Fire Safety Requirements for Building Owners

In August 2016, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed legislation aimed at promoting fire and life safety, reducing the risk of fires, and preventing property damage from fires.  The requirements include having building owners:

  • provide residential tenants with updated information on fire safety and smoke alarm requirements,
  • post smoke and CO alarm information in common areas of their buildings,
  • file and post a Statement of Compliance form for annual fire alarm testing, and
  • post the building manager contact information at the building entry. 

The San Francisco Fire Department is here to assist building owners to become compliant with these new requirements.  The requirements and effective dates vary based on the total number of building residential units and when the legislation was approved.

Look for the "SFFD HELP" links, which are provided to help you find the necessary forms, examples of information disclosures, sample letters, and other helpful code information to assist you with compliance.
 

 

Building owners shall provide the following information to all tenants annually:
 

1)  FIRE SAFETY INFORMATION DISCLOSURE

       SFFD HELP:  Tenant Fire Safety Disclosure Information

It is the purpose of Section 409 to reduce the risk of fires to residents by requiring owners of buildings with three or more dwelling units to disclose fire safety information to new residents on or before they begin to live in the building and once a year thereafter.

The owner of the Apartment House or the owner's agent shall provide an oral explanation of the Disclosure Information to new residents before the new residents commence occupancy in the building, a written copy of the Disclosure Information to new residents on or before the commencement of occupancy, and a written copy, updated as appropriate, to all building residents on or before January 31 of each year.

The owner of the Apartment House shall maintain a record of its compliance with this Section 409.2 by retaining a copy of the Disclosure Information for at least two years.  An owner's failure to maintain such records shall create a rebuttable presumption that the owner has violated this Section 409.2.

The Disclosure Information [Section 409.2] shall be provided in writing.  If provided in hard copy, it shall be printed on white paper, 8.5" x 11" (216mm x 279mm), or larger, in no smaller that 10-point font.

NOTE: The annual Disclosure Information may be provided to tenants via email (soft copy).

 

2)  FIRE SAFETY TIPS AND TRAINING VIDEO

       SFFD HELP:  https://sf-fire.org/fire-safety-tips-san-francisco

      SFFD HELP:  http://fire-bfp-b.usgovvirginia.cloudapp.usgovcloudapi.net/Fire_Safety_At_Home.ppsx

 

3)  SMOKE ALARM INFORMATION DISCLOSURE

       SFFD HELP:  Annual Smoke Alarm Information Notice

On or before January 31, 2017, and on or before January 31 of each year thereafter, owners of a dwelling unit intended for human occupancy in which one or more units is rented or leased shall provide each tenant with a written notice regarding smoke alarm requirements on a form provided by the Fire Department. The Fire Department shall develop the notice in consultation with the Department of Building Inspection and shall make the notice available on its website in English, Spanish, and Chinese.

For all Apartment Houses as defined in the Housing Code, the building owner shall post the Annual Smoke Alarm Information Notice referenced in subsection (a) in at least one conspicuous location in a common area of each floor of the building.

NOTE: If no such common area(s) exists, the building owner shall provide a copy to each residential tenant in the building.

 

4)  LIST OF TENANTS RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS

       SFFD HELP:  List of Tenant’s Rights Organizations

Attached as a separate appendix to the notice, a list, to be prepared by the Rent Board, of tenants' rights organizations that provide counseling to tenants on issues related to fires, and contact information for those organizations.

 
 

Building owners shall post the following information in their building(s):
 


1)  BUILDING CONTACT PHONE NUMBER

       SFFD HELP:  Building Contact Number Guidance

A sign or sticker shall be affixed at the main point of entry to the Apartment House, or at such other location that the Fire Marshal approves in writing, that contains the phone number of the owner, property manager, or other person who can give the Fire Department or other building inspector prompt access to the building to conduct safety inspections.

 

2)  FIRE ALARM MAINTENANCE, INSPECTION AND TESTING FORM

       SFFD HELP:  Statement of Compliance Form

Filing Statement of Compliance.

With regard to fire alarm systems in Apartment Houses, as defined in the Housing Code, the building owner shall file a Statement of Compliance with this annual testing and inspection requirement with the Fire Department, on a form provided by the Fire Department, in accordance with the following schedule***:

(A) for buildings with nine or more units, on or before January 31, 2017, and thereafter on or before January 31 of each odd-numbered year, and

(B) for buildings with three to eight units, on or before January 31, 2018, and thereafter on or before January 31 of each even-numbered year.

***If the Apartment House building does not have a fire alarm system installed, the building owner shall submit a letter to the San Francisco Fire Department by the date listed below, advising the Fire Marshal of the fire alarm status of the building.

Posting Statement of Compliance in Common Area.

In addition to filing the Statement of Compliance, the building owner shall post a copy of the most recently filed Statement of Compliance in at least one conspicuous location in a common area of each floor of the building or, if no such common area(s) exist, the building owner shall provide a copy to each residential tenant in the building. The building owner shall comply with this requirement no later than 60 days from the date of filing of the Statement of Compliance.

