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Residential Fire Agency Requirements

Your building permit application may be reviewed by your local fire agency to be sure that it meets the Uniform Fire Code and Uniform Building Code requirements as adopted by that agency. Listed below are some of the major Uniform Fire Code requirements which may affect your project. It is highly recommended that you contact your local fire agency and ask them to preview your plans prior to submittal to the Planning Department.

YOUR LOCAL FIRE AGENCY URGES YOU TO CONTACT THEM ABOUT THESE REQUIREMENTS BEFORE APPLYING FOR A BUILDING PERMIT

(831) 685-6690 Aptos/LaSelva Beach Fire Protection District
(831) 726-3130 Aromas Tri-County Fire Protection District
(831) 338-7222 Boulder Creek Fire Protection District
(831) 336-5495 Ben Lomond Fire Protection District
(831) 423-8856 Branciforte Fire Protection District
(831) 479-6842 Central Fire Protection District
(831) 335-4422 Felton Fire Protection District
(831) 722 0125 Pajaro Valley Fire Protection District
(831) 438-0211 Scotts Valley Fire Protection District
(831) 335-5100 Zayante Fire Protection District
(831) 335-6748 County Fire

NEW OR REPLACEMENT SINGLE FAMILY DWELLINGS

  • FIRE SPRINKLERS- An automatic sprinkler system approved by your local fire agency must be installed in all new and replacement single family dwellings.
  • REQUIRED ACCESS- A fire access road is required when any portion of the building is more than 150 feet from the public road, as measured along an approved access route from the public road to the building.
  • WATER STORAGE- An approved water supply capable of supplying the required water flow for fire protection must be provided. This may be accomplished by various means such as water tanks, reservoirs, or hydrants, but must be approved by the Fire Agency in any case. Contact your local Fire Agency for details. When a portion of the building is more than 150 feet from a water supply on a public street, an approved hydrant is required on the site.

The following Uniform Building Code requirements apply to all new or replacement single family dwellings, and are verified by the building Inspector.

  • SMOKE DETECTORS- Smoke detectors are required in each sleeping room and in hallways. A smoke detector is required at each story, including basements, and may be required at certain other locations as specified in the Building Code. Smoke detectors are required to be supplied with power by the permanent wiring and to have a battery backup. Smoke detectors must be interconnected unless tests demonstrate that the alarm from any detector is audible in all sleeping areas.
  • HOUSE NUMBERS- House numbers a minimum of 4 inches in height with a contrasting background showing the address must be placed in such a position as to be plainly visible from the street adjoining the property.
  • SPARK ARRESTORS- Spark arrestors are required on all chimneys. Spark arrestors must have openings 1/2 inch in diameter.
  • ROOFS- Roofs must have a minimum Class B Fire Resistive rating, and Class B is required in some areas of the County.

ROOM ADDITIONS AND ACCESSORY STRUCTURES

The fire agency will review your application for projects greater than 500 square feet. Other projects will be reviewed by the Building section of the Planning Department. As a general rule, the requirements are the same for these projects as for new buildings. A sprinkler system is not required in room additions unless the existing building is equipped with a sprinkler system.  However, the requirements are site specific and subject to modification by the fire agency. For this reason it is extremely important that you contact your local fire agency about these requirements BEFORE you apply for a building permit.

  • Smoke detectors are required in the new construction as outlined above. In addition, smoke detectors must be installed in the existing portion of the building in the locations specified above, EXCEPT that they may be battery operated and need not be interconnected.
  • House numbers showing the address must be placed in such a position as to be plainly visible from the street adjoining the property.
  • Spark arresters are required on all new chimneys. Spark arresters must have openings one half inch in diameter.

REMODELS WITH NO INCREASE IN SQUARE FOOTAGE

There are no fire agency requirements for remodels with no increase in square footage, and your plans will not be sent to the local fire agency for review.

An automatic sprinkler system shall be required in existing structures when any of the following apply:

  • When residential garages (Group U occupancies) are added on to and result in 1001 square feet or more
  • When residential room additions increase the total square footage by more than 50%. Additions 500 square feet and less are exempt from fire sprinkler requirements.
If the project is a remodel, your plans will not be reviewed by the local fire agency.

However, the following building code requirements apply to all remodels:

  • Smoke detectors are required in the remodeled portion as outlined above. In addition, smoke detectors must be installed in the existing portion of the building in the locations specified above, EXCEPT that they may be battery operated and need not be interconnected.
  • House numbers showing the address a minimum of 4 inches in height with a contrasting background shall be provided in such a position as to be plainly visible from the street adjoining the property.
  • Spark arresters are required on all new chimneys. Spark arresters must have openings 1/2 inch in diameter.
brochure updated 4/9/08
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