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Wildfire Protection Building Construction
The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is responsible for the development of minimum statewide building construction regulations that, when used in conjunction with hazardous vegetation management, will reduce statewide losses from disastrous wildfires. State and local government enforcement agencies are responsible for the application of these (or more restrictive) regulations when a building construction permit is issued.
To assist with compliance and implementation of the wildfire protection building construction regulations contained in the California Building Standards Code, OSFM provides policies on code compliance (including the acceptance of ventilation products), listing of building materials that have passed applicable test standards, official code interpretations, information bulletins on a variety of subjects, and contacts for where to go for more information including application to mobilehomes.
For background information on the 2007 OSFM California Fire Hazard Severity Zone Update and Building Standards Revision Project click here.
For detailed information and resources on wildfire related state regulations, code compliance policies, accepted products, and information bulletins scroll down to these subject areas below.
Building Construction Regulations and SFM Test Standards
Wildfire protection building construction requirements are contained in four parts of the California Building Standards Code (CBSC or referred to below as “the code”), is officially Title 24 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR). The CBSC is developed by state agencies and becomes the statewide minimum building construction regulations for California that are published every three years (2007, 2010, 2013). Similar requirements for mobilehomes and/or other types of manufactured buildings are regulated by the California Department of Housing and Community Development under CCR Title 25. All of the state minimum wildfire protection building construction regulations can be found at the links below.
The code is typically enforced by hundreds of local city and county agencies during the local building permit and construction management process. Cities and Counties may also have local ordinances and code amendments that are more restrictive than the state minimum building construction regulations referenced below. The agency issuing the building permit or approving construction projects should always be consulted on what requirements apply to your project and how the regulations will be enforced. All parts of the California Building Standards Code pertaining to wildfire protection building construction (e.g. CCR Title 24 Part 2 California Building Code) are published by the International Code Council (ICC). For purchasing information click here for the ICC book store or, for limited online viewing of the relevant code sections at no cost, click here for ICC’s free e-Codes. ICC is the official California source for this part of the CCR and has the most up-to-date regulations. The documents below, with portions of the code that pertain to wildfire protection, are provided as a convenience to users but may not reflect the latest errata, emergency supplements, and amendments.
For more information on the application and use of CCR Title 24 building constructions regulations click here for the California Building Standards Commission’s “Guide to Title 24 California Building Standards Code”
California Building Code (CBC) Part 2, CCR Title 24, applies to all buildings other than one and two-family houses constructed after 2010 (see below for Title 25 regulations on mobilehomes, manufactured homes, multifamily manufactured homes & commercial modular units).
- For free access to the CBC online, click here for the ICC e-Codes web site.
- 2010 CBC Chapter 7A “Materials and Construction Methods for Exterior Wildfire Exposure.”
- 2010 CBC Chapter 15 “Roof Assemblies and Rooftop Structures.” See Section 1505 “Fire Classifications.”
- 2007 CBC Chapter 7A “Materials and Construction Methods for Exterior Wildfire Exposure.”
- 2007 CBC Chapter 15 “Roof Assemblies and Rooftop Structures.” See Section 1505 “Fire Classifications.”
- 2001 CBC Chapter 7A “Materials and Construction Methods for Exterior Wildfire Exposure. (Roofing & Attic Ventilation Sections only effective Dec 1, 2005)”
California Residential Code (CRC) Part 2.5, CCR Title 24 contains provisions identical to CBC Ch7A and applies to one- and two-family houses constructed after 2010 (see below for Title 25 regulations on mobilehomes, manufactured homes, multifamily manufactured homes & commercial modular units).
- For free access to the CRC online, click here for the ICC e-Codes web site.
- 2010 CRC Section R327 “Materials and Construction for Exterior Wildfire Exposure” contains provisions identical to CBC Ch7A.
California Fire Code (CFC) Part 9, CCR Title 24 applies to all buildings.
- For free access to the CFC online, click here for the ICC e-Codes web site.
- 2010 CFC Chapter 49 “Requirements for Wildland-Urban Interface Areas.”
- 2007 CFC Chapter 47 “Requirements for Wildland-Urban Interface Areas.”
California Referenced Standards Code (CRSC) Part 12, CCR Title 24hapter 7A “Materials and Construction for Exterior Wildfire Exposure” contains the SFM performance-based test standards referenced in other parts of the code and are used by testing laboratories to evaluate products that manufacturers want tested to establish code compliance.
The actual test standards are not normally needed for building construction design, plan review, and permitting. Manufactures with products that have passed testing to Ch7A SFM test standards typically have the product included in the OSFM “Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) Products Handbook” and/or in the OSFM Building Materials Listing (BML) Program. For more information on the BML Program click here.