Recordkeeping.

The building owner shall maintain written records of inspection and testing, as specified in NFPA 72, as amended from time to time, until the next test and for one year thereafter.

Fire Alarm Service Sticker.

The building owner shall place, or shall have servicing personnel place, a sticker on the exterior of the fire alarm control panel cover that includes the company name, phone number, and the date of the last inspection or testing.

 

3)  SMOKE ALARM INFORMATION DISCLOSURE & TENANTS RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS

       SFFD HELP:  Annual Smoke Alarm Information Notice

On or before January 31, 2017, and on or before January 31 of each year thereafter, owners of a dwelling unit intended for human occupancy in which one or more units is rented or leased shall provide each tenant with a written notice regarding smoke alarm requirements on a form provided by the Fire Department. The Fire Department shall develop the notice in consultation with the Department of Building Inspection and shall make the notice available on its website in English, Spanish, and Chinese.

For all Apartment Houses as defined in the Housing Code, the building owner shall post the Annual Smoke Alarm Information Notice referenced in subsection (a) in at least one conspicuous location in a common area of each floor of the building.

       SFFD HELP:  List of Tenant’s Rights Organizations

Attached as a separate appendix to the notice, a list, to be prepared by the Rent Board, of tenants' rights organizations that provide counseling to tenants on issues related to fires, and contact information for those organizations.

 NOTE: If no such common area(s) exists, the building owner shall provide a copy to each residential tenant in the building.


 

Building owners shall complete upgrading their fire alarm system by 7/1/2021:
 

FIRE ALARM SLEEPING AREA REQUIREMENTS (SFFC Section 1103.7.6.1)

Sleeping Area Requirements

For all buildings that are required to have a fire alarm system under this [Fire] Code Section 1103.7.6, pertaining to Group R-2 occupancies, the Building Code, the Housing Code,. or any other law, the building owner shall upgrade the fire alarm system, if necessary, to comply with the sound level requirement for sleeping areas set forth in Section 18.4.5.1 of NFPA 72 (2013 edition), as amended from time to time, upon either

(a) completion of work under a building permit with a cost of construction of $50,000 or more,***

(b) July 1, 2021, or

(c) for buildings sold or transferred after September 1. 2017, twelve months after the sale of the property, whichever occurs first.

***Exceptions. Division 1103. 7. 6.1 (a) shall not apply to mandatory seismic strengthening alterations being performed pursuant to Chapter 4D of the Existing Building Code. This subsection 1103. 7. 6.1 applies only to Group R-2 occupancies.

NFPA 72 (2013)

18.4.5.1  Where audible appliances are installed to provide signals for sleeping areas, they shall have a sound level of at least 15 dB above the average ambient sound level or 5 dB above the maximum sound level having a duration of at least 60 seconds or a sound level of at least 75 dBA, whichever is greater, measured at the pillow level in the area required to be served by the system using the A-weighted scale (dBA).

18.4.5.2  If any barrier, such as a door, curtain, or retractable partition, is located between the notification appliance and the pillow, the sound pressure level shall be measured with the barrier placed between the appliance and the pillow.

18.4.5.3  Effective January 1, 2014, where audible appliances are provided to produce signals for sleeping areas, they shall produce a low frequency alarm signal that complies with the following:

(1)  The alarm signal shall be a square wave or provide equivalent awakening ability.
(2)  The wave shall have a fundamental frequency of 520 Hz +/- 10 percent.

 



 

HELPFUL COMPLIANCE TOOLS

WEBSITE LANGUAGE TRANSLATION
If you would like to view this website in a different language, in the right-hand column, click on the “Select Language” option.  This will automatically translate most of the information found on the website.

COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS/FAQS
Click on the document below to review most commonly asked questions about the New Fire Safety Requirements.

PDF iconFire Safety Requirements for Building Owners - FAQs (Dec 26 2017).pdf

FIRE SAFETY REQUIREMENT INFORMATIONAL PACKET
Click on the document below for a printer-friendly version of all the new requirement information posted on the website.  A copy is also available for $4.80 from Bureau of Fire Prevention at SFFD Headquarters, 698 Second Street, Room 109, San Francisco. Please note: it does not include the Commonly Asked Questions/FAQs or Letters from the Fire Marshal. 

PDF iconFire Safety Requirements for Building Owners_HANDOUT PACKET.pdf

WEBSITE LINK TO FIRE SAFETY INFORMATION AND TRAINING VIDEO
The website link you need to provide to tenants is listed below.  This link is also provided on both versions of our Disclosure Information Samples.

http://sf-fire.org/fire-safety-tips-san-francisco

LETTERS FROM THE FIRE MARSHAL
Below are copies of the letters sent from the Fire Marshal informing building owners of the new requirements.

PDF iconLETTER FROM FIRE MARSHAL - Important Information for Building Owners (11.23.16).pdf

PDF iconLETTER FROM FIRE MARSHAL - Important Information for Building Owners (12.07.17).pdf

 

(Information Reorganized/Edited on 10/22/2019)