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Codes & Permits

Fire Code & Construction Permit FAQs

What is the turnaround time for a Plan Review, Sprinkler System Review or a Vegetation Management Review?

RVFD goal is to complete plans within 10 business days.

What is a resale report? How do I obtain one? What are the methods of payment? What is required?

A Resale Inspection is an exterior inspection of the residence to ensure compliance with state law and local ordinances, specifically related to Defensible Space, although other hazards may be noted or require correction.  A Ross Valley Fire Department Resale Inspection is required for homes sold in Ross, San Anselmo, and Fairfax.  Inspections are not required for the sale of a single town home or condo.We do not require an appointment to perform the inspection as we do not enter the residence.

To schedule a Resale Inspection, please submit the online Resale Inspection application, or visit our administrative office at 777 San Anselmo Ave San Anselmo, California 94960 during business hour Monday through Friday 8:00am-12:00pm and 1:00pm-5:00pm. The cost of a Resale Inspection is $185 and due upon submission of the online Resale Inspection application. We accept credit cards online via PayPal (no accoiunt required), or cash or check if paid in-person.

To see specific requirements that the Fire Inspector will be checking for, please visit the Resale Inspection Page.

What is the turnaround time for a Resale Report? Do you need access to my home?

Resale Reports are completed within 3-5 business days.  You do not need to be present.

A Resale Inspection is an exterior inspection of the residence to ensure compliance with state law and local ordinances. We do not require an appointment to perform the inspection as we do not enter the residence.

I am thinking about starting a remodel on my property and am looking for more information, where should I start?

The first step when considering a remodel on your property is to consult with your local Building and Planning Departments. For properties located in unincorporated zones, contact the County of Marin Building Department. Your town will have specific requirements and standards that will inform the remodeling process.

In many cases, including substantial remodels and new construction, the fire department is part of the permit approval process and the Fire Inspector is charged with reviewing plans to ensure compliance with the minimum fire and life safety standards.

What are the local fire code requirements?

San Anselmo, Fairfax, Ross and Sleepy Hollow have adopted the California Fire Code with local amendments. The California Fire Code is published by the California Building Standards Commision.

Local amendments can be found on RVFD Codes page.

Where do I find local Fire Code amendments that would apply to me?

Local amendments can be found on RVFD Fire Code Page.

What is a standard? How is it different from a code?

A code typically refers to an adopted ordinance that is enforced by the authority having jurisdiction. A standard is created by local municipalities and specifies how the code will be applied.

As an example, the California Fire Code requires sprinkler systems to be installed in all new single family homes; NFPA Standard 13 specifies how to install it.

What are the Ross Valley Fire Department’s jurisdictional boundaries?

Ross Valley Fire Department serves the incorporated towns of Fairfax, Ross, and San Anselmo as well as the Sleepy Hollow Fire Protections District.

What is considered a substantial remodel?

The definition of a Substantial Remodel differs by town:

Ross

Ross has not modified the California State Fire Code to include a different Substantial Remodel definition. Contact the Ross Building Department for questions regarding how this affects construction projects. 

Town of San Anselmo and Town of Fairfax

Section 202 [S]

Substantial Remodel shall mean the renovation of any structure, which combined with any additions to the structure, affects a floor area which exceeds fifty percent of the existing floor area of the structure within any 12 month period. When any changes are made in the building, such as walls, columns, beams or girders, floor or ceiling joists and coverings, roof rafters, roof diaphragms, piles or retaining walls or similar components, the floor area of all rooms affected by such changes shall be included in computing floor areas for the purpose of applying this definition. This definition does not apply to the replacement and upgrading of residential roof coverings, repair or replacement of foundations, the installation of energy efficient windows of like size, or the removal of interior wall coverings solely for the installation of insulation.

County of Marin (applicable only to properties in the Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District)

13.04.063

"Substantial remodel", as used herein, is the renovation of any structure, which, combined with any additions to the structure, affects a floor area which exceeds fifty percent of the existing floor area of the structure within any thirty-six-month period. When any changes are made in the building, such as walls, columns, beams or girders, floor or ceiling joists and coverings, roof rafters, roof diaphragms, foundations, piles or retaining walls or similar components, the floor area of all rooms affected by such changes shall be included in computing floor areas for purpose of applying this definition. This definition does not apply to the replacement and upgrading of residential roof coverings.

