Wednesday, August 31, 2016

UPDATE: San Francisco Fire Code Changes Could Impact Commercial Property Owners

UPDATE - July 29, 2016

After a few meetings with the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) and BOMA San Francisco's Codes and Regulations Committee leaders, the concerns regarding this potential impact have been assuaged:
  • The current Notice of  Violation (NOV) process, impacts to BOMA members and how, together, BOMA and SFFD are working to make the NOV process easier and comprehensible.
    • The NOV is the new Notice of Correction. BOMA members will monitor the process with the SFFD and address issues as they arise. SFFD is willing to make the process as pain-free as possible for BOMA members every step of the way.
  • Craft NOVs, both Standard and Priority
    • The SFFD is willing to work with BOMA members to craft an NOV form that makes sense for both BOMA members AND their tenants since both parties are affected. 
    • The best news is the a NOV will not automatically stop all permitted work in a building.
  • SFFD will make sure that our members receive a pre-inspection checklist for the commercial building owner AND tenant to reduce NOVs.
    •  SFFD stated that some building owners are not getting involved with tenant violations and that the tenant must deal with it themselves. This has increased the SFFD workload.
    • The pre-inspection checklist will help reduce the SFFD workload by notifying both constituencies about common issues found BEFORE SFFD inspects. 
  • The $240 re-inspection fee for Notice of Violation, Standard for owners and tenants in commercial buildings is waived.
    • Although if on the second, fee-free, inspection the NOV has not been resolved, the fee will apply. This is absolutely reasonable. 
    • If your NOV Standard escalates to a Priority, the fee will apply. 
  • Large, unattractive posters will not be posted on a building’s entrance for common NOV Standard violations. NOV Priority , e.g., imminent life safety issue, yes. 
If you have received an NOV and have questions, please feel free to email

Original Post - June 30, 2016

BOMA San Francisco's Codes and Regulations Committee recently discovered a code change from San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) Fire Marshal, Dan DeCossio. The update was passed unanimously at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and it will change the way the SFFD will conduct inspections of all buildings - both residential and commercial:
  • There will no longer be a Notice of Correction (NOC) given out for minor fire code violations. Instead, two levels of NOVs (Notice of Violations) will be handed out, Priority and Standard. Both NOVs could potentially hold up the issuance of other permits in buildings that receive them.
    • It is unclear at this point how the Fire Department will be handling these infractions, and if there will be any type of differentiation taken between high rise buildings versus multi-tenant residential buildings; the latter was the focus of the legislation.
    • The Fire Department acknowledges that mandating the issuance of unwarranted NOVs in fully-sprinkled high rise buildings would redirect their resources where they are less likely to achieve the goal of reducing residential building fires. 
  • Supervisor Scott Wiener, the author of the legislation, also acknowledges that he didn’t identify the difference between types of buildings that were to be more stringently inspected by the Fire Department when he wrote his legislation.
  • BOMA staff believes that Mr. Wiener may be willing to amend the original ordinance that could clarify the the intent of the measure: Better, more transparent, fire safety inspections of residential buildings . 
Stay tuned for additional updates in the near-term as our members intend to meet with Supervisor Wiener and his staff to discuss this issue further. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact and 

No comments:

Post a Comment