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Role of Building Officials in Managing the Urban-Wildland Interface. California Building Officials (CALBO). 42 years in California Representing approx 470 cities and counties State mandates regulations to be enforced by Local Building Official

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california building officials calbo
California Building Officials (CALBO)
  • 42 years in California
  • Representing approx 470 cities and counties
  • State mandates regulations to be enforced by Local Building Official
  • Organization acts as liaison between local jurisdictions and State
california building officials calbo1
California Building Officials (CALBO)
  • Local Building Departments perform approx. 95% of inspections
  • State-wide mutual aid program to assist in post disaster safety assessments
  • The Local Building Official will be a key player in the rebuilding effort for many years after the fire
benefits of building code based requirements
Benefits of Building Code Based Requirements
  • Components are in place at all times (24/7/365)
  • Generally one-time expenditure by builder/homeowner
  • Generally Not dependant upon outside influences
    • Wind direction or speed
    • Temperature and drought conditions
    • State and local budget climate
    • Lack of mutual aid resources
building code requirements
Building Code Requirements
  • Class C or better roof assemblies (Class B in Severe Fire Hazard Areas)
  • Double paned windows
  • Screened ventilation openings
  • Chimney spark arrestors
  • Visible Addresses
available resources
Available Resources
  • International Urban-Wildland Interface Code – ICC
  • Standard for Protection of Life and Property from Wildfire - NFPA 1144
  • Public Resources Code Sec 4290-91 for state responsibility areas (SRA)
  • Government Code Sec 51175-89
graduated scale based on hazard severity iuwic table 502
Graduated Scale Based on Hazard Severity (IUWIC Table 502)
  • Fuel Load (light, medium, heavy)
  • Frequency of critical fire weather (Santa Ana Winds)
  • Slope
graduated scale based on hazard severity or iuwic appendix c
Graduated Scale Based on Hazard Severity OR (IUWIC Appendix C)
  • Fire access roads (number, width, grade, turnarounds, street signage)
  • Fuel Types (light, medium, heavy)
  • Defensible Space & topography
graduated scale based on hazard severity iuwic appendix c cont
Graduated Scale Based on Hazard Severity (IUWIC Appendix C) cont.
  • Roofing material
  • Water Supply
  • Exterior Construction Material
  • Underground vs. Aboveground Utilities
ignition resistant construction
Ignition-Resistant Construction
  • Based on Hazard Severity Score (Moderate, High, Extreme)
  • Modified based on Defensible Space (Nonconforming, Conforming, 1.5 X Conforming) and Water Supply
  • Result determines need for Class 1, Class 2 or Class 3 Ignition-Resistant Construction
class 3 ignition resistant construction least restrictive
Class 3 Ignition-Resistant Construction -Least Restrictive
  • Class C roof covering or assembly
  • Enclosed underfloor areas or 1 hr. construction
  • Vents maximum 144 sq. in. and covered with ¼” mesh
  • Reroofs must meet new code specs if > 25% replacement
class 2 ignition resistant construction
Class 2 Ignition-Resistant Construction
  • Class B roof covering or assembly
  • Enclosed soffits and eaves (min ¾” solid material)
  • Noncombustible raingutters and downspouts
  • Noncombustible, 1hr. Fire Resistant or heavy timber Exterior walls
  • Enclosed underfloor areas or 1 hr./heavy timber construction
class 2 ignition resistant construction cont
Class 2 Ignition-Resistant Construction (cont.)
  • Attached Decks – 1 hr., heavy timber or noncombustible
  • Exterior doors – solid core, 20 min F.R., or noncombustible (except vehicle access doors)
  • Vents maximum 144 sq. in. and covered with ¼” mesh
  • Detached accessory structures (<50’ away) – 1 hr., heavy timber, or noncombustible on exterior side
class 1 ignition resistant construction most restrictive
Class 1 Ignition-Resistant Construction – Most Restrictive
  • Class A roof covering or assembly
  • Enclosed soffits and eaves (min ¾” solid material)
  • Noncombustible raingutters and downspouts
  • Noncombustible, 1hr. Fire Resistant or heavy timber Exterior walls
  • Enclosed underfloor areas or 1 hr./heavy timber construction
class 1 ignition resistant construction cont
Class 1 Ignition-Resistant Construction (cont.)
  • Attached Decks – 1 hr., heavy timber or noncombustible
  • Exterior doors – solid core, 20 min F.R., or noncombustible (except vehicle access doors)
  • Vents maximum 144 sq. in. and covered with ¼” mesh
  • Detached accessory structures (<50’ away) – 1 hr., heavy timber, or noncombustible on exterior side
  • Automatic Fire Sprinkler System
implementation challenges
Implementation Challenges
  • Jurisdiction’s level of acceptable risk
  • Willingness to enforce new code requirements for post-fire rebuilding
  • Threshold of justification for increased requirements (burden of proof)
  • Lack of knowledge of techniques for mapping high fire hazard areas
implementation challenges cont
Implementation Challenges (cont.)
  • Ability to maintain defensible space over time
  • Balancing Environmental protection and brush management policies
  • Establishing stable funding sources; assessment districts, general fund, grants
implementation challenges cont1
Implementation Challenges (cont.)
  • Lack of wildfire based fire testing on building materials
  • Balancing prescriptive requirements against maintaining architectural freedom
  • Coordination between fire officials, building officials and planners
recommendations
Recommendations
  • Building Official’s involvement in solution – representation on committees
  • Utilize International Urban-Wildland Interface Code as framework
  • Recognize the need for flexibility in enforcement at the local level
  • Provide training for local building and fire authorities
recommendations cont
Recommendations (cont.)
  • Establish long-term financial commitment to implementation
  • Reconcile conflicts between environmental and brush management agendas before the next major event
  • Stress performance criteria over prescriptive requirements where possible to allow for architectural freedom
recommendations cont1
Recommendations (cont.)
  • Promote strong working relationships between Fire, Building, Planning and Environmental groups to enhance communication
  • Support State Fire Marshal’s fire testing efforts (FEMA grant)
  • Develop model plan for post-disaster rebuilding