2014 California Building Code Requirements for Assistive Listening

This article states the 2014 California Building Code Requirements for Assistive Listening.

The State of California relies on the California Building Code (CBC) to outline the compliance for facilities that serve people with hearing disabilities in California. The CBC is published every three years. The most recent version of the CBC took effect on January 1, 2014.

While California has adopted the format of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the exact code was not adopted. For example, ADA sections 219 & 706 are listed in the California Building Code as 11B-219 and 11B-706.

There are two areas in which the CBC differs from the ADA and these are significant:

  1. 11B-219.2 required systems. An assistive listening system shall be provided in assembly areas, including conference and meeting rooms. Exception: This section does not apply to systems used exclusively for paging, background music, or a combination of these two uses
  2. Houses of Worship DEFINTIONS of ASSEMBLY AREA. [DSA-AC]

11B-244 Religious facilities

11B-244.1 General. Religious facilities shall be accessible in accordance with the provisions in the code. Where specific areas within religious facilities contain more than one use, each portion shall comply with the applicable requirements for that use.

In other words, California has deemed houses of worship to be classified as assembly areas; they are not exempt from the CBC requirements, nor are they exempt from the requirements of providing an assistive listening system.

Assembly Areas

Assembly Areas are defined as, but not limited to, the following types of spaces:
  •  Classrooms
  • Lecture halls
  • Courtrooms
  • Public meeting rooms
  • Public hearing rooms
  • Legislative chambers
  • Motion picture houses
  • Auditorium
  • Theaters, playhouses, & dinner theaters
  • Concert halls
  • Centers for the performing arts
  • Amphitheaters
  • Arenas
  • Stadiums
  • Grandstands
  • Convention centers

Worksheet for seating/receiver ratio


Each assembly area required by to provide assistive listening systems shall provide signs informing patrons of the availability of the assistive listening system.  Assistive listening signs shall comply with and shall include the complying with the International Symbol of Access for Assistive
EXCEPTION:  Where ticket offices or windows are provided, signs shall not be required at each assembly area provided that signs are displayed at each ticket office or window informing patrons of the availability of assistive listening systems