Inter-Departmental Correspondence

County Manager’s Office



December 8, 2010


December 14, 2010


10 Days





Honorable Board of Supervisors


Peggy Jensen, Deputy County Manager


International Fire Code As Amended by State Fire Code With Amendments to County Ordinance Chapter 3.84 Fire Protection Regulations



Adopt an Ordinance:



Repealing and replacing San Mateo County Ordinance Title 3 Chapter 3.84 Fire Protection Regulations, and adopting the 2009 Edition of the International Fire Code, as amended by the 2010 California Fire Code published by the International Fire Code Council, together with Appendix chapters 4, B, C, D, F, H, I, J and referenced standards; and



Making certain findings of local conditions and amending Chapter 3.84 Fire Protection Regulations of Title 3 of the San Mateo County Ordinance Code



The California Fire Code is published every three years by order of the California Legislature. The 2010 edition incorporates, by adoption, the 2009 edition of the International Fire Code (IFC) published by the International Code Council. State law requires the adoption of the IFC by local fire agencies, as amended by the California Fire Code. Cities and fire agencies throughout the county are in the process of adopting the updated codes, which become effective in January 2011.


Changes to the San Mateo County Ordinance Code to include fire prevention regulations within the unincorporated were first adopted in October 1979. Minimal revisions were made until 2007 when the 2007 California Fire Code was adopted and aligned with the previous San Mateo County Ordinance Code. This adoption continues that process with the newly adopted California Fire Code and continues the efforts among cities and fire agencies to adopt a uniform model code to better serve the communities in the county.



The County provides fire protection services to the unincorporated area through an agreement with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). The County Fire Marshal, under the direction of the County Fire Chief, has worked with other local fire prevention officers, the County Planning and Building Department and the Department of Public Works to review and update the fire codes for the unincorporated area based on the state requirements, specific local conditions and the current ordinance.


Exhibit A provides a crosswalk table from the existing County Ordinance sections to applicable International Fire Code sections, as well as a summary of amendments to the County Ordinance. The majority of the changes realign existing sections. The primary substantive changes include Fire Marshall approval for installation of traffic calming devices, rules over size and placement of address information on structures and reimbursement by property owners for responses to false requests for service and improperly maintained fire alarm systems.


The new codes will apply to projects submitted after January 1, 2011. Existing projects already underway will not be affected by these changes. Furthermore, the new ordinance will have minimal impact on residents and businesses since the ordinance changes are no more restrictive regulations than what currently exists in the County Ordinance.


The American Institute of Architects (AIA) California Chapter and Associated General Contractors of California have been notified of the proposed code adoption in San Mateo County, and public notice has been made in two local newspapers. Copies of the 2010 California Fire Code including the 2009 International Fire Code are on file with the Clerk of the Board.


Updating the fire codes for the unincorporated area meets the County vision of a healthy community by protecting the health, safety and welfare of residents and property.



There is no fiscal impact associated with this action. Enforcement of fire protection regulations is funded through the contract with CALFIRE.