledge so as to judge of the quality as well as the value and the amount of the work. But it is at least twenty to one against the gentleman who trusts only himself that he will lose 5 percent, at least.

Quoted from a letter from Benjamin Henry Latrobe to Robert MIlls,. 12 July 1806