Notice to Building Owners & Managers Regarding Requirements for Roofing Contractors

PSA - Preventing Fires Caused During Roofing Practices - Important Information for Homeowners (PDF)

Don't Let This..   Torch Down Roofing 1     Turn into That..   Roof on Fire 
When you hire a roofing contractor to re-roof your building, the SFFD recommends that you verify the following prior to signing a contract:

  1. The contractor obtains a building permit with the SF Department of Building Inspection (DBI). 
    It is recommended that you contact DBI to verify this before the work is scheduled to begin by checking the DBI,
    Online Permit and Complaint Tracking:  
    (after entering & verifying address information, select Building Permits)
    Torch Down Roofing 3
  2. If the roofer is using a torch, open flame, or LP-Gas for any aspect of the work, they must have the appropriate permit required by the San Francisco Fire Department.
    To verify, contact the SFFD Bureau of Prevention, Permit Section.
  3. Review your homeowner's insurance coverage.  
    Make sure they will cover the losses if the contractor starts a fire.  Also inquire about any special conditions.  For example, your insurance company may not cover damages from a fire if the contractor was installing a roof using a Torch Down Roofing system.

The San Francisco Fire Department has noticed a trend in building fires that occur during roofing operations.  Many of those fires occur when roofers use an open flame near combustible materials. 
The San Francisco Fire Code requires that the roofer hire a “firewatch”, i.e. a person who does nothing but watch the person doing the torch work to be sure that they are working safely.  Firewatch personnel are required to carry a reliable means of contacting the fire department if necessary (cell phone with a good signal), and are required to have with them and be trained to use a fire extinguisher.  Firewatch personnel must remain on the job site at all times & for at least 1 hour after the day's work is completed to ensure that a fire does not start up after the roofers have left. 
The San Francisco Fire Department recommends that you verify that these safety practices are being adhered to on your job site to protect your property from unnecessary and devastating fires.
If you have any questions, please contact the SFFD Bureau of Prevention, Permit Section.