Q. Regarding Card 224 and Substantial Completion, please clarify end of contract time, because both the architect and contractor have responsibilities through Final Completion. 
A. Contract time ends at Substantial Completion. At this point that statutes of limitation start running, a Certificate of Occupancy can be obtained, and the owner releases the contractor’s retainage minus the cost of punch list items.  Essentially the work is done there is no more need to adjust contract time or the contract fee – the time for change orders is over. The architect and contractor continue to have relatively minor responsibilities, but that has nothing to do with contract time.

Q. Regarding Card 168, shouldn't budget be included as an answer as well?
A. Not necessarily. While it is always good to be on the same page with the Owner regarding budget, a hard number doesn’t need to be provided up front. The items on the answer are necessary for the architect to start meaningful work, but the budget can come at some later point once the design is more fleshed out and a realistic cost can be assigned.

Q. Regarding Card 235, the question refers to warranty period, but the answer refers to statute of limitations. Please clarify.
A. By law the warranty period is set at 4 years for patent defects and 10 years for latent defects. This is another way stating the deadlines for filing lawsuits to enforce warranty claims, hence the use of the term “statute of limitations.”

Q. Regarding Card 4, doesn’t the local Building and Safety Department have jurisdiction as well?
A. With regard to Card 4, Building and Safety Department approval would be required to obtain a building permit, but that's not what the question asks. It asks what agency approvals are required based on the unique factors contained in the description. Since Building and Safety Department jurisdiction does not depend on factors listed in the scenario, it is not a correct answer. It is important to read the question and only supply the answers it is seeking.

Q. Because the scenario in Card 3 involves a lake, doesn’t the Army Corps of Engineers have jurisdiction?
A. Card 3 gives no indication that the lake is a navigable waterway as defined by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers. The Army Corps of Engineers has jurisdiction over “[a]ll waters which are currently used, or were used in the past, or may be susceptible to use in interstate or foreign commerce, including all waters which are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide.”

Since a lake is not tidal, it has to be have been actually used in or be susceptible to use in interstate or foreign commerce. Simply because recreational boating occurs on a body of water does not make it navigable. For example, both Lake Tahoe and Crater Lake in Oregon are alpine lakes with no outlet to outside the rim of surrounding mountain peaks. Neither lake is used for “commerce.” However, Lake Tahoe is a navigable waterway because potential commerce from California to Nevada can occur on it. Crater Lake is not because it is entirely within the state.

As the card states that you are only to name agencies having jurisdiction based on the unique factors contained in each scenario, the Army Corps of Engineers is an incorrect answer - the card is silent on what streams or rivers might flow into or out of the lake and whether or not they are navigable. This is important to consider when taking the test: don't assume that certain conditions exist if they are not specifically stated.

If you would like to read a more of what constitutes a navigable waterway, please see:

Q. I just wanted to verify that Card 52 is right.
A. Yes. In the State of California the California Building Code is not a code per se in the traditional sense - meaning something enacted by the legislature. Instead all building related standards are contained in the California Code of Regulations (the CCR). Regulations are not created by the legislature. Instead the legislature delegates authority to specialized bodies of experts (in this case the California Building Standards Commission) to create specific regulations dealing with their respective areas of expertise.

The CCR is divided into multiple "Titles," and Title 24 contains all building related regulations. It can be confusing because the California Energy Code is often referred to as "Title 24". While everyone knows that is shorthand for the California Energy Code, it is technically incorrect to call the California Energy Code "Title 24" because Title 24 encompasses all building related codes.

Q. I was looking for some more information on the California Coastal Act, and I found this which seems to contradict the answer to Card 72 on the extent of the coastal zone: Basically, the CCA defines the "coastal zone" as the area of the state which extends three miles seaward and generally about 1,000 yards inland. In particularly important and generally undeveloped areas where there can be considerable impact on the coastline from inland development, the coastal zone extends to a maximum of 5 miles inland from mean high tide line. In developed urban areas, the coastal zone extends substantially less than 1,000 yards inland. The Coastal Commission's jurisdiction does not extend into or around San Francisco Bay, where development is regulated by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission.
A. Thanks for your question. Card 72 states the minimum extent of the coastal zone and your citation states how far the Coastal Zone may extend inland. As indicated on Card 72 the Coastal Zone is defined by statue and maps for each county. The reason I used the minimum extent of the Coastal Zone is that it would be clear on the exam that a project located in the minimum area would be affected by the California Coastal Act. Outside the minimum area it may or may not be, depending on the county map. If the project is located outside the minimum area, the exam would most likely indicate if the California Coastal Act applies.

Q.  Card 159 states that only limited liability partnerships (LLPs) are required to carry professional liability insurance. I just want to confirm with you if this is correct because Article 1.5 of AIA Document B102 states that the architect must maintain general liability, automobile liability, worker’s compensation and professional liability insurance for the duration of the contract agreement.
A. Card 159 is correct - according to California law only a LLP must carry insurance. That said, an owner can require the architect to carry insurance through language in the contract. The B102 is simply an example of a contract that requires the architect to carry certain types of insurance. However, the owner and the architect may delete this provision from the B102.

Q.  On the answer for Card 3 you list the Department of Fish and Game twice. Is that correct?
A. Yes. The answer to Card 3 mentions the Department of Fish and Game twice because two separate permits are required - one for the endangered species and one due to the lake bed alteration.

Q.  Card 81 states Hospital Facilities Seismic Safety Act requires more stringent design standards for hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities and correctional treatment centers. I thought the HSSA was only directed toward acute care facilities and specifically omits SNFs, psychiatric hospitals and correctional treatment facilities?
A. The HSSA applies to all hospital buildings in the state and the term "hospital building" is defined as:
§129725. Hospital building
(a)(1) “Hospital building” includes any building not specified in subdivision (b) that is used, or designed to be used, for a health facility of a type required to be licensed pursuant to Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 1250) of Division 2.
(2) Except as provided in paragraph (7) of subdivision (b), hospital building includes a correctional treatment center, as defined in subdivision (j) of Section 1250, the construction of which was completed on or after March 7, 1973.

Thus the HSSA applies not only to acute care facilities - but to buildings that are essentially inpatient in nature and need to be licensed - this can include skilled nursing facilities and inpatient psych hospitals. Correctional treatment centers, as you can see, are specifically included. Now there are exemptions, primarily for SNFs that are one story and wood or light steel framed construction. If you are interested you can read the full definition (including all the exemptions in subsection (b)) here:
My philosophy for understanding any statute on the exam is to know: 1. its purpose, 2. what kinds of buildings and/or sites it may apply, and 3. how it may affect building design as it relates to the practice of architecture.