- For free access to the SFM Standards online, click here for the ICC e-Codes web site.
- 2010 SFM Standard 12-7A-1, Exterior Wall Siding and Sheathing.
- 2010 SFM Standard 12-7A-2, Exterior Windows.
- 2010 SFM Standard 12-7A-3, Horizontal Projection Underside.
- 2010 SFM Standard 12-7A-4, Decking.
- 2010 SFM Standard 12-7A-4A, Decking Alternate Method A.
- 2010 SFM Standard 12-7A-5, Ignition-resistant Material.
- 2001 & 2007 SFM Standard 12-7A-1, Exterior Wall Siding and Sheathing.
- 2001 & 2007 SFM Standard 12-7A-2, Exterior Windows.
- 2001 & 2007 SFM Standard 12-7A-3, Under Eave
- 2001 & 2007 SFM Standard 12-7A-4, Decking.
California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 25 Requirements for Mobilehomes. The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) regulates the application of wildfire protection and ignition-resistant construction requirements for:
- Manufactured homes,
- Multifamily manufactured homes &
- Commercial modular units
The actual construction requirements are typically similar to those for buildings regulated by OSFM under the California Building Code, but the application of these requirements can be very different for mobilehomes. For more information contact HCD:
- Division of Codes & Standards, Manufactured Housing Program http://www.hcd.ca.gov/codes/mhp/, (916) 445-3338 or click here for the Title 25 Regulations
- Mobilehome and Special Occupancy Parks Program http://www.hcd.ca.gov/codes/mp/,
(916) 255-2501 or or click here for the Mobilehome Park Title 25 Regulations
Wildfire ("CBC Chapter 7A") Code Compliance Policies and Accepted Products
The Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) has issued the following “CBC Ch7A” Compliance Policies to address aspects of the code that are not clearly addressed by existing regulations (e.g. California Building Code (CBC) Ch7A “Materials and Construction Methods for Exterior Wildfire Exposure” and related portions of the code including California Residential Code Section 327). “CBC Ch7A” Compliance Policies typically indicate acceptable methods of achieving compliance with the state minimum requirements of the code and are intended for use by OSFM staff (on projects within the jurisdiction of OSFM) and as a resource for design professionals to promote a more uniform implementation of the code statewide.
Code enforcement agencies do not normally “approve,” “list,” or “endorse” specific products that may comply with the code. Project specific construction plans typically identify products that comply with the code, for a particular building, under specific project conditions. The project specific construction plans are then approved by the code enforcement agency issuing the building permit or approving that particular construction project.
Where the wildfire protection building construction requirements of the code restrict the use of products and make code compliance challenging, OSFM may issue limited “CBC Ch7A” Compliance Policies to “accept” products that have been shown to comply with the code. When used for product acceptance, these policies are intended as a temporary method to assist the user with code compliance. These “products accepted for use” policies will be issued for limited period of time, until a nationally recognized test standard is developed, or the code requirements are revised.
- Policy #09_01 Eave Vents and Attic Ventilation Options
- Policy #09_03 Vulcan Technologies Eave Vent Products Accepted for Use
- Policy #09_04 Vivico “FireGuardVent” Eave Vent Products Accepted for Use
- Policy #09_05 Brandguard Eave Vent Products Accepted for Use
- Policy #09_06 O'Hagin's, Inc. Eave Vent Products Accepted for Use
- Wildland-Urban Interface ("WUI") Products Handbook
Code Interpretations by Office of the State Fire Marshal
Code interpretations provide the context and background of specific code sections.
Click here for a listing of all OSFM code interpretations or click on the links below for the interpretations issued for wildfire protection building construction.
- CI#10_013 - Window & Door Glazing
- CI#10_012 - Application to Agricultural Buildings
- CI#10_009 - Door Thickness Required for Wood Panel Doors
- CI#09_024 - Deck Protection and Materials
- CI#09_064 - Use of plastic, roof top, under-shingle attic vents
- CI#08_093 - Eave and Soffit Protection
Information Bulletins by Office of the State Fire Marshal and other Agencies.
- VH-FHSZ Mapping Recommendation Adoption by Local Agencies (OSFM 10/1/07)
- Revised Jul 2008 Effective Date for Enforcement of "CBC Ch7A" in LRA VH-FHSZ (OSFM 9/28/07)
- Enforcement of "CBC Ch7A" Wildfire Protection Building Standards (OSFM 6/14/07)
- Application of "CBC Ch7A" Wildfire Protection Building Standards to Manufactured Homes (OSFM 8/8/08)
- Information Bulletin 2009-03 (MH) Ignition-Resistant Construction requirements for manufactured housing (HCD 8/20/09)