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Building & Safety
Building Design - 2019 Code Criteria

Applicable Codes and Standards

2019 California Building Code (based on the 2018 International Building Code)
2019 California Residential Code (based on the 2018 International Residential Code)
2019 California Electrical Code (based on the 2017 National Electrical Code)
2019 California Plumbing Code (based on the 2018 Uniform Plumbing Code)
2019 California Mechanical Code (based on the 2018 Uniform Mechanical Code)
2019 California Fire Code (based on the 2018 International Fire Code)
2019 California Green Building Standards
2019 California Energy Efficiency Standards


Seismic Design Categories, SDC, are based on specific site locations. Values for spectral response accelerations, S1 and SS, and damped spectral response accelerations, SD1 and SDS, may be determined at the US Seismic Design Maps tool .  These values, along with the risk category (most buildings in Santa Cruz County will be Risk Category I, II or III, with residences as Risk Category II), will determine the SDC. Most of Santa Cruz County will be SDC D or E. Use site soil Class D, unless a geotechnical report determines otherwise. For structures required to have a structural analysis (non-conventional), See ASCE Standard 7-16, Chapter 11, for complete Seismic Design Criteria.


  Basic wind speed, V (3 second gust),  is 90 mph for Risk Category II buildings (most buildings). Santa Cruz County has various exposure categories, so the design must be site specific. Exposure categories B (urban and suburban areas), C (open terrain with scattered obstructions or areas that are not Exposure B or D) or D (unobstructed areas and ocean front areas) all exist in Santa Cruz County. For structures required to have a structural analysis (non-conventional), See CBC 1609 or ASCE Standard 7-16, Chapter 26, for complete Wind Design Criteria.

Wildland-Urban Interface

Those areas mapped in a State Responsibility Area, SRA, shall comply with the Materials and Construction Methods for Exterior Wildfire Exposure in  CBC, Chapter 7A for non-residential and  CRC R337 for one and two family dwellings and townhomes. The county's GIS will determine if a project is in a State Responsibility Area, SRA. See WUI Codes for CBC 7A requirements, which generally mirror CRC R337 requirements.

Climate Zone

For energy compliance, use Climate Zone 3. See the California Energy Commission's website.