What are the fees for RVFD?

Refer to the current Fee Schedule for a complete listing of RVFD fire prevention service fees.

 

How do I schedule an inspection?

To schedule an inspection, please call during Fire Inspector Business Hours 7:00am-3:30pm at (415)-258-4673. We will return your call within 24 hours. However, requests for inspections must be made 72 hours in advance.

Are fire sprinkler systems required for a home remodel?

Fire sprinklers are required for substantial remodels in the Towns of San Anselmo and Town of Fairfax. For substantial remodels on properties within the Town of Ross fire sprinkler systems are not required. The requirement for fire sprinklers related to a substantial remodel in Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District is determined by the Marin County Building Department.

For specific requirement regarding fire sprinkler systems please visit the California Fire Code 903.2.

When is a hydrant required? Who installs them?

Adequate access to a water supply is a critical part of protecting life and property. When a portion of a facility or building is constructed or moved into a jurisdiction more than 350 feet from a hydrant, on-site fire hydrant and main installation may be required as a stipulation for permit approval. In addition, older fire hydrants must be upgraded to the minimum standard of one 4 ½” outlet and one 2 1/2” (single family residences) or one 4 ½” outlet and two 2 1/2” outlets (commercial structures).

The Marin Municipal Water District is responsible for the coordination and installation of new hydrants.

For specific requirement regarding hydrant requirements please visit the California Fire Code Section 507.5.1 and Section 507.5.7

What is a fire apparatus access road? When is it required? What are the surface requirements?

A Fire Apparatus Access Roads provide fire apparatus (a.k.a. fire engines) access from the fire station to the property of interest and may include: public streets, parking lot lanes, private streets, fire lanes and access roadways. Fire lanes are developed and maintained for the passage of fire apparatuses, but is not necessarily intended for public vehicular access.

For specific requirements regarding Fire Apparatus Access Roads, including when it is required and surface requirements, please refer to Standard 210.

What are Alternative Materials and Methods? When can I use them?

Alternative Materials and Methods are provisions to the fire code that authorize fire code official to approve proposed designs where the “material, method or work offered is, for the purpose intended, at least the equivalent of that prescribed in this code [California Fire Code] in quality, strength, effectiveness, fire resistance, durability and safety” (California Fire Code 104.9 Alternative Materials and Methods).

What is a Vegetation Management Plan (VMP)? How do I make one?

Vegetation Management Plans (VMP) are intended to mitigate the risk of wildfire by reducing the flammable vegetation around the property’s structures.

Vegetation Management Plans are required for all substantial remodels that are located in the Wildland Urban Interface(WUI) in the Town of San Anselmo, Town of Fairfax and the Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection Districts. For properties within the Town of Ross, contact the Ross Planning Department to determine if your property is in the WUI.

Please visit the RVFD Standards page for more information regarding VMP Standard 220.

What is the WUI?

The Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), pronounced 'woo-ee', is a "geographical area where structures and other human development meets or intermingles wiht wildland and vegetative fuels." The Towns of San Anselmo and Fairfax adopted the 2010 California Fire Code and the 2006 International Wildland Urban Interface Code with amendments to aid in abating the high risk of wildland fires present in Ross Valley.

Is my property located in the Wildland Urban Interface?

To determine whether your home is in the Wildland Urban Interface(WUI), please visit the RVFD Maps.

Are WUI products required for a remodel?

For properties that fall under the jurisdiction of San Anselmo and Fairfax, WUI products are not required by the WUI Code, but other exceptions may apply. For the Town of Ross, consult the Building Department to determine if your property is located in a hillside lot that would require WUI standards and products.

What are the maintenance requirements on fire equipment/systems?

Fire equipment and fire systems should be inspected at regular intervals as outlined by Nation Fire Alarm Code 72. For a complete listing of maintenance requirements visit ww.NFPA.org or use the quick links below to search common fire equipment and system maintenance schedules:

Our Mission

To protect the lives, property and environment of Ross, San Anselmo, Sleepy Hollow and Fairfax through education, prevention and community service in a professional and caring manner that is fair, honest, respectful and ethical.

Contact Us

Ross Valley Fire Department
777 San Anselmo Avenue
San Anselmo, CA 94960 USA
Tel: (415) 258-4686

For Emergencies, Dial 9-1